By the end of 2009, almost 40 million people comprise the 65 and above age bracket of the US population. That is approximately 13% of the total US population. Conditions associated with this age group is fatigue, weakness, decrease in physical and mental health and increased depression and anxiety. In most of these cases, the one common thread is a sedentary lifestyle. And the most proposed intervention is physical activity. Starting exercise at age 65 may be commendable but the person's general health condition should be thoroughly assessed before starting an exercise program.

The changes we see in an older person are usually the effects of a sedentary lifestyle. That's not to say that exercise, or at least an active lifestyle will stop the hands of time completely. At the least, it will slow down the aging process. Exercise is not referred to as the fountain of youth for nothing. When you exercise, you will glow, your heart will beat stronger, you will radiate health and over-all physical wellness.

So, what are the benefits of exercise to a mature person? It cannot be denied that many physical changes that are associated with aging can be delayed with regular exercise. Physical activity is known to play a role in the prevention of some cancers, high blood pressure, some heart conditions, obesity, etc. In fact, older people who regularly exercise may be less dependent on long term care than those who do not exercise. They are less likely to be prone to injuries, will have less anxiety and have a better outlook in life than their sedentary counterparts. Mature people who have an active lifestyle generally have better skin elasticity which translates to lesser wrinkles and glowing skin which is the result of better blood circulation and oxygenation.

Safety precautions for the mature exerciser should be given considerable thought. Not only because of the older person's limited physical mobility but also, because they are more prone to dehydration. It is also important to slow down if an exercise causes discomfort or pain. We have to remember that time has taken its toll and we're just trying to salvage what we can. So take it slow and easy. Gentle exercises should be the norm. Any attempt at more vigorous fitness programs should be under the supervision of a professional trainer.

The benefits of exercise are many for the mature exerciser. Coupled with a healthy diet appropriate for his dietary needs, one can expect to enjoy more productivity and better quality of life even if he is in his twilight years. The key is to be consistent in exercising and eating the right foods, getting adequate rest and avoiding substances that can be toxic to one's health.

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