Moving to Keep Moving

Regular exercise is essential to maintaining functional abilities throughout aging. Once we stop moving our muscles weaken and our joints become stiff and inflexible. The more sedentary we become the more we have to do to reverse the effects. Avoid being completely sedentary by moving at least a little every day.

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These are common barriers to exercise that we can overcome.

Self-efficacyBegin slowly with exercises that are easily accomplished; advance gradually; provide frequent encouragement.
AttitudePromote positive personal benefits of exercise; identify enjoyable activities.
DiscomfortVary intensity and range of exercise; employ cross-training; start slowly; avoid overdoing.
DisabilitySpecialized exercises; consider personal trainer or physical therapist.
Poor balanceAssistive devices can increase safety as well as increase exercise intensity.
Fear of injuryBalance and strength training initially; use of appropriate clothing, equipment, and supervision; start slowly.
HabitIncorporate into daily routine; repeat encouragement; promote active lifestyle.
Subjective normsIdentify and recruit influential others; education of patient and influential family/friends.
Fixed incomeWalking and other simple exercises; use of household items; promote active lifestyle.
Bad weatherWalk around the home; use senior centers; promote active lifestyle
Cognitive declineIncorporate into daily routine; keep exercises simple.
Illness/ fatigueUse a range of exercises/intensities that patients can match to their varying energy level.
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Moderate exercise for 30 minutes a day has these health benefits:

  • Improves blood circulation, which reduces the risk of heart disease
  • Keeps weight under control
  • Helps in the battle to quit smoking
  • Improves blood cholesterol levels
  • Prevents and manages high blood pressure
  • Helps delay or prevent chronic illnesses and diseases associated with aging
  • Maintains quality of life and independence longer for seniors
  • Helps you fall asleep faster and sleep more soundly
  • Increases muscle strength, increasing the ability to do other physical activities
  • Prevents bone loss
  • Boosts energy level
  • Helps manage stress and releases tension
  • Counters anxiety and depression
  • Improves self-image
  • Promotes enthusiasm and optimism
  • Reduces risk of stroke by 20 percent
  • Counters the conditions that lead to heart attack and stroke
  • Provides a way to share an activity with family and friends
  • Reduces coronary heart disease in women by 30-40 percent
  • Reduces the overall risk of obesity, high blood pressure, poor cholesterol levels, etc.
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