Aerobic Exercise and your heart function
Just as for younger people, regular exercise provides numerous physiological benefits for individuals over 50 that cannot be gained in any other way. Only a regular program of exercise allows older people to maintain, or increase, their stamina, strength, and flexibility.
Virtually everyone knows that regular aerobic exercise (activities that prompt the heart to pump at an elevated rate for an extended period) is one of the best prescriptions for a long and healthy life. The cardiovascular benefits of walking, jogging, cycling, and swimming are well-established, and it is becoming increasingly clear that the benefits of these aerobic activities extend far beyond the heart.
Yet, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), fewer than one quarter of American adults exercise enough to achieve these benefits. The problem is that many people – especially older adults, whose ability to exercise is frequently impaired by chronic health problems – remain sedentary because they mistakenly believe that aerobic exercise requires vigorous activity.
In reality, nearly everyone can benefit from a modest amount of aerobic activity. Furthermore, even ordinary daily activities – vacuuming, mowing the lawn, or taking the stairs instead of an escalator – can help preserve the function of the heart and lungs, keep bones strong, enhance psychological well-being, and possibly even help protect against Alzheimer’s disease and some cancers.