Senior Citizen's Guide digital books
Senior Citizen's Guide

Don't 'Take it Easy'
Advise for Older Adults

"Take it easy: You're not as young as you used to be" is not sound advice.Yet the majority of middle aged and older Americans seem to adhere to this outdated dictate. Statistics show that only 30 percent of Americans aged 45-64 exercise regularly while 32% of adults 65 and older follow a regular exercise regime.

With exercise, our bones, particularly our joints and bones of the spinal column, rebuild themselves as they should. Without physical activity, they become thin and brittle, a condition known as osteoporosis. When we do not exercise, muscles become smaller and weaker, which is known as atrophy. Added weight puts stress on our heart, lungs, joints, knees, hips, ankles, and feet. It becomes very difficult to climb stairs, get out of a chair, or to even walk and maintain balance. Frail bones and weak muscles makes it very difficult to care for ourselves and our homes and to enjoy life.

When you exercise, you build strong muscles that help to protect your joints, improve posture and balance, increase mobility, reduce likelihood of falls, and give you a younger body image.

No matter how old you are, you are probably able to exercise to some extent. Before beginning any exercise program you should discuss your plans with your physician. A complete physical and stress test are advised. It is also important to get sound advice from a fitness expert who can prescribe a safe and effective exercise program for you.

All exercise should begin with stretching for all the major muscle groups. This will help minimize stiffness, help gain confidence in mobility and balance, and enhance posture. These should be done in a slow, controlled manner at least four days a week. These exercises should come after the body has been warmed up, for example after a walk.

Research has proven that resistance exercise significantly helps strengthen bones and muscles of senior citizens while improving the ability to perform everyday tasks and activities with greater ease. Weight training with light dumbbells or machines, mobility exercises, and/or exercises using elastic bands are good examples.These exercises should be done three days a week (every other day) and in a slow, controlled manner to ensure targeted muscles perform the work.

An increase in one's endurance and stamina can be accomplished through cardiovascular exercise. This type of exercise places minimal stress on the joints and produces only minimal muscle fatigue. Cardiovascular exercise includes such activities as walking, swimming, and/or stationary cycling. Doing such exercises three to five days a week for twenty to thirty minutes will help increase your endurance and stamina.

Easy tips that you can follow for healthy eating include the following:

Take heart! Just remember, exercise and nutrition can go a long way towards slowing and even reversing the effects of aging.

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