What is the secret to staying young? It turns out that exercise may be the key – in many different ways. Exercise has a powerful impact on our emotional, mental and physical health and can actually slow down the aging process.
“Exercise helps keep us younger and revitalizes our spirit,” says Kevin Defayette, Executive Director of Waterstone at the Circle. “Many research studies have shown the benefits of exercise for older adults and how it can help keep us stay vital and energized even in our senior years.”
Although exercise isn’t always the most enjoyable thing to do for everyone, says Kevin, it has proven benefits that can be reaped in micro and macro ways. “One of the biggest mistakes people make is thinking that exercise needs to be an all-out commitment that requires a lot of effort,” he explains. “But that’s not the case at all. Even just a little exercise on a regular basis can help improve whole-body health and allow us to age well throughout all stages of life.”
Exercise increases energy efficiency.
Let’s start with the idea of horsepower – also known as our “fuel efficiency.” A University of Colorado study found that seniors who regularly participate in highly aerobic activities like running have a lower metabolic cost than their more sedentary peers. In other words, older adults who exercise have a better quality of life because they’re able to move around more easily, which results in increased blood flow. Higher blood flow means more oxygenated blood and a higher ability to eliminate waste in the body. Increased blood flow nourishes skin cells, purges toxins and overall increases the health of our bodies.
It may sound vain, but standing up straight and having a healthy posture is one of the easiest ways to shave years off your appearance. Unfortunately, as we get older, our muscle tone and bone density decreases, which results in a deceased ability to keep a healthy posture. Strength training such as aerobic exercise, weight training and resistance bands can help rebuild muscle and prevent bone loss while also taking care of your core. This has the added benefit of keeping joints strong, which helps you be more active, feel better and act younger.
Any type of exercise improves our flexibility, whether it be anaerobic or aerobic. However, Pilates and yoga in particular are highly at increasing flexibility and body elasticity. If you’re a rather inflexible person, that simply means you’re the perfect person to try these forms of exercise. Increasing flexibility reduces the risk of injuries, improves balance, and helps center emotions, all which result in a healthier, longer and more stable life.
Mental capacity gets boosted.
Mental deterioration – or should we say, the reduction of mental stimulation – is one of the primary causes of a variety of illnesses for older adults. But regular exercises can help boost mental capacity by increasing the size of our hippocampus (the part of the brain responsible for memory and learning). People who exercise have been proven to literally have the brain of someone younger, meaning they benefit from sharp mental health and the ability to learn for years longer than their peers who do not exercise on a regular basis.
A healthy metabolism helps reduce the risk of obesity, heart disease, diabetes and other age-related diseases. Our metabolism naturally slows down as we age, but exercise can help boost muscle mass and calorie burn. By exercising, we keep our bodies strong and increase our ability to maintain a healthy weight, which improves our immune system and reduces our risk of disease.
Our cells age more slowly.
Exercise doesn’t just make you look younger – it actually makes you younger. How is this accomplished? By turning off the aging process in your chromosomes. Keeping your cells young is one of the best tools for staying young, and research has shown that exercise has this effect on our DNA.
Telomeres – the end caps on our chromosomes – are responsible for aging. They naturally shorten as we get older, but regular exercise has been shown to help lengthen them. In other words, exercise may literally be able to help reverse the clock and help us live longer and stronger.
Reduces stress instantly.
Stress ages us just as much as exercise helps us live longer. Reducing stress is one of the best ways to help increase longevity, and exercise can help reduce stress like nothing else. There’s a trait known as “adaptive competence” that describes our ability to bounce back after a stressful event. If we don’t have this trait, it has an enormous impact on our longevity. However, exercise has been proven to reduce stress, making it more likely that we will live a better, happier and longer life.
Lowers the risk of cancer.
Many studies suggest that exercise can help reduce the risk of some cancers. One study shows that regular exercise can reduce the colon cancer risk for men by 24 percent, while other studies show that regular exercise has the potential to reduce the risk of lung cancer by up to 20 percent. It’s also been proven that exercise can help keep cancer from spreading once it's been diagnosed.
While most of the proven benefits of exercise have a physiological benefit, this can easily translate into a psychological benefit, says Kevin.
“The mind and body are irrevocably linked and have such amazing influence towards each other,” he says. “Getting regular exercise keeps our physical bodies strong and healthy, which results in a better lifestyle overall for older adults. At Waterstone at the Circle, we strive to help our residents reach peak physical health to help them to live their vest retirement lifestyles possible.”
Luxury Senior Living in Boston
Waterstone at the Circle, located in Boston’s historic Cleveland Circle neighborhood, is more than just independent living in Boston … it's a sophisticated urban setting for today’s active seniors. Enjoy best-in-class service and an urban lifestyle with arts and cultural, and historical attractions right outside your front door. From high-end amenities to gourmet dining and more, experience the best of city and suburban life at our upscale senior living community located on the crossroads of Brookline and Chestnut Hill.
Elegant Independent Living Apartments
Each of our 92 independent living apartments is the height of luxury and modernity, with sophisticated design, upscale features and stunning views of the city. Create the urban senior living experience you want with one- or two-bedroom apartments, a variety of floor plans and monthly rentals.
Senior Living Supportive Services
As an over-62 community, residents may require support from time to time. That’s why we’ve developed an on-site coordinated care program, in cooperation with our premier community partners, that allows our independent living residents to receive the assistance they need.
The best part? Residents don’t have to leave our senior living community – or even their apartment – to receive high-quality support. They can receive the services they need, when they need it, in the comfort of their own homes or in our on-site therapy gym.
Waterstone at the Circle is the opposite of retiring . . . it’s a place to enhance your active, on-the-go lifestyle. Call 617.431.1880 for more information or to schedule a visit to our premier Boston independent living community and discover The Circle lifestyle today!