people walking on a path for exercise

When you spring forward this month, it is a good time to re-energize your exercise plans too.  In fact, regular physical activity is one of the most important things you can do for yourself.  Being active has been shown to improve brain health, help manage weight, reduce the risk of disease, strengthen bones and muscles, and improve one’s ability to do everyday activities.

The CDC recommends that adults age 65 and older get at least 150 minutes of moderately intense activity (such as brisk walking), or 75 minutes of vigorous activity (such as hiking, jogging, or running) each week.

Studies show that regular physical activity can help keep your thinking, learning, and judgment skills sharp.  It can also reduce your risk of depression and anxiety and help you sleep better.  While individuals vary greatly in how much activity they need for maintaining their weight, the CDC recommendation is a good general guide

Meeting the recommendations can also lower your risk for heart disease and strokes, as well as lower your blood pressure, improve your cholesterol levels and reduce your risk of developing type 2 diabetes.  It can even lower your risk for developing cancer of the bladder, breast, colon, endometrium, esophagus, kidney, lungs and stomach.  If you mix it up by doing a variety of activities, it will decrease you risk of falls and hip fractures.

It is estimated that over 100,000 deaths in the US, per year, could be prevented if seniors increased their moderate-to-vigorous physical activity by a relatively small amount. Even 10 minutes more a day would make a difference.  For adults 65 and older, the risk of premature death leveled off at about 6,000 to 8,000 steps per day.  Again, this can be achieved with a brisk walk or even marching around your couch during a favorite program.

Do you need more reasons?  Well regular physical activity can help people manage existing chronic conditions and disabilities too.  It will help reduce pain and improve function, mood, and quality of life; helps control blood sugar levels; lowers the risk of nerve damage; and supports your ability to complete activities of daily living.

So as you make plans for day light savings time, check your fire alarms and start thinking about spring cleaning, please consider adding a few steps to your Spring!

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