Looking to Stay Healthy for Life? Start by Staying Active!
“You’re only as young as you feel,” or at least that’s how the saying goes.
However, it’s likely more accurate to say that you’re only as young as your health allows you to be. When you see elderly people shuffling along on walkers or refusing to leave their favorite chair, you might assume that you could face the same scenario in your old age. Thankfully, you can preserve your health, wellness, mobility and quality of life simply by staying as active as possible right now.
Studies have shown that if you can keep up your health past age 70, the chance that you will enjoy that good health for the remainder of your life boosts exponentially. Still unconvinced? Here are three compelling reasons to choose that walking trail, going on that mile-run, attending that fitness class or trying a weight-lifting routine over a more relaxed lifestyle as you grow older.
Reason 1: Exercise Can Help You Keep Your Mobility
The consensus from the American Heart Association and the American College of Sports Medicine states that exercise can help you stay mobile and flexible well into your golden years.
These organizations recommend that you pursue activities which not just reach your range of motion, but consistently challenge it, for at least 10 minutes a day, at least twice a week. These activities will help your muscles and connective tissues maintain their proper length, allowing you to remain more limber and move with less discomfort and pain. Aerobic exercises (also known as cardio) such as walking, dancing, swimming, or biking, are also recommended for arthritis sufferers.
If you’re beginning to feel an age-related twinge in your knee or hip, regular walks can help to control inflammatory pain and optimize joint mobility.
Reason 2: An Active Heart = A Healthy Heart
The more active a lifestyle you pursue, the healthier your heart is likely to remain. The heart is a muscle, and just like any muscle, if you exercise and routinely put work in to make it stronger, it’ll be more than beneficial for your body in the long run.
Research shows that putting in 150 minutes of exercise each week (at a sufficient intensity level to make you break a sweat) can actually slow heart aging. This level of exercise, which could be either aerobic or non-aerobic in nature, can arrest or reverse the age-related rise in blood pressure that can stiffen the heart muscle and lead to heart disease.
Even if you aren’t able to get to that 150 a week mark right away, setting aside a small amount of time each day to take a walk or do some gardening is far and away better than remaining sedentary for an entire day. Everyone starts somewhere, and maintaining a healthy heart right now will put you on the right path to a long life of mobility and activity!
Reason 3: Strength Training Is The Secret Good Posture, Bone Health and Balance That’ll Last Forever
Once you get past the age of 50, you’re at risk for an age-related issue known as sarcopenia, or muscle wasting. This condition is the natural consequence of changes in hormonal balances and nutrient absorption.
Unfortunately, a great deal of older people simply allow it to happen, becoming weaker and frailer as they age. It’s no wonder that falls become both more frequent and more serious with age.
But, unbeknownst to many, you can minimize this challenge to your wellness and mobility, however, by staying active in ways that challenge your muscles. Physical therapy exercises that focus on strength training can help you build up your back muscles, promoting a taller, more natural posture. Exercises to strengthen your legs and the “core” muscles of your lower abdomen can help you center and balance your body for life.
Physical Therapy Gets You Moving
Are you worrying about a current musculoskeletal challenge that won’t let you stay as active as you should? Physical therapy can help you prepare your body for a new, more energetic lifestyle. Our physical therapist can identify specific challenges that may need to be overcome. We can then prescribe a customized package of corrective exercises and other physical therapy techniques to get you back on your feet and moving around again.
Let Our Physical Therapist Be Your Guide To Helping You Age Gracefully!
Are you ready to take the necessary steps to age more gracefully to enjoy the longer and healthier life everyone deserves? Contact our physical therapist today to begin your journey!