Exercise Leads to Long Life
Exercise the Secret to Healthy Aging
President Bush has challenged us all to exercise more. We have done the same thing in earlier Healthy Aging Columns, but this message can never be repeated too often. Suffice it to say, if President Bush can have a South Lawn ceremony lauding the positive aspects of exercise for all Americans, but especially the formative young and older citizens, then we on Seabrook can rededicate ourselves to regular exercise. After-all we have been informed that our President runs three miles a day at least!
Why the Emphasis on Exercise
The major reason is that exercise has been proven repeatedly in multiple studies to reduce weight, cancer incidence, heart disease, diabetes, depression, incidence of falls, and promote both life expectancy and even cognitive function. These are just a few of the reasons that exercise should be part of a Seabrookers regular routine. Another major reason for exercising is that if you do there are a host of medicines that you wouldn't have to take. An example is one of the deputy directors of the National Institutes of Aging, who on a recent visit to Charleston told an audience of her medical people that on turning 50 she found she was overweight and had very high cholesterol. Like many of the rest of us in that category she was told to lose weight and to take a cholesterol lowering prescription drug. However, she decided to exercise - that was her birthday present to herself and her children and now she is normal weight and requires no lipid lowering drugs. She runs regularly to avoid the fat and the pills.
Other Benefits to the Elderly
Regular exercise will increase your endurance at any activity. It will improve sleep. It even helps with household chores such as lifting furniture. It is a major method of reducing the problems of arthritis and improves flexibility of joints. Finally there is new data that shows that regular exercise reduces osteoporosis. All of this leads to more independent living and a better quality of life.
How Much and When
The usual prescription is 15 to 60 minutes of aerobic exercise 3 to 5 days a week that produces a heart rate of 60 to 90 percent of one's maximal heart rate (220 minus current age). Walking and water aerobics (both easy to do at Seabrook) are perhaps the best exercises to begin and sustain a good aerobic program. More strenuous exercises can be added as required to get the desired aerobic endpoint. The club offers a personal trainer for those who wish to have guided and expert assistance. The more varied and regular the work-outs the more likely you will be able to continue them. It helps to do your exercise with others, I've seen many groups of walkers on the island so some of you have figured all this out, just like President Bush.
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Exercise and the Aging Person