– As we grow older, we tend to become less active. This is often a slow process that leaves us overweight and out of shape before we know it. How can we stop this process? The first step toward a more active, healthy lifestyle is exercise.

Physical activity and exercise are just good for you.  It should be everyone’s aim to make this part of their daily routine. There are so many studies that have been done worldwide that prove the important health benefits associated with exercise. What is most important to note, is that as we age we need to be more aware of continuing to exercise. Engaging regularly in physical activity and exercise, if you are in your senior years, helps improve mental and physical health. This will obviously help you maintain your independence as you age.

Aging adults can benefit enormously from exercise and we have highlighted a few below.

Mental Health Improvement

It is well known that exercise produces endorphins (the “feel good” hormone). These act as a stress reliever, which leave you feeling happy and satisfied.  In addition, exercise has been linked to improving sleep, which is especially important for older adults who often suffer from insomnia and disrupted sleep patterns.  Suffice it to say, the mental health benefits of exercise are nearly endless.

 Less Risk of Falling

As exercise improves strength and flexibility – which also help improve balance and coordination – we see a reduction in the risk of falls. Older adults are at a higher risk of falls, which can prove to be potentially disastrous for maintaining independence. Seniors take much longer to recover from falls, so anything that helps avoid them in the first place is critical. Exercise can improve your strength, endurance and flexibility. It promotes bone strength. Repeated mild stress on our bones helps them maintain their calcium content and structure.

Cognitive Function

There are countless studies that suggest a lowered risk of dementia for physically active individuals. Regular physical activity and fine-tuned motor skills benefit cognitive function, regardless of when you start bringing exercise into your routine.

The Social Side

Most important to note is how exercise can be made into a fun social event .Whether you join a walking group, go to group fitness classes or visit a gardening club, maintaining strong social ties is important for aging adults to feel a sense of purpose and avoid feelings of loneliness or depression. Find a form of exercise that you love, so it does not feel like a chore – this is key.

 Prevent Disease

Numerous studies have shown that heart disease and diabetes are two diseases that can be prevented by maintaining regular physical activity. Because the immune system of seniors is often compromised, doing exercise can improve the overall immune functions. Even light exercise, such as walking, can be a powerful tool for preventable disease management, and this is how exercise benefits seniors and aging adults.

In the aging population, exercise has been shown to prevent disease, lower the risk of falls, improve mental health and well-being, strengthen social ties, and improve cognitive function. Regardless of your age, we hope this will motivate you to incorporate exercise into your life –  it’s just a matter of making it a priority and habit in your daily life.


Meet Dr Peter Smith, a leading Orthopaedic Surgeon operating from the Mediclinic Milnerton in Cape Town, Western Cape. His practice is situated in the heart of this seaside town.  Dr Peter Smith not only offers patients the full spectrum of professional orthopaedic treatments, but specialises in total knee replacement, total hip replacement, sports injuries and the latest arthroscopic surgery techniques and computer guided surgery. He gained extensive experience in the latest arthroplasty techniques during his stay of 6 years in Australia where he performed more than a hundred primary and revision hip and knee replacements cases in a year.


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