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Seniors stay active, but how are they doing it?

September 19, 2012

Most people are aware that today's seniors are more active than generations past. Whether it's running, cycling or traveling, older adults have recognized that staying active is a key component of healthy aging. Though there are many seniors on the go, it does raise the question of how they've managed redefine aging, reports The Philadelphia Inquirer.

There are a number of causes, but one of the most significant may be the fact that today's older adults tended to be more active when they were younger. By placing an emphasis on exercise early in life, older adults made themselves more able to work out later on, experts say.

"Exercise throughout our lifetime improves our physical abilities and helps our strength and range of motion, so we can continue activities as we get older," Dyanne P. Westerberg, chair of the Department of Family and Community Medicine at Cooper Medical School, told the newspaper. "Once people continue on this path, they're able to maintain this active lifestyle into their upper years."

While older adults may be more active than the seniors before them, they aren't immune to the many changes to the body that come with age. Most notably, due to aging bones and joints, some seniors have to switch up their exercise of choice, whether it means moving from running to swimming or from basketball to rowing.

Among the numerous benefits offered by regular exercise, some of the strongest come in the form of mental health. According to the National Institutes of Health, regular physical activity can help seniors improve their mood, manage stress and reduce feelings of depression.