Want to Stay Healthy for Life? Start by Staying Active
“You’re only as young as you feel,” or so the saying goes. It might be more accurate, however, to say that you’re only as young as your health permits. When you see elderly people shuffling along on walkers or refusing to leave their favorite chair, you might assume that you 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. Studies indicate that if you can keep up your health past age 70, you’re significantly more likely to continue enjoying that good health for the remainder of your life. Here are three compelling reasons to choose that walking trail, fitness class or weight-lifting routine over a sedentary lifestyle as you age.
Reason 1: Exercise Can Help Maintain Your Mobility
The American Heart Association and the American College of Sports Medicine agree that exercise can help you stay mobile and flexible well into your golden years. These organizations recommend that you pursue activities which challenge your range of motion 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. Aerobic exercises such as walking are also recommended for arthritis sufferers. If you’re starting 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 Is a Healthy Heart
The more active a lifestyle you pursue, the healthier your heart is likely to remain. 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 may 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.
Reason 3: Strength Training Supports Good Posture, Bone Health and Balance
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, many older people simply “go with the flow,” allowing themselves to become weaker and frailer. It’s no wonder that falls become both more frequent and more serious with age. You can minimize this challenge to your wellness and mobility, however, by staying active in ways that challenge your muscles. Physical therapy exercises that emphasize 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 Can Get You Moving
Do you worry that a current musculoskeletal challenge won’t let you stay as active as you should? Physical therapy can help you prime 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 personalized package of corrective exercises and other physical therapy techniques to get you back on your feet and moving around again.
Ask Our Physical Therapist to Help You Age Gracefully
Are you ready to take the necessary steps to age more gracefully and enjoy a longer, healthier life? Contact our physical therapist today!