A Healthy Habit for Seniors: Regular Exercise
It’s never too late to begin practicing healthy habits. As you get older, you might wonder if you could ever feel as good as you did several years (or even decades) ago. With some simple lifestyle changes, it may be possible. Even though it might seem like a lot of trouble to start something new at this point in your life, even a small change — such as becoming more physically active— can make a big difference.
While physical activity can benefit people of all ages, it is especially important for older adults. One reason is that the risk of falling increases significantly with age. Along with broken bones and other physical injuries, falls can produce more subtle damage. For instance, a less obvious harmful consequence of a fall is a fear of falling again, which can limit physical activity and social interaction, and also increase the risk of developing many chronic conditions, including heart disease, diabetes, and depression.
Physical activity is a proven way to prevent falls by strengthening the muscles and bones. Strong muscles help keep the body upright and improve balance, making falls less likely. And, strong bones are less likely to break if a fall does occur.
Regular physical activity can also enhance cognitive function. Research confirms that people who perform even very simple exercises, such as walking briskly, on a regular basis are better able to make decisions than their more sedentary counterparts.
Before starting any new form of physical activity, be sure to talk with a doctor who can recommend an appropriate workout program for you. For most people, walking is one of the simplest and most effective ways to exercise. Many experts recommend walking for at least 30 minutes daily (if necessary, this can be broken up into two 15-minute sessions or three 10-minute sessions). If you don’t like walking, there are plenty of other options, such as swimming, cycling, yoga, dancing, or gardening, just to name a few. Consider asking a friend to join you; if you enjoy what you’re doing, you’ll be more likely to stick with it. And, don’t be discouraged if you initially feel sore. Any mild discomfort should be temporary and go away as your body becomes accustomed to being more active.
Adopting healthy habits like exercising regularly can be difficult at first. By starting small and rewarding yourself for each step you complete, you can make great strides in improving your health and wellness.
At South Tampa Immediate Care, our experienced medical staff will be pleased to answer your questions about exercise or any other health-related topic. Our walk-in clinic is open Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 10 p.m., and weekends, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.