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Exercise & Physical Activity
Wednesday, June 4, 2014 • Posted June 4, 2014

Exercise and physical activity are good for just about everyone, including older adults. No matter your health and physical abilities, you can gain a lot by staying active. During our last diabetes class we had a session on fitness taught by Mark Cole, a physical therapist with Country Home Health. It was very informative, and one of the main things he talked about was how important posture is for everyone- no matter your age. So for the past 2 days, I have really been trying to remember to sit up and stand up straight- and it’s hard- but it does feel good!! I put a sticky note on my computer that simply says “posture” to help remind me.

Your spine is strong and stable when you practice healthy posture. But when you stoop or slouch, your muscles and ligaments struggle to keep you balanced — which can lead to back pain, headaches and other problems. We also look more attractive (and younger!) when we are not slouched. It reminds me of the saying, “Your day is likely to go in the direction your mouth is turned.” I firmly believe this is true (attitude is SO important!), and as Mr. Cole pointed out, your health is likely to go in the direction your shoulders are turned. Do you want to be straight and firm or droopy and limp? Keeping active can help make the difference between a great retirement or a miserable one!

I found these tips from the Mayo Clinic:

When standing, keep these tips in mind:

    * Keep your shoulders back and relaxed. * Pull in your abdomen. * Keep your feet about hip distance apart. * Balance your weight evenly on both feet. * Let your hands hang naturally at your sides.

Try not to tilt your head forward, backward or sideways, and make sure your knees are relaxed — not locked.

When seated, keep these tips in mind:

    * Choose a chair that allows you to rest both feet flat on the floor while keeping your knees level with your hips. If necessary, prop up your feet with a footstool or other support. * Sit back in your chair. If the chair doesn’t support your lower back’s curve, place a rolled towel or small pillow behind your lower back. * Stretch the top of your head toward the ceiling, and tuck your chin in slightly. * Keep your upper back and neck comfortably straight. * Keep your shoulders relaxed — not elevated, rounded or pulled backward.

I also found this resource that offers free workout DVDs designed for older adults- check them out!

Go4Life was designed to help adults 50 and older incorporate more exercise and physical activity into their daily lives. Learn about this exercise and physical activity campaign from the National Institute on Aging by visiting their Go4Life® website at: http://go4life.nia.nih.gov/

You can order a free video/DVD (Go4Life Everyday Exercises from the National Institute on Aging) from: https://order.nia.nih.gov/health/publication/order/MS033

Designed for older adults, the DVD features strength, balance, and flexibility exercises that can be done at home, at work, at the gym—almost anywhere. The video is a companion to the popular exercise book, Exercise & Physical Activity: Your Everyday Guide from the National Institute on Aging, available in English and Spanish. This 120-page book can be ordered free by going to:

https://order.nia.nih.gov/health/publication/order/BK004

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