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Thursday, March 24, 2011

Medical Journal 2011

KENNEBEC JOURNAL •

Morning Sentinel

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Best exercises for the over-50 crowd The human body needs exercise to operate at full capacity. Exercise is important at any age, but can be particularly beneficial for individuals in their golden years. The key is finding exercises that are both safe and effective. Benefits of Exercise The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that 28 to 44 percent of seniors ages 65 to 75 are inactive, meaning they don’t get enough daily exercise for optimal health. Studies indicate that there are many reasons that seniors should engage in regular exercise. • It can help stave off illness and chronic conditions by keeping the immune system healthy. • It paves the way for better sleep, including falling asleep easier and sleeping more deeply. • Exercise releases natural endorphins, which help a person feel good about him or herself and can boost mood. • Regular exercise can promote weight loss, especially when done in conjunction with a healthy diet. • Improved muscle tone can take pressure off of joints and help with mobility. • Research indicates that exercise can boost brain

function and keep dementia at bay. • When participating in social exercise, seniors realize companionship and stress relief. • Exercise can keep systems of the body in check, reducing constipation and helping circulatory issues.

weights can make the workout even more effective. Walking is also easier on the legs and knees than jogging, but can be just as effective a cardiovascular workout. • Leg extensions: Repetitions of leg extensions stretch the muscles of the legs and flex the knee Engaging In the Right Exercises joint. This can promote longevity of the knees and While it may have been the norm to do multiple, keep knee replacements at bay. rigorous repetitions of exercises during one’s youth, • Swimming: Enrolling in a local gym or YMCA older adults should employ different strategies. that has a pool can be a boon to seniors. Swimming Certain exercises are better than others and can help is a low-impact workout that targets most areas of reduce the risk of injury. the body as well as providing a cardiovascular Before starting any type of exercise regimen, sen- workout. Plus, since swimming can be relaxing and iors should talk with a physician about the pros and enjoyable, it’s an exercise that many people don't cons of certain activities. The doctor may be able to mind doing. provide guidance as to which activities are better for • Strength training: Moderate weightlifting can specific conditions a person has. For example, an keep muscles strong and promote a healthy metaboindividual with arthritis may want to seek low-impact lism, considering muscle burns more calories than workouts, such as water aerobics. fat. Once a doctor gives the go-ahead, here are some • Endurance exercise: Just about any activity that exercises many 50 plus people can try. gets the heart rate up for an extended period of time • Walking: Walking remains one of the best is good for the body. This can be raking leaves, exercises for people of any age. The pace and mowing the lawn, walking, bicycling, playing a resistance can be set by each individual by walking game of catch, etc. Be sure the doctor cleans any faster or slower, uphill or downhill. Adding light such activities beforehand.

/Mj2011  

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