How Exercise Can Help Reduce Gastrointestinal Issues in Older Adults

As I get older, the significance of looking after my health has become more apparent – particularly in regard to digestive wellness. Witnessing firsthand how gastrointestinal issues affected members of my family as they age truly drove home to me just how crucial it is that elderly people prioritise their gut health.

As a child, I was unaware of the physical discomfort my grandparents were struggling with due to their digestive issues. They experienced frequent bloating and gas which hindered them from doing many activities they enjoyed. It wasn’t until later that I realized how common this problem is among older adults–a realization that made me appreciate more deeply the effects these ailments can have on the quality of life.

As I matured, my own digestive difficulties sparked a curiosity that inspired me to dig deeper into the harsh realities of this widespread issue. After thorough investigation and discussions with healthcare professionals, it became clear how serious the problem really is.

My grandfather’s digestive issues had a severe impact on his health, leading to malnutrition, dehydration, and eventually depression. His physical discomfort was only the beginning of what proved to be an extremely difficult journey for him – one that I sadly witnessed first-hand.

I knew something had to be done, not just for my grandparents but for all older adults struggling with digestive health issues. I started volunteering at local senior centers and nursing homes, educating older adults about the importance of digestive health and providing tips on how to prevent and manage gastrointestinal issues.

One way that older adults can significantly reduce or even prevent gastrointestinal issues is by engaging in regular physical activity. This article delves into how exercise positively impacts the digestive health of seniors, providing them with an effective means to maintain their well-being.

1. Exercise Boosts Digestive Health by Enhancing Immune System Response

Curious, I decided to research more about how exercise affects our digestive health. I was amazed to discover that 70% of our immune system is located in our gut! It made sense why my body was responding so positively to exercise – regular activity strengthens the immune system and reduces the risk of communicable and non-communicable diseases.

Our daily activity levels have a direct impact on our digestive health – they can help to keep the gut barrier strong, warding off troublesome issues like leaky gut and increased intestinal permeability. Strengthening mucosal immunity in the gut is key for maintaining overall optimal digestive wellness.

Research has uncovered that physical activity not only keeps us fit but also encourages the production of helpful bacteria in our gut. These microbes are essential for sustaining a robust and balanced gut microbiome – which is fundamental to having good mental health, strong digestion, and immunity.

By enhancing our immunity, regular exercise helps to protect us from pathogenic bacteria and viruses that can cause digestive distress which can be especially problematic for older adults.

2. Exercise Helps to Regulate Bowel Movements

Exercise improves digestive function by helping move food through the system quicker. After exploring the benefits of exercise, I decided to pass on this knowledge and motivate my grandparents to incorporate physical activity into their lives. By doing so, not only will they improve digestion but also gain overall improved gut health! I recommend checking out my other blog post which describes how exercise is essential for relieving gastrointestinal discomfort for our elderly.

Despite their initial hesitation, my two senior grandparents in their late 60s were persuaded to embark on a journey of improved physical and mental well-being. After dinner each night, they would take leisurely strolls around the neighborhood before performing simple yoga poses under my guidance – thus beginning an inspiring transformation!

My grandparents experienced a remarkable transformation within weeks – going from abdominal discomfort to improved digestion, more energy, and greater vitality. Not only were they having regular bowel movements but their bloating was also reduced and fatigue diminished.

Witnessing the transformation of my grandparents’ health as they embraced physical activity was an inspiring sight. Strength training and cardio soon formed part of their routine, resulting in increased mobility and fewer gastrointestinal issues – a testament to how exercise can make us healthier!

By adding an exercise routine to their daily lives, my grandparents and I have created a special bond. Not only has it been beneficial for their health but also provided us with the opportunity to cherish quality time together!

Exercise was a source of strength and independence for my grandparents, allowing them to take charge of their health in powerful ways. They began monitoring what they ate more closely and made other positive changes that kept them healthy for years to come.

3.  Exercise Increases Metabolism which helps with Digestion

Exercise isn’t just for physical health – it’s also great for improving your metabolism. Our metabolic process helps turn food into energy, keeping us energized and productive throughout the day. It is important to get your grandparents active to keep them healthy inside and out!

As we age, our metabolic rate decreases which can cause fatigue and slowed digestion. Exercise not only gets our digestive system moving but also keeps our metabolism functioning at an optimal level. Regular physical activity increases circulation and helps to release the hormones necessary for digestion, resulting in improved absorption of nutrients from food – thus preventing malnutrition.

Exercise can be a great way to break up long days of sitting or lying down, helping to stimulate the body and mind. My grandparents began taking regular walks and eventually got into weight-bearing exercises such as squats, leg lifts, and push-ups. Through aerobic exercise, they developed more stamina and muscle mass which provided support for bones weakened by age.

By exercising regularly, my grandparents were able to increase their metabolism and achieve optimal levels of digestion – something that would have otherwise been unachievable. Not only were they able to experience improved digestion but also prevent digestive issues that are common in senior citizens.

4. Exercise Reduces Stress

Not only did my grandparents feel physically better after adopting a regular exercise routine, but they also noticed an improvement in their mood and cognitive function. Exercise has been shown to boost the production of endorphins – natural feel-good chemicals that improve our mood and reduce stress levels. It also promotes the growth of new brain cells and improves cognitive function, which is especially crucial for seniors looking to maintain their mental acuity. 

My grandparents discovered the power of exercise to bring them a sense of accomplishment and reduce their stress. Through regular physical activity, they were able to not only manage feelings of loneliness but also take time for themselves. Taking an outdoor walk or bike ride is a great way to de-stress. Check out some of the articles and studies done by the American Phycological association which back this up.

Exercise can also help seniors manage chronic conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, and arthritis which often lead to depression and anxiety. Regular movement helps reduce inflammation in the body while stimulating the production of serotonin – a hormone related to good moods.

My grandparents’ regular exercise has been instrumental in improving their overall well-being and reducing stress. By adding physical activity to their daily routine, they have been able to achieve increased mobility, fewer gastrointestinal issues, and improved mental health – a testament to how exercise can make us healthier!  I’m grateful for the opportunity to share this experience with them and learn valuable lessons about staying healthy as we age.

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