two women walking along a road with a small dogExercise has long been known to be a major contributor to long-term health. For instance, a study of over 120,000 patients over multiple years determined that increased cardiovascular exercise inversely impacts mortality rates. In other words, exercise leads to a longer life. At Charles E. Smith Living Communities (CESLC), we strongly encourage our residents to stay active, and we provide a range of activities to contribute to overall health.

According to the Centers for Disease Control:

– Older adults, both male and female, can benefit from regular physical exercise.

– Physical exercise need not be strenuous to achieve health benefits.

– Older adults can obtain significant health benefits with a moderate amount of physical exercise, preferably daily. A moderate amount of exercise can be obtained in longer sessions of moderately intense exercises (such as walking) or in shorter sessions of more vigorous exercises (such as fast walking or climbing stairs).

The American Academy of Family Physicians advises that it is beneficial for senior adults to exercise even if they suffer from a chronic illness. The Academy encourages seniors who have been inactive to consult with their physician before beginning an exercise program. At CESLC, our independent living and assisted living residents have access to Hirsh Health Center medical practice to confer about starting or changing an exercise program.

The experts don’t expect or encourage people to become serious athletes overnight. Instead, they recommend finding a sport or leisure interest that involves moving at a steady pace to increase heart rate. While lifelong athletes have been found to have lower rates of certain physical and mental challenges associated with aging, it is never too late to begin an exercise program that can lead to beneficial results.

Not all exercise is created equal. A recent National Institutes of Health study, conducted by researchers at the Johns Hopkins University, identified a specific connection between increased mortality in older adults and fragmented exercise. Fragmented exercise is defined as exercise in bursts of five minutes or less followed by a sedentary period. In the study, the researchers found that participants whose regular exercise habits were maintained for longer duration suffered a lower mortality rate. The key is to create a steady habit of exercise – preferably daily – that raises the heart rate for continuous periods of time.

At CESLC, we offer exercise programs designed to fit the needs and circumstances of our residents. Residence programs feature exercise classes and fitness centers where residents can engage in a personal fitness program. Our campus features an intentional design with beautiful walkways to encourage our residents to be active while on campus. In addition to the exercise programs offered at each of the CESLC residences, we offer other life-enhancing programs that can contribute to overall health. Excursions to museums, shopping and other outings that involve walking are an excellent way to get the exercise that improves health while engaging in another experience.

Do you want to learn more about the health and wellness programs at CESLC? Please contact us today for a tour.