The Benefits of Regular Exercise After 65
21 Jun 2022.
At Longevity, we want everyone to live a fulfilling post-work life of their choosing, and we celebrate seniors each and every day. But it just so happens that June is also National Seniors Month in Canada – a time when everyone recognizes all the unique and wonderful contributions seniors make in their communities across this country. And with this celebration is the theme of staying active. So, in the spirit of Seniors Month, we’d like to highlight the benefits of a healthy lifestyle and showcase a few individuals who aren’t defying the aging process, they’re proof that age truly is just a number.
We all know exercise is essential for any healthy lifestyle and is one of the most vital activities to prevent or delay many health problems associated with aging. However, many may not know it also keeps your mind healthy. For example, a study published in Comprehensive Physiology found that regular exercise improves seniors' cognitive health and spares age-related brain tissue loss. This means exercising not only helps you feel and look better, but it also helps you remember where you left your keys. And let’s not forget about your balance, which becomes more and more important as you age. A recent study in the Cochrane Database of Systemic Reviews found that at least one-third of people over the age of 65 fall each year, but regular exercise may reduce that number by 15% and reduce the rate of falls by 23%.
While some exercise is better than none, a person 65 or older will benefit from a regular routine that includes cardio, muscle and strength training, and balance maintenance and improvement. But Longevity is living your post-work life to its fullest. To go beyond what you may have accepted as limitations. Because, as you’ll see in a moment, age really is just a number. So, let’s take a look at a few examples of individuals who demonstrate that ambition never retires.
CrossFit Has No Age Limit
Jacinto Bonilla, who turns 83 in July, is a ranked CrossFit athlete and can easily out-lift most people 50+ years his junior. Bonilla – who can deadlift 325 pounds and squat 250 – became interested in the sport in 2006 and now runs a CrossFit gym in Brooklyn. As Bonilla says, “if you don’t use your joints and muscles, you’re going to have problems. If you just sit there and watch TV, you’re going to get rusty.”
(Source: CrossFit South Brooklyn Instagram)
Don't Stall Out
Rosemary Smith had a storied career as a competitive rally driver in the 1960s – a time when there weren’t many women competing. Since retiring, she has kept busy as a Brand Ambassador for Renault Ireland. But at the age of 79 in 2020, she made history as the oldest person to drive a Formula 1 car at Circuit Paul Ricard in France. When asked if she was afraid of crashing, she said, “It didn’t enter my mind. I resolved that if it was the only thing I achieve, I am not going to stall this Formula 1 car.”
(Source: Rosemary Smith Instagram)
Coming Back From a Setback Even Stronger
Hanna Fraser suffered a heart attack in her late 60s, but rather than let that stop her, she decided to take up taekwondo with her daughter and granddaughter. Studying under former Olympic bronze medalist, Grandmaster Woo Yong Jung, Hanna earned her black belt only four years later, at the age of 72 – a test that included breaking concrete with her hand, 100 push-ups, 100 sit-ups, and 100 jumping jacks.
(Source: Natalie Dobbin/CBC)
The Bottom Line
George Burns once said, “you can’t help getting older, but you don’t have to get old.” Incredible accomplishments are not limited to a specific age range. These are just three examples, but there are countless stories out there, from John Glenn going back into space at the age of 77 or Christopher Plummer winning his first Academy Award when he was 82. The key is to discover your passion and go after it. This not only helps ward off any decline in happiness, it also brings a sense of accomplishment along with a healthy body… and you'll remember where your keys are.
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