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home. Forming a habit of stepping outside for a walk every day could mean the difference between staying healthy or suffering a tragic fall.
While you’re strengthening your heart, you may find yourself creating strong bonds with other older adults — which can also be vital to your health! According to a study at the University of California, San Francisco, more than 40 percent of seniors experience loneliness on a regular basis. Spouses pass on, children become busy, and seniors may start feeling like they’re all alone. Living with constant loneliness can be just as detrimental as smoking 15 cigarettes every day! Studies have also found enhanced mental well-being when people remain active. So, joining an exercise class at your local gym or senior center can help you flex those muscles and build new relationships. Before you begin any physical fitness regimen, consult with a medical professional. They can give you advice on what types of activities to try and what pains to look out for. Whatever you do, just get out there and move!
Spending even 20 minutes of every day devoted to some kind of physical activity is a huge benefit to your heart and joints. Yet, one of the biggest misconceptions about physical activity is that it has to be a specified workout regimen to qualify as physical fitness. Instead of slapping on your sweatband to get your heart rate up, try strengthening your body with leisurely activities or even household chores. Try a local dance class or spruce up your garden. Tackling the mess in the garage, walking to lunch with a friend, or volunteering to walk the dogs at your local humane society are all fun ways to work physical fitness into your daily life. The best part is you can mold your workout to your lifestyle. Do what feels right, fun, and active!
THEWORLD’S BEST EXERCISE
of physical activity per day, but the good news is that you can split those minutes up throughout your day. For example, you can take a brisk 20-minute walk in the morning before work, followed by another one at lunch and one more after dinner. Those 60 minutes also don’t have to be strenuous; they just need to happen. However, the more time you put into walking, the more you will get out of it. If you slowly increase your distance and speed, you’ll end up burning more calories and strengthening your legs over time. The great thing about walking is that it’s not particularly taxing on the knees, and you can move at your own pace. It doesn’t get any better than that! To get the most out of walking, schedule your walks for after mealtimes, especially the ones that come later in the day, like lunch and dinner. It’s a great way to aid digestion and burn calories —which can’t hurt your waistline!
Not all exercises are created equal. In fact, there is one form of exercise that is better than many others: walking. Harvard Medical School took a look at various exercises and concluded that walking is up there with swimming and tai chi in terms of health benefits. Regular walking can help maintain good cholesterol and blood pressure levels and keep your bones strong and healthy. One study showed that 40 minutes of walking every day helped people reduce blood pressure from hypertension to prehypertension, and then eventually to normal over several months. Walking can even keep many different kinds of diseases at bay, such as diabetes and heart disease. In addition to these physical benefits, walking daily can improve your mood and overall mental health.
As simple and straightforward as walking is, it can be difficult for many people to find the time. Most experts agree that you need 30–60 minutes
2 • www.mhrpt.comwww.mhrpt.com
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