Our Kinesiology student, Allison Yates, wrote a paper on the many benefits of exercise as we get older with interviews from our PRIME seniors exercise class. Check it out:
10 Reasons Why Exercise Should Not Just be a New Years Fad
Once again New Years resolution time is right around the corner, and with this time a year it brings line ups for gym memberships and almost capacity gym usages. Unfortunately, we all know the trends of this too well…. What starts with great determination and dedication to exercise, soon dwindles into a wasted gym membership along with a missed opportunity for a positive lifestyle change. Luckily, a healthy and active lifestyle can be created no matter the time of year.
Before we jump to the 10 reasons why we should include exercise into our already busy lives, I would like to first visit what exercise really means and what it means to each person. Exercise is something that is very individual but requires a physical effort that will enhance or maintain physical fitness or health. The key word in this simple description of exercise is ‘individual’. Exercise is not something that can be compared from person to person or even age group to age group. It needs to fit your individual lifestyle, as well as your goals, in order to have a positive impact on your life. Exercise can take on various forms, from walking your dog outside to lifting weights and training in a gym like an Olympic athlete. Find what you enjoy doing the most for exercise, and the ability to maintain a routine, along with the health benefits, will be enhanced.
So with all this being said, lets get into the 10 reasons why exercise should not just be a New Years fad!
1) Exercise increases muscle fiber and tendon size and strength. This in turn, will increase joint stability as well as overall muscle/tendon health and efficiency.
2) Exercise increases cardiovascular function, which enhances cardiac output, (amount of blood pushed by the heart) as well as efficiency of heart contractions, which can reduce blood pressure.
3) Exercise increases lunge capacity, which will increase the amount of air that can be inhaled into the lungs. With the ability to inhale more air, the body can now absorb more oxygen into the blood stream enhancing the performance of muscles and organs.
4) Exercise can help maintain or improve the amount of muscle size and strength that can help counteract the effects of aging. Every decade after the age of 30, a person loses 3-5% of muscle strength and mass due to aging.
5) Exercise can decrease the effect of osteoporosis (bone degeneration) by slowing down the degeneration process due to the bone’s stress response to exercise. The effects of osteoporosis become more significant as we age especially in females.
6) Exercise can help decrease the effects of depression and other mental illness. With exercise the brain receives an influx of blood, which allows hormones to better transfer around the brain as well as the release of dopamine. (Low dopamine levels lead to lack of motivation, fatigue, addictive behavior, mood swings and memory loss.) Studies have found that a half hour of moderate to vigorous aerobic exercise can have positive mood benefits for 5 hours post training session.
7) Exercise can lead to an increase in cognitive functioning and maintaining brain function through aging. Studies have shown that exercise can increase the ability to process environmental information quicker and increased memory retention.
8) Exercise can elevate the bodies resting metabolic rate (amount of energy required for the body to survive) for hours after an exercise session. This increase in energy consumption for exercise plays an important role in the process of weight loss.
9) Exercise has been found to counteract the effects of obesity, hypertension, diabetes, joint and muscle pain, osteoporosis, osteoarthritis, coronary heart disease and gallbladder disease. Many people have limited the amount of medications taken for their condition due to the introduction of exercise into their diet.
10) Obesity or excess body fat has been linked to back pain (among other things). The increased load on the body rotates the pelvis forward causing extra tension on the spine and has also had links to sciatica and piriformis syndrome. Studies have shown that every pound lost is 4-10x pressure off the spine. For example, at worst, 4 pounds lost is 16 pounds of pressure off the spine, at best, 10lbs lost is 100 pounds pressure off the spine.
I know some of the above benefits you have heard before, but it does not take away from the significance or importance of exercise. More and more research is coming out reinforcing the positive outcomes of exercise and possible exercise prescription instead of alternative types of interventions. Exercise is a manageable technique to help stay on top of your health so lets make it a part of your everyday life!
Bellow are some options that are useful for introducing yourself to the benefits of exercise:
Performance Health and Fitness Center
- Gym facility
4833 - 50th Street, Stettler, AB T0C 2L2
Phone Number: 403-742-4533
Stettler Rec Center
- Gym Facility, Swimming Pool, Hockey Arena, The Hub (Seniors Activity Center)
6202 44 Ave, Stettler, AB T0C 2L1
Phone Number: 403-742-8305
- Gym Facility
4901 51 St, Stettler, AB T0C 2L2
Phone Number: 403-740-2522
- Gym Facility
4006 50 Ave, Stettler, AB T0C 2L0
Phone Number: 403-740-9287
- Bowling facility
4601 59 St SS 1, Stettler, AB T0C 2L1
Phone number: (403) 742-3149
Stettler Curling Club
- Curling facility
Phone Number: 403-742-3111
Stettler Royal Canadian Legion
- Various Activities
5010 51 St, Stettler, AB T0C 2L0
Phone Number: 403 742-2404
West Stettler Park
Memorial Tree Park
Stettler Sports Park (ball Diamonds, Soccer fields)
Cold Lake Bird Sanctuary
Written By: Austin Hodinsky