Exercise is a key component of staying healthy and fit, especially as people grow older. An active lifestyle can help aging individuals maintain their weight, improve mobility and stave off health problems like cardiovascular disease and diabetes.
“Exercise is important for almost everyone,” said Dr. Keith Veselik, director of primary care at Loyola University Health System. “In fact, I sometimes write a prescription to get my patients to start taking this seriously and help them understand exercise can be just as helpful as medication.”
Working out can also be helpful in preventing falls, which are a leading cause of accident-related injury among seniors, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The CDC also reports one in three adults over 65 will experience a fall each year, and staying active is one of the best ways to reduce this risk. It is also important for senior living spaces to be free of tripping hazards like unsecured rugs and wires.
The National Safety Council (NSC) places emphasis on the importance of taking steps to reduce falls. Workouts such as yoga, Tai Chi and walking can help improve an individual’s balance and flexibility. The NSC recommends fall-proofing a home by installing handrails and grab bars in hallways and bathrooms. Most retirement communities are already designed with this safety precaution in mind.
Older adults may also want to go over their medications with their senior care providers. Certain prescriptions can have side effects like drowsiness that may increase the risk of falling. Even if no singular medicine has this effect, a doctor or pharmacist may be able to spot combinations or different drugs that could have this or other limiting effects.