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Take steps toward better health

by jmaloni
Fri, Oct 1st 2010 03:35 pm

by Jeff Paterson

Director of Communication and Advancement

Health Association of Niagara County Inc.

Americans over age 65 are five times more likely to be physically inactive than those between the ages of 18 and 24. Many older adults say they don't exercise because they don't have the strength and stamina for it. But this is a vicious cycle. The lack of physical activity actually causes older adults to lose even more of their strength and stamina.

Older adults stand to benefit a great deal from exercising. The Mayo Clinic has listed a number of health benefits of aerobic exercise, including longer life, lower risk of chronic disease, a stronger cardiovascular system, more resistance to viruses, better moods, more endurance, and better weight management.

Walking is perhaps the most popular form of exercise among older adults. It's also the easiest and least expensive way to get started on a path toward better fitness. Here are some common tips that fitness experts offer:

  • Talk to your doctor before you start any exercise program.
  • Make it a social thing. You're more likely to stick with it if you're teaming up with other people. Why not make it a fun activity to share with one or more friends?
  • Have a backup plan. A lot of people walk around the mall or some other indoor spot if the weather's bad.
  • Start slow if you have to. If you can walk only five or 10 minutes a day at first, that's fine. You can keep building from there.
  • Keep a good pace. Don't try to walk faster than you're able to. If you're gasping for breath or can't have a conversation while walking, slow down.
  • Wear the right shoes. Usually a good pair of sneakers works, but it's a good idea to ask your doctor's opinion about which shoes to wear.

I've just started a walking regimen myself, and I know it's not easy to get in the habit. But the health benefits make it all worthwhile!

Information is available at 285-8224 or www.hanci.com.

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