ParkGate Retirement Community on how to lift your spirit and outlook on life – LIVING WELL Magazine

Functional Movement – Exercise Benefits

Lift Your Spirit and Outlook on Life

By Chris Smith, ParkGate Retirement Community, North Dallas LIVING WELL Magazine

A regular exercise routine improves cardiovascular health and can lower blood pressure, reduce heart disease risk and help control stress. Risk of other illnesses such as stroke and diabetes are also reduced. Exercise can also help prevent or delay the onset of osteoporosis in seniors. As we grow older, our flexibility and balance inevitably decreases. Health experts agree that elasticity in our connective tissues – muscles, tendons and ligaments – slacken, and that sensory function responsible for balance also changes as we age.

Mid-Life Weight Gain / “Creeping Obesity”

Many people during their “mid-life” years experience slow and steady weight gain. This generally comes when least expected, but takes a good few years for the full effects to set in––weight gain. This is actually referred to as “creeping obesity,” in which you gain weight slowly over a longer period of time (a few years), and all of a sudden realize what’s happened–– not truly recognizing the root cause. 

Eat Less, Move More

When you do the exact opposite (Move Less, Eat More), that’s where “creeping obesity” comes from. It is due to people not realizing the fact that they are eating just slightly too much, and not exercising at all or just not enough. With this pattern, it could take you a whole month to gain a pound. But, compound that over a few years and one could gain 30-40 pounds. Since it took several years to gain weight, it only makes sense that it would take a while to come off and meet your goals.

Don’t slack off as you age with your bodies; exercise and eat properly instead. You’ll be on a good track to continued great physical fitness and good health. 

Aging and your Metabolism

People think that because they age they automatically have a slower metabolism than when they were younger. Well, yes, your metabolism does slow as you get older, but not for the reasons most believe. It does not just slow because you get older, but instead because you stop moving as much. Your metabolism works off two main things: genetics and lean muscle mass. If you want to make sure your metabolism doesn’t slow as you begin to age, then exercise and move to stay in shape, keeping that lean muscle mass in check.

Keep Your Mind Young – Exercise may keep your mind young. Human studies on aging and exercise have found an association between physical activity and maintenance of cognitive ability in older people.

Exercise Helps Balance – Falling can be dangerous for older people, and fear of falling can cause people to restrict their activities. Strength training can help prevent falls. Regular exercise improves balance in people who have arthritis of the knee. Both aerobic and weight training improved balance in a one and a half year study.

Improving Concentration – Walking at least 45 minutes three times a week improves oxygen flow to the brain, and thus improves concentration and reaction time.

Walk for Longevity – Older men who walked less than one mile per day were at almost twice the risk of dying as those who walked more than two miles per day, according to a recent study. The more you walk, the better for your longevity.

Benefits of Exercise

Better quality of sleep. Performing regular exercise promotes sleep more easily and deeply.

Immunity to viruses and infections. The body is better placed to fight off sickness so recovery time is reduced.

Prevention of Alzheimer disease and dementia. Exercise improves brain functionality and helps combat disease. It also assists with fighting forms of depression.

Precautions Prior to Exercise

Warm Up. It’s important to do plenty of stretching and to warm up properly. Failing to warm up could lead to injuries and be counter-productive. Start exercising gradually and slowly increase physical exercise each day to build stamina and conditioning.

Consume liquids. Take regular sips of water during exercise. It’s important in terms of keeping the body hydrated and flushing toxins.

Focus on form and not the amount of weight lifted. Trying to lift too much can only serve to cause serious injury.

Chris Smith is the marketing director at ParkGate Retirement Community, an upbeat, contemporary residence for professional and active mature adults. ParkGate’s residents receive the highest level of personal service and most extensive array of amenities in close proximity to the cultural heart of Dallas. To learn more about the carefree lifestyle offered at ParkGate, please visit their website at