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The truth about exercising and aging

You may come up with a million reasons for not being physically active. Some might even be suitable. But know this: immobility is bad. Almost 3.2 million people die each year because of physical inactivity. Regular exercise, especially among older adults, is essential to good health. Cut the excuses, and just get moving!

I’m Just Too Old
Exercise is great for just about everyone, including older adults. Even modest amounts of physical activity can have a big impact. Make sure to talk with your doctor first. If you’ve been inactive, take it easy as you get started, like 5 to 10 minutes of moderate activity each day.

I Just Need to Take It Easy
It’s not your age that has you feeling the need to rest; it’s that you’re not moving. Even older adults with serious health problems like diabetes, heart disease, arthritis, and others can live better lives by getting up and moving.

I Don’t Think My Heart Can Take It
The more you do to stay dynamic as you age, the lower your chances are for things like heart attack and stroke. Your doctor can advise you what type of exercises are best, and for how long you should do them. You’ll probably go for 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity a week, like a fast walk or an easy bike ride.

I Don’t Move Like I Used To
You have to work on exercises that support flexibility. Flexibility exercises are in a group of four cornerstone movements along with exercises that improve endurance, strength, and balance. That stiffness can be alleviated with, for example, stretching exercises that target legs, hips, shoulders, your neck or your back. Yoga could help, too. Take it easy and don’t stretch as far as it hurts.

4 types of exercise you need.

I’m Afraid of Hurting Myself

To stay safe, check with your doctor first, especially if you’ve been inactive or suffer from health problems. The ones that are just starting out should begin slowly with low-intensity exercises. Drink a lot of water, listen to your body, warm up before your workout, and cool down after it.

I Am What I Am
Certain exercises like riding a stationary bicycle can actually slow cell decline that can happen as you age. In other words, it’s never too late to benefit from the advantages of exercise. No matter what is your age, how inactive, or how out of shape you have been for however long, exercise can provide a lot of help for a lot of things.

I Don’t Like Exercise
Being physically active doesn’t necessarily mean pushing around tough weights at the gym or going for a 10-mile run. Do things that you take pleasure in and that will keep you at it. You could work in the yard, walk with friends, work in the garden or ride a bike. Mix things up every so often so that you don’t get bored.

I Don’t Have an Exercise Buddy
Having a partner or getting into a group aids. Supervision and support can help you stay focused and feel great about what you’re doing. Buddies can really help if you’ve been inactive for a long time and you’re taking things back up. Some people do prefer to go alone. If you’re not one, find a group in your neighborhood.

I Don’t Have the Time
A full schedule; babysitting the grandkids, other family obligations, housework, etc. often is mentioned as a reason to skip exercise. When you think about all the benefits of regular physical activity, and the minimum time required, the answer is obvious: If you want to stay healthy, you can make time.

My Heart’s Fine
It’s not just about your heart. Regular exercise also helps your muscles, lungs, and your entire circulatory system. It’s about benefits that can include lower blood pressure, better bone and joint health, and less chance of suffering from things like diabetes and colon cancer.

I Don’t Want to Fall
Falling can be a trouble for older adults. But with regular physical activity, including exercises that support proper balance, you can help avoid the falls that hurt so many older adults. Your doctor can guide you to the right direction.

I Worry More About My Brain
Exercise is good for your brain. Exercise can not only help you hold back mental health issues like depression and anxiety, it can also help you stay in charge and be better able to move from one to-do item to the next. Healthy body, healthy mind.

Finally, as we grow older, being physically active is as important as having good nutrition. Check this article to learn about nutrition for older adults

Christelle Bedrossian

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Dietitian Christelle Bedrossian