Improving quality of life with physical activity

Everyone should accept the way they are, the way they look. That doesn’t mean you can’t make the decision to become a better, healthier you. You can blame your problems on other people and things, but ultimately, you are the one who has to take the bull by the horns and change what you need changed. Maybe that has a little extra challenge for those of us who are aging and fear it is too late to do anything that will effect a better lifestyle.

The National Institute on Aging cites the lack of exercise as a major cause of chronic disease. It affects health and normal organ function. In fact, it is cited that physical activity is primary in prevention against 35 chronic conditions including things like premature aging, obesity, coronary heart disease, hypertension, stroke, congestive heart failure, cognitive dysfunction, depression and anxiety, osteoporosis and more.

“The body rapidly maladapts to insufficient physical activity, and if continued, results in substantial decreases in both total and quality years of life,” advises the U.S. National Library of Medicine.

It has been said that when retirees just sit all of the time they don’t live very long. As people age they “feel” their years. They don’t have the energy or strength they “used to have.” There may be a host of reasons for this, things like the modern conveniences that do all of our work for us, driving instead of walking, becoming couch potatoes, or maybe just being tired.

Humans need to be physically active.

The Mayo Clinic recommends 30 minutes or more of moderate-intensity physical exercises like brisk walking, walking instead of driving, using stairs instead of elevators, losing weight and maintaining a healthy weight. A healthy diet should have emphasis on fruits, vegetables, fish and whole grains, diets like the Mediterranean Diet and DASH diet (https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health-topics/dash-eating-plan.)

There are four types of exercise for seniors, according to the National Institute on Aging:

Endurance: Increase breathing and heart rate with brisk walking, dancing, swimming, biking, etc.

Strength-building: Strengthening muscles by lifting weights and/or using a resistance band.

Balance: Prevent falls.

Flexibility: Stretch muscles and help your body stay limber.

If you have been inactive for a long while, start slow. Talk to your health care provider about what is best for you. Visit https://medlineplus.gov/exerciseforseniors.html where you will find a lot of information about how to get started, how much exercise you need, how to overcome excuses, how to stay motivated and much more.

May is Older Americans Month and as such, brings attention and focus to those of us who aren’t as young as we used to be. That’s OK. You may not be older, but you are better and may be likely to enjoy a better quality of life for a longer period of time when you are physically active. Start preparing now for Senior Olympics 2019. Get physical. Get healthy. Be happy.

Addiction has no address, but Family Recovery Center does. For more information about the education, prevention and treatment programs for substance abuse and related behavioral issues, contact the agency at 964 N. Market St., Lisbon; phone, 330-424-1468; or e-mail, info@familyrecovery.org. FRC is funded, in part, by Columbiana County Mental Health and Recovery Services Board.

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