Happy Valentine’s Day week! I hope your plans all went well and you had a great time with your significant other.

Pretty proud of myself for the flower arrangement I picked for my wife… Yes, I am bragging on myself. Hush.

hill-flowers

This week I want to talk about the importance of exercise/activity as you age. This may not apply to you right now.

And you know what? That’s okay. I want you to feel young forever.

But, I do know that you can use this information to help a loved one/someone you’re close to. It may not be a sexy topic but it is important nonetheless.

1: Exercise/Physical Activity Has Been Shown To Decrease Risk of Numerous Conditions & Chronic Diseases

It is common knowledge that exercise can be a great deterrent for fending off chronic diseases and many other conditions that tend to come about as we age. The question is, if we know that this is one of the biggest preventative measures we can take, why then do doctors brush an exercise regimen off and opt for multiple prescriptions which all have side effects of their own?

Something to think about.

Is it a lack of understanding of how beneficial exercise is on the doctor’s part? A lack of desire from the patient? A sense of pride in the individual or doctor to actually ask an exercise professional for help?

My guess is that it is a culmination of these because just like everything else, every situation is unique. As a society, though, we can do better at educating the population about the benefits of exercise.

Here is a quote from my wife’s textbook, “Nutrition for the Older Adult”;

“Regular physical activity and exercise have consistently been linked with lower mortality rates across the lifespan; chronic disease prevention, reduction and management; and improved mental and cognitive capability, depressive states, psychological health, independence, balance, bone and muscular strength, and overall quality of life.”

Wow! All of that from a little exercise and physical activity? No way! Obviously all of these hold true for younger adults as well but become increasingly important as we age.

Exercise — or prescription drugs which may or may not help the condition as well as possible negative side effects.

I know which one I’ll take. You?

Now, I am not saying prescription drugs are bad. Far from it. What I am saying is with a little movement it’s possible to avoid having to take as many of them.

Many insurance programs offer some type of physical activity incentive. The best option I know of is through a supplemental policy with Humana. Their Silver Sneakers program is absolutely incredible. I can’t tell you how many lives I have seen changed for the better just by participating in our Silver Sneakers Classes at the gym over the years.

Learn more about the Silver Sneakers Program and all that they offer by clicking the picture below:

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2: Exercise/Physical Activity General Guidelines

What must remain as a top priority (after being cleared medically to exercise) is that you reduce the risk of injury and place a premium on safety. This can come in many different forms such as; seeking guidance from a fitness professional, starting a program at its most basic level even if you think you can do more progression is always better than an injury which may bar you from starting anyway, if needed break up activity sessions into 10 minute breaks rather than one 30 minute session, have water readily available, wear the appropriate attire etc. The list could go on and on.

Here is another quote from, Nutrition for the Older Adult; “A total of about 3-3.5 hours/week (approximately 30 minutes/day) is sufficient to meet the requirements for all four modes of exercise cardiovascular, strength training, balance & core stability, mobility/flexibility.”

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If going the personal trainer route is not an option, as stated above find the nearest fitness facility to you that offers the Silver Sneakers program and their wide range of classes. You can find more information on classes here.

If you wish to workout from home and have been medically cleared, I’d be happy to help you out. Just shoot me an email to [email protected].

 3: Exercise/Physical Activity — The Social Factor

I don’t talk about the social factor as much when talking to the general population under 60-65 years of age. But, I also realize that the social aspect is why many have gym memberships and for some it may even take priority over the actual fitness part. While I wish that everyone would reach their fitness goals AND make friends, I guess if we can accomplish one of the two we are still ahead.

In older populations, social activity can come to a screeching halt leaving some lonely and without a sense of purpose (I know that is an extreme example, it happens though, trust me).

So that gym visit can be an opportunity to kill two birds with one stone — get your physical activity in AND socialize with others who are your age.

Of course, you may still socialize with kids and grandkids, but, you and I both know that we will not be able to relate to exactly what you’re going through and how you may feel no matter how hard we try.

Check out a table and description from a study performed by the NCBI. I won’t bore you with a lot about it, but, if you want to read it you can find the study here.

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Basically what the study showed is that those who exercised in a social setting (i.e at the gym, YMCA, wellness center etc.) experienced 41% fewer “not good” emotional health days than those who did not participate.

That in itself should be a big motivator!

I know that this topic may not include you (yet), but, it IS information that someone you know and love can benefit from.

Share it with them!

Something like this may be taken more seriously coming from a loved one rather than a doctor or PCP.

You never know the impact you could have.

Until next week.