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Aging and Exercise - Combat the Effects of Aging with Exercise

Using exercise as your fountain of youth

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Updated March 15, 2011

Aging is inevitable, but there's no reason you can't make the process more enjoyable. Exercise can promise better health, functional independence and a better quality of life as you age. In fact, it may help slow the aging process by preventing or reducing the chances of disease and disability in seniors.

Exercise Basics - Cardio

The exercise guidelines for older adults aren't much different from any other age group. You want to do regular cardio exercise to keep your heart and body healthy, aiming for about 2.5 hours a week (or about 30 minutes, 5 days a week) of moderate intensity activities like walking, cycling, swimming, jogging or any other cardio activity you enjoy.

To get started, one option is to join a gym where you have access to a variety of machines, classes and activities. Another is to start right at home with a basic walking program. One 30-minute walk or three 10-minute walks a day can help you add a few more years to your life. Another favorite is water aerobics, particularly if you have any joint pain. Water aerobics can help with flexibility, mobility and cardio endurance. Plus, the water gives your body full support so there's no impact on the joints which is helpful if you have joint tenderness or pain.

Exercise Basics - Strength Training

Some older adults might worry about the safety of strength training, but experts know it's essential for building strong bones and muscles while keeping your body functioning at it's peak.

It doesn't take much strength training to reap the benefits. Just a few exercises a week can help you build muscle and improve your ability to do things like climb the stairs or get up from a chair. Some exercises you can do at home include:

If you're just getting started, you'll find detailed information about how to exercise at my Beginner's Corner. This Total Body Workout for Seniors offers more ideas for strength training you can do at home. Always check with your doctor if you have any injuries or medical conditions before starting an exercise program.

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