Staying Active As You Age

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seniormanAging is a natural part of life. As we age, the importance of taking good care of our bodies becomes increasingly necessary. Seniors are much more likely to suffer from chronic conditions, such as arthritis, diabetes and high blood pressure. According to the National Council on Aging, approximately 92% older adults suffer from at least one chronic condition.

Fortunately, staying active and making a point to engage in regular exercise can help lower the risk of developing some conditions, including: diabetes, depression, obesity, coronary artery disease and many cancers.

Aside from helping to reduce the risks of chronic conditions, physical activity can also:

• Improve cholesterol, blood pressure and heart failure symptoms
• Strengthen joints
• Reduce fatigue
• Improve sleep
• Improve short-term memory
• Lower the risk of hip and spinal fractures

It’s never too late to start getting active, and frequent exercise can help you lead a healthier, longer life. The following tips will help you.

• Consult your physician. Be sure to talk to your physician before starting a new exercise routine. Your physician can confirm that you don’t have any pre-existing health problems that may impact your exercise plans.

• Choose activities that you enjoy. Exercising can be fun. You’ll be more likely to stick to a routine if you enjoy it.

• Take it slow at first. Choose a low impact routine to start, and gradually work your way up to about 30 minutes a day. Beginning your routine with only a few minutes of activity is fine.

Listen to your body and make smart exercise choices. There is no need for your routine to include rigorous, high-impact activities. Pay attention to your body – if you become dizzy or have trouble breathing, be sure to rest.

seniors2Exercise will:

• Aerobic exercises can strengthen your heart and give you more energy.

• Strengthen your bones, muscles and joints. Good exercise options for doing this include lifting weights, walking and dancing.

• Improve your muscle and joint flexibility and motion by incorporating stretching into your routine.

Put your health first. Even a moderate amount of daily physical activity can provide great health benefits.

– Submitted by Kelsey Grabarek. This information was provided by Northshore University HealthSystem, comprised of hospitals in Chicago and the surrounding area.