Monday, 5 May 2008

Too late to benefit? Never!

Health professionals and experts all over the world are pushing seniors to get active after several studies and reports have confirmed that people at any age reap the benefits of physical activity when it comes to health and longevity.

Exercise can help stave off heart disease, muscular atrophy, diabetes, osteoporosis, dementia, obesity, joint problems, and a vast number of other ailments by which age increases the risk. In addition to health benefits, exercise can be a fun way to enjoy retirement or to spend weekends with a partner or family. Instead of sitting around watching the telly in the evening, sometimes a nice walk can help refresh the soul.

If you're over 50 and just beginning an exercise programme, it's important to consult a GP to find out what type of exercise is right for you. Starting slowly and with the assistance of a professional (preferably one trained in geriatric health and fitness) helps kick start an injury-free programme. Some fitness centres offer special programmes for seniors.

Comfort and care are vital to keeping fit past age 50. Take the time to listen to your body. Heart monitors are a good thing for fitness buffs of any age, but can be extremely important to seniors in keeping track of just how hard they are working. Ask your doctor or a certified fitness professional as to what equipment would best benefit you and your routine.

Some of the best activities reccommended by health experts for seniors:

  • Walking. Whether it's fitness or race walking or just a leisurly stroll, many people can reap the cardiovascular benefits of walking. When the weather is unpleasant, this activity can be brought inside by using a treadmill, either at the gym or at home.
  • Yoga. Recent studies have shown that yoga is one of the best stretching exercises for seniors. Take a beginner's course and get stronger, more relaxed, and limber!
  • Swimming. Due to the low impact nature of this sport, it's a wonderful way to get in shape both cardiovascularly and in helping build muscle tone. It's also a lovely activity for summer heat. Try a water aerobics course for added guidance and benefit.
  • Dancing. With so many styles to choose from, the possibilities are endless! For women, belly dancing can be a fun way to revive your "mo-jo", while couples dancing is a great idea for a night out with your partner.
  • Golf. On a nice day, what better than to socialize with others and take a walk in the sunshine? It's never too late to pick up the clubs, so get on the green!

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