Getting Older, Feeling Better
Last month, the British Journal of Sports Medicine published a report
outlining the importance of exercise for senior citizens. Older people who
incorporate exercise into their daily routine have better balance and are less
likely to fall (the main cause of accidental death in the elderly) than those
who don't exercise, according to the report. It's really never too late to
The Importance of Exercise
It's important to treat your body well. Let's face it --
it's the only one you've got! If you're not exercising, you're losing muscle,
which results not only in fat gain, but could also lead to osteoporosis, heart
disease or back pain. According to AgeNet, an information and referral network
for seniors, "Taking a brisk walk regularly can help lower your risk of
health problems like heart disease or depression. Climbing stairs, calisthenics
or housework can increase your strength, stamina and self-confidence." So
get out there and get your body moving. There's no reason you can't look
forward to better, healthier years.
First Talk to Your Doctor
A physician knows exactly how the body works, and how yours
might respond to different types of physical activity. It's a good idea to have
your doctor give you a check-up before beginning any exercise program, so that
he or she can give you exercise tips that may benefit you -- and help you make
sure not to overdo it.
An exercise program doesn't necessarily mean going to the
gym, taking dance classes or learning yoga, though it can be all of these and
more. There are lots of things you can do for great exercise around the house,
the yard or the neighborhood. The key is to make a consistent practice of
whatever you choose to do.
Something Is Better Than Nothing
You may think that if you're not going to do a vigorous, strenuous workout
every day, then why bother? Well, you should bother, because every little bit
counts. Even if it's been a long time since you last ventured out for a jog, a
brisk walk may be just what your body is craving. This pace will increase
circulation of blood and oxygen to important (and perhaps long-neglected) areas
of the body.
Make a Schedule -- and Then Stick to It
Make a realistic schedule that you can stick to. There's
nothing worse to keep you from exercising than a schedule that seems
tailor-made for Arnold Schwarzenegger. Try scheduling the exercise around other
things you like to do. You can use exercise as an incentive to reward yourself
later on -- after you walk the local mile, come home and plant a few new
flowers in the garden.
Don't make excuses to yourself. Watching TV, washing the
dishes or feeding the cats all can wait until after you've exercised.