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Exercise Tips for Seniors

From the American Journal of Epidemiology

Before we begin, please note that If you have a family history of heart disease, check with your doctor first. It is a good idea to have a physical examination and take a graded exercise test before you start an exercise program.

Pick rhythmic, repetitive activities that challenge the circulatory system and exercise at intensity appropriate for you.

Choose activities that are fun, suit your needs and that you can do year-round.

Wear comfortable clothing and footwear appropriate for the temperature, humidity and activity.

If you decide that walking is a great activity for you, choose a place that has a smooth, soft surface; that does not intersect with traffic; is well lighted and safe. Many senior Americans walk at area shopping malls.

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Find a companion to exercise with you if it will help you stay on a regular schedule and add to your enjoyment.

Because muscular adaptation and elasticity generally slows with age, take more time to warm up and cool down while exercising. Make sure you stretch slowly.

Start exercising at a low intensity, especially if you have been mostly sedentary, and progress gradually.

If you plan to be active more than 30 minutes, then try to drink some water every 15 minutes, especially when exercising in hot, humid conditions. As you age, your sense of thirst tends to decrease and you cannot completely rely on your internal sense of thirst.

A Bonus: The Secret to a Sharp Mind
In addition to all the other benefits of exercise, the secret to a sharp mind just might lie in your feet as well! Studies show those who took a 30-minute brisk walk three days a week had sharper memories. This is what scientists refer to as "executive functions". They are the ability to plan, organize and juggle mental tasks. Similar results exist in non-depressed individuals. Some mental decline is associated with normal aging due to reduced blood flow to the brain. Experts believe exercise may work by improving circulation to essential areas.

Added Motivation:
In a study of more than 13,000, the risk of breaking a hip was nearly 30-percent lower among those who take a brisk walk two to four times a week than in sedentary individuals. Those who went from being moderately or vigorously active to being sedentary doubled their risk.

Take a walk!


Editor's Note:

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