While exercise is recommended for all ages, genders, and ethnic groups, a new study has found that physical activity is particularly important in retirement, to help prevent against age-related illnesses and to improve quality of life.
According to The Jerusalem Post, the University of Haifa recently funded a study to find out how exercise can help those in their golden years to cope with anxiety and illness, in addition to boosting self-confidence.
As part of the study, researcher Eli Carmeli worked with two groups of mice aged 17 months, which is considered “elderly” in rodent years. After an open field test was administered to make the mice anxious, one group was put on an exercise regimen for three months while a control group remained sedentary for the same amount of time.
The researchers found that the mice that exercised were significantly more mobile and experienced less anxiety than their counterparts. Unlike the control group, the exercising rodents did not need any medication or invasive treatment after the study concluded.
“It may be that exercise upgraded the physical fitness of the aged mice and that this also improved their self-confidence,” said Carmeli, who noted that a greater expression of brain chemicals likely played a role in reducing anxiety among the mice.
Maintaining good health in one’s golden years is crucial, and a recent survey found that 81% of retirees cited it as the most important ingredient for a happy retirement. Exercise is even more important for African-American retirees, because of their heightened risk for serious ailments.
According to the American Diabetes Association, African Americans are 1.7 times more likely to get diabetes than non-Hispanic whites. Additionally, about 13.2% of all African Americans aged 20 or older are currently struggling with diabetes.
Exercise plays a central role in aiding those who suffer from diabetes, and researchers hope that these findings will encourage retirees dealing with a variety of ailments to engage in more physical activity.