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50+: Live Better, Longer

Getting Older, Feeling Better

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WebMD Feature

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 start exercising!

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.

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