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Forget the Fountain of Youth, Focus on Aging Well – May 22, 2014
Americans spend millions every year trying to stave off Father Time. Anti-aging creams, wrinkle serums and even plastic surgery: Recapturing youth is big business, even if the formulas aren’t always effective. But if you really want to age well, skip the beauty counter and focus on keeping your body and mind healthy.
At Capital City Nurses, we know that a healthy body is a happy one, especially as you age. The older you get, the more important fitness becomes. Regular exercise can help you maintain muscle strength; hold off the effects of diabetes or osteoporosis; allow you to maintain your independence; improve your balance; and fight feelings of depression.
“Even if you have difficulty standing or walking, you can still exercise and benefit from it. In fact, in most cases, you have more to lose by not doing anything,” says The National Institute on Aging.
How much exercise do you need to make a difference? The CDC recommends 150 minutes, or 2.5 hours, per week as a minimum. That might seem like a big number, but it doesn’t have to be. Break your activity up over seven days, and it will still be effective. “It’s about what works best for you, as long as you’re doing physical activity at a moderate or vigorous effort for at least 10 minutes at a time,” explains the CDC.
Though exercise can seem daunting at first, especially if you’re used to a sedentary lifestyle, becoming active doesn’t have to be trying. “Exercise is safe for almost everyone. If you haven’t been active for a long time, it’s important to start out at a low level of effort and work your way up slowly. Beginning slowly will help you become more fit without straining your body,” explains the NIA.
If you’re not ready to run a marathon, start at the home. Walk to the mailbox, walk around the block with some friends, or do some gardening or landscaping in your home. Every little bit helps.
A focus on exercise can also make a cosmetic difference in aging bodies. A recent study by scientists at McMaster University has found that exercising twice a week left their subjects’ in better condition than any anti-aging product. In fact, subjects who exercised actually changed the composition of their skin. A simple walk in the park twice weekly could help your skin and face look decades younger.
Whether you’re hoping to maintain your youthful appearance or simply want to keep up with your grandkids, an active lifestyle is essential to aging well. If you need some inspiration to get started, look up the activities schedule at your local Senior Center or YMCA for wonderful ways to stay healthy and independent as you age.