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50+: Live Better, Longer

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Healthy Aging - Physical Vitality

I'm already physically active. Is there anything more I should be doing?

Even if you're happy with your fitness routine, it's a good idea to periodically stop, think, and rework your activities and goals. As age-related issues gradually enter into your fitness equation, keep the following things in mind.

  • Beyond age 60, it's important to spend as much time building strength and flexibility as you spend on aerobic fitness. Strength and flexibility help your body better handle the age-related changes, including loss of muscle and problems with balance. To maintain or improve your balance and resilience, include stretching, muscle strengthening, and such balance-building activities as yoga or tai chi in your weekly routine.
  • It's normal to have to gradually adjust your expectations of how far you can push your body. If you're used to pushing yourself, accept your body's changes and tend toward moderation.
  • Cross-training, or including different activities in your activity calendar, helps you build better overall fitness and helps prevent injury from overuse.
  • Replacing a "lost" activity is a key to staying active. For instance, if you can no longer run, you might try walking, biking, and/or swimming.
  • Injury generally takes longer to recover from as you age. If you are injured, allow your injury time to heal-yet keep the rest of your body moving. You can choose from a list of alternate activities, such as swimming, water exercises, biking, walking, yoga, Pilates, or rowing.
  • To prevent injury, start a new activity gradually, avoid overusing your body, and stretch often. Drink plenty of water before, during, and after you are active. This is very important when it's hot out and when you do intense exercise.

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: November 14, 2014
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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