Growing up, you probably heard the idiom, “An apple a day keeps the doctor away.” While little health tips like this certainly help, they’re obviously not the end-all, be-all for staying healthy. As we get older, and our bodies become more and more vulnerable to disease and injury (and it takes us longer to recover), it takes a lot more than a daily apple to keep us out of the hospital.
The good news is, a recent study found that deaths, hospital stays and healthcare spending is on a steady decline among seniors in the Medicare program. The study didn’t define the reasons for these encouraging declines. However, it’s certainly possible that a better awareness about the correlation between fitness and health for seniors has resulted in more action.
As you age, fitness can keep you out of the hospital because of some key benefits. The strongest factor with this is that a fit lifestyle results in better overall health. When we are healthier, we are less susceptible to illness like a cold or the flu.
Fitness can also prevent more serious issues that aggravate health problems for seniors, such as high blood pressure or cholesterol. These often lead to heart attack or stroke, so maintaining healthy levels of blood pressure and reducing cholesterol is certainly something that seniors need to do.
Exercise keeps our bodies more limber and strong, no matter what our age. For aging adults, flexibility and balance are key features that tend to become less reliable during the aging process, but fitness keeps them resilient. Better balance will help reduce the risk of falling and the risk of other injuries, since your bones and muscles are stronger when they are exercised.
So, maybe we need to revise that idiom to: “Exercising every day keeps the doctor away.”
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