The Relationship Between Aging, Physical Exercise, and Healthy Lungs.

The Relationship Between Aging, Physical Exercise, and Healthy Lungs. Things you should know.

We associate aging with a general decline in physical capability, but not necessarily wellness. There’s a marked difference between the two as evidenced by healthy older people in senior assisted living communities These older people still manage to enjoy a very high quality of life because they invested in themselves and their health. 

Still, it’s natural for our bodies to depreciate as we age. Our blood vessels become stiffer, we lose muscle mass, and we don’t produce the necessary hormones as optimally as before. The same rings true for lung capacity.

Do you know what sole factor can help to delay the effects of aging on the lungs and the body in general? Exercise. Let’s take a look at the intricate connection between these three aspects of your health. 

How Does Aging Affect the Lungs?

If we’re planning to talk about lungs and aging, we need to take a look at it from a comprehensive perspective. In short, we need to regard the respiratory system as a whole since that’s also the nature of “mellowing”, as some folks like to euphemize. 

The diaphragm, trachea, and nasal cavity, to cite a few, play integral roles in the breathing process as much as the lungs, after all. You’ll also be able to see just how extensive the effects of aging are on the body’s fundamental organ systems. 

As we age:

  • The diaphragm and the lungs lose their elasticity. With not much ability to flex and bend anymore, their overall air capacity decreases, so you’ll have to work harder when inhaling and exhaling.
  • Alveoli no longer hold their shape leading to a further decrease in breathing capability.
  • The immune system loses a significant portion of its ability to fight off infections. The most common ones like the flu and the cold may have been a cinch to beat in your youth. However, as you mature, they start to gain more ground. 

There are also studies that are just as insightful about the relationship between aging and the respiratory system:

  • According to a study by the European Respiratory Society in 2016, we lose up to 40% of our pulmonary capability when we reach the age of 80. 
  • The same study indicates that seniors who are showing signs of the decreased capability to go running, walking, or jogging on a treadmill have a much higher risk of common age-related ailments in the future. 

It’s not exactly a cheerful picture, is it? More or less, you’ll be dealing with these challenges if you want to keep your health in the pink. What’s encouraging is that there are seniors who serve as outstanding examples of humans who have managed to keep their pulmonary prowess. 

A Snapshot of a Healthy Respiratory System Among Seniors

Many people report their elderly loved ones (even in their 70s or 80s) to still be at the peak of their health. . There’s really no secret to how they did it. Their families are all too eager to discuss their workout habits.

The same applies to caretakers who are in charge of physically active people in your local senior community. They actually encourage it through their various nutrition and wellness programs. 

And what’s the result of all these efforts? 100% healthy lungs even as they weather the storms of their waning years. Of course, their physical capacity may not be as high  as someone in the prime of their life, but you can rest assured that this person will still: 

  • Climb stairs without struggling to breathe. 
  • Do multiple laps in a swimming pool.
  • Play tennis or any other sport they love.
  • Lift weights. 
  • Go for regular 2-hour or more walks.
  • Ride bikes or go jogging for 30 minutes or 1 hour. 
  • Etc…

Obviously, these activities are also telling of one’s cardiac capacity – the circulatory and respiratory systems will always be intimately connected, after all. It’s the fact that seniors, despite the limitations mentioned above, are still able to do these physical activities that count the most.

Physical Exercise Is One Key to Promoting Healthy Lungs

Not considering the evident positive effects of drug therapies, it’s safe to say that optimal respiration among seniors can be achieved through regular physical activities. Obviously, it will help even more if communities choose to promote activities that specifically improve the lungs and the respiratory system as a whole. 

  • There’s no beating any kind of aerobic activity such as brisk walking, jogging, running, or biking when it comes to strengthening the lungs. There’s no need to fret about difficulty since there are options available for everyone, regardless of one’s present capabilities. 
  • In your local Madison senior living, chances are, they’re also promoting meditation that includes breathing exercises. These are just as vital as any kind of aerobic exercise that can enhance lung function while helping you maintain your mental health in the process.
  • The more you delay taking part in pulmonary exercises, the more you’re speeding up the deterioration of your respiratory system and the whole multi-organ system that dictates your exercise capacity.

What does that mean? Well, you’ll find it harder to perform exercises because of a dampened tolerance for physical activities. It will be more difficult for you to gain the benefits as a result.

  • Senior-friendly training programs involving muscle ambulation remain one of the most effective strategies for maintaining lung capacity among older folks. 

What’s the silver lining that we can see, despite the seeming grimness of aging? Ultimately, it is up to you whether you let it beat your body.  It’s up to you to keep it in great condition and enjoy it. . There’s no shortage of exercises that you can start doing now to see noticeable improvements in your breathing capacity. 


There’s a logical reason why many wellness experts and physicians regard exercise as the proverbial “elixir of youth”. The facts we outlined above make it fairly obvious, and the wellness tenets of senior citizen assisted living pretty much adhere to them. There’s no better time than now for communities to sharpen up their exercise and wellness programs to ensure the ideal quality of life for everyone. 

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