Exercise at any age: Get Up and Go!

There’s nothing more cliché than a doctor exercise01telling their patients that they need to exercise. It can be hard to remember that when you’re having a busy work week, a stressful home life, or are dealing with sickness or injury. As we get older, life certainly becomes more challenging, and the benefits of exercise may feel like they’re slipping away with the time. But this month, I hope everyone takes a minute to consider just how important exercise is to your health at any age. 

Many Americans live a sedentary lifestyle. Sitting in the car, sitting at work, and laying on the couch for hours each day has an adverse impact on our body’s ability to stay fit. Furthermore, this sedentary way of living actually exacerbates the negative effects of aging. This quote from the New York Times’ new article of the benefits of exercise on aging sums it up well:

Physical inactivity,” they wrote, “is one of the strongest predictors of unsuccessful aging for older adults and is perhaps the root cause of many unnecessary and premature admissions to long-term care.

Click here to read the article on exercise and aging

I promise you that getting out and getting exercise is one of the single best things you can do to improve your health and overall quality of life. The National Institutes of Health lists the following as benefits of exercising as we age:

  • Improve or maintain your strength and fitness
  • Make it easier to do the things you want to do
  • Help your balance and walking
  • Help with feelings of depression or anxiety and improve your mood
  • Maintain your thinking skills (cognitive function) as you get older
  • Prevent or treat diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, breast and colon cancer, and osteoporosis

Click here to read more on exercise and age from the National Institutes of Health

As you age, how you exercise is likely to change. You may find yourself not being to run a long distance, or lift weight like you once could. You may feel like the benefits of exercise, and your ability to do the work, is waning as you age. I want to assure you that exercising is worth every minute, especially as you get older. 

You may have to replace more difficult workouts with more relaxing substitutes. I recommend just talking daily walks to get your heart rate up and moving. JustWalk.Org has put together the following chart showing just how much walking can improve your health:

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Stretching and yoga are also excellent ways to keep your body limber. Choose a form of exercise that allows you to release mental stress without adding any to your body. Push your body, but don’t cause unnecessary damage through stress. exercise03

Check this out: Livestrong has put together a great list of low impact workouts that would benefit people of any age

Getting up and getting your blood flowing will help combat the worst diseases involved with the aging process. It will increase the speed of your metabolism, and will keep your muscles and joints strong and healthy. Best of all, it will improve your mood and cognitive functioning. Exercise literally fights back the aging process.

I hope you all can keep this in mind as father time continues his march. Exercising truly is the key to a happy, healthy life.

Best,

Dr. Johnson