Get fit for life

Exercise, and physical activity.

Anyone at any age can do some form of exercise. Many people think they shouldn’t exercise because of their health conditions such as arthritis, osteoporosis, heart disease, or diabetes. The fact is when you exercise this can help one deal with their chronic pain and conditions. Exercise will help with the following:

  • Improve your balance: whether you have chronic conditions or not, most people as they age lose a sense of balance.
  • Perk up your mood and gives you more energy: Therefore if one is depressed exercise will reduce depression
  • Prevent or delay certain disease such as osteoporosis or diabetes
  • Improves strength and keeps one independent longer

Don’t feel you need the latest exercise clothing. Exercise is healthy for you no matter what you wear. Just make sure you wear good support shoes made for walking or jogging. It is very important to assure you are exercising safely:

  • Start slow and build yourself up over time. If you are in pain, STOP. .Exercise should not make you hurt. Sometimes you may feel a little sore, but not in pain!
  • When lifting a weight breathe out and breathe in when you relax. If you don’t follow this there may be changes in your blood pressure, and you could become dizzy.
  • Drink plenty of fluids when you are exercising unless your doctor does not recommend this due to the type of medicine you are taking.
  • Always bend forward from the hips. If your back “Humps” when you bend you are bending from your waist.

Being active is good for endurance, strength, balance and flexibility. If you don’t exercise one will become stiff, tired, short tempered, have little motivation and lose their independence.

  • Endurance exercise will make you breath hard. Try to build slowly to 30 minutes a day. Do endurance exercise 10 minutes in the morning, afternoon and evening if that seems more manageable.
  • Balance exercises are very good. Try standing on one foot holding on to a heavy chair for support. Get in and out of a chair without using the arms of the chair. Once in a while walk heel to toe. By doing this everyday you will see improvement in your balance.
  • Flexibility exercise will improve your movement and motion range. Stretching will allow you to look over your shoulder when backing your car out.
  • Strength exercises build your muscles. When you have strong muscles you will be more independent because you will be able to get out of a chair or take a walk.

The National Institute on Aging has a free booklet on Exercise and Physical Activity. Michigan State University Extension leads classes in Matter of Balance. These are two good resources for beginning to exercise. For more tips on health and nutrition visit the Michigan State University Extension webpage.

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