Lack of regular physical activity or the sedentary lifestyle is the major cause of death by heart disease in all ages. A number of structural and functional changes occur in the cardiovascular system with advancing age, many of which are mediated by changes in vascular stiffness. These changes lead not only to cardiovascular events and strokes, but also to frailty, functional decline, and cognitive impairment. Physical activity appears in general to have a positive effect on several health outcomes in the elderly. More active or fit individuals tend to develop less coronary heart disease than their sedentary counterparts
The following are the benefits of regular exercises:
- Reduction in blood pressure
- Reduction in bad (LDL and total) cholesterol & help in increase the good (HDL) cholesterol
- Favourably affects the body’s ability to use insulin to control glucose levels in the blood in a diabetic
- Increase in exercise tolerance
- Reduction in body weight
At least 30 minutes of modest activity on all days of the week, will bestow most of the above-referred benefits in the elderly. Modest activity is any activity that is similar in intensity to brisk walking (ie at a speed of about 3 to 4 miles per hour). Therefore, any kind of activity, regardless of the intensity, may be beneficial for frail older persons. Ultimately, it is important to adjust exercise programs to accommodate each person’s limitations so that maximum benefits can be derived without causing any injuries.
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