Social, Strong, & Safe: The Benefit of Exercise for Older Adults

Exercise is a healthy habit to partake in during all phases of life, but as we age, it becomes even more important to our overall health. Regular exercise is about more than just physical fitness because many studies show that balance and exercise programs also help older adults to maintain independence and prevent falls. Engaging Wellness, a region-wide collection of exercise classes and partners focused on healthy aging, can be a useful way for older adults to improve their fitness, strength, safety, and socialization. 

Social Connection and Emotional Well-Being

The benefits of exercise extend beyond the physical realm; they also directly connect to emotional well-being and social connection. Group exercise classes, community fitness programs, or even a brisk walk with friends can provide avenues for social interaction. These connections foster a sense of belonging and support, which combat feelings of loneliness and isolation that can often accompany aging.

Physical Wellness

Regular exercise can help to improve or maintain the connection between the body and mind. Consistent exercise has been shown to increase cognitive function, improve memory and reduce the risk of many chronic diseases. Plus, staying active can help to limit the decreases in muscle mass and body function that is a natural part of aging.

Enhanced Mobility and Independence

One of the most important elements of maintaining independence while aging is the ability to remain mobile and safe in one’s own home. Physical exercise is one of the best ways to maintain mobility and independence because it helps to maintain flexibility, balance, and strength. This in turn helps to reduce the risk of falls and fractures. On average, 1 in 4 Americans aged 65+ falls each year but participating in evidenced-based exercise classes, like A Matter of Balance or EnhanceFitness, can limit this risk. With improved mobility, older adults can continue to perform daily activities independently, preserving their autonomy and quality of life.

Preventing Chronic Conditions

The risk of developing chronic diseases increases as we age, but exercise has been shown to make a significant impact on the risks of heart disease, diabetes, and osteoporosis. Exercise helps maintain healthy blood pressure, regulate blood sugar levels, and strengthen bones, helping to defend against the development of chronic illnesses.

Exercise can take many different forms, but all of them can make a significant impact in the overall health of an individual. From improved social connections to improved physical fitness, enhanced mobility, and greater overall health, the benefits of exercise cannot be overstated. For older adults, Engaging Wellness is a wonderful, evidence-based program that provides multiple class types including EnhanceFitness, Yoga, Stability, A Matter of Balance, and Tai Chi.

Classes are hosted by our partners at a variety of locations including the Area Agency on Aging of Western Michigan, Grand Rapids Community College, Ionia County Commission on Aging, Evergreen Commons, Ludington Senior Center, Mecosta County Commission on Aging, Osceola County Commission on Aging, The Salvation Army, Senior Neighbors, and St. Ann’s Senior Services.

Interested in getting started? Use the Class Locator to find options near you.