As our bodies grow older, they slow down and tend to want to move as little as possible. After all, we've spent our lives keeping up with the rat race, rushing between appointments, caring for children, and working at our careers. Isn't it time for a break, time for some rest?
It's easy to think that resting our bodies will help them avoid injury or sickness, but the opposite is actually true. Our bodies need to keep moving in order to prevent degeneration. Exercise lowers your risk for obesity, heart disease, diabetes, colon cancer, high blood pressure, and other problems. In fact, one aging expert wrote, “Biologically you can reverse the aging process by 15 to 25 years.”
Certain test results also show that continual activity can reverse the affects of age-related brain decline. Aerobic exercise can improve task coordination, planning, goal maintenance, working memory, and the ability to switch between tasks. Results also showed that regular moderate levels of exercise (activity that leaves you breathless) can increase the speed and sharpness of thought, the volume of brain tissues, and the efficiency of brain function.
Staying active becomes more important as you grow older. While you may not be able to run several miles or be as active as you once were, there are some simple ways to keep your body moving. (Be sure to consult a doctor before beginning any sort of exercise routine.)
Start low and build. If your body isn't used to regular activity, don't overwhelm it with sudden, intense activity. Start small with ten minutes of walking a day, fifteen minutes spent gardening, a walk around your block or at the mall, or other light activities.
If something hurts, stop. There's no need to push through any sort of pain or irritation in your body. If you begin feeling discomfort, take a break or wait until later to continue your activity.
Be comfortable. Wear comfortable clothing and especially comfortable shoes. Make sure you feel comfortable at all times during your exercising.
Stay hydrated. One of the most important things to remember is to stay hydrated. Keep a bottle of water nearby and take regular breaks to re-hydrate your body. Don't ever go through long periods of activity without stopping for water.
Choose activities you enjoy. Activity and exercise doesn't have to be a dreaded routine. Find something active you enjoy doing (a swim class at the local YMCA, gardening, walking around the mall, etc.) and find someone to exercise with you. When you enjoy your time being active, you're more likely to keep up with it.
By staying active and exercising regularly (even a few times a week), you should notice increased flexibility and ease of motion. Also, the activity could help eliminate some of your medication and give you increased energy to try other things during this stage of your life.