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Get Physical

Movement Is Medicine
Physical activity is the single most important thing you can do to achieve better health, and it benefits every area of your life. Regular exercise improves strength and fitness, enables improved balance and mood, and decreases the likelihood of developing dementia. It also controls weight, manages and prevents medical problems including diabetes, COPD, heart disease, neurologic problems, cancers, and pain. It is the number one prescription for preventing disease and managing medical problems you might have.

There are four essential components for your exercise program.

1. Endurance
Aerobic exercise keeps your heart, lungs, and circulation healthy.

  • Physical activity should increase your heart rate and make you breathe harder
  • Get 30 minutes of exercise most days of the week
  • Use a pedometer and aim to take 10,000 steps per day

2. Flexibility
Remaining flexible helps you avoid injury and stay fit.

  • Stretch every day
  • Stretch every muscle and ligament in the body, head to toe, front and back
  • Do exercises 35 times per session, and hold each stretch for 10–30 seconds

3. Strength
We lose muscle mass as we age, so increase your strengthening activities to keep your muscles strong.

  • Work on strength 2–3 days per week
  • You can use weights, resistance bands, or household items like soup cans
  • Start with light weights and gradually increase weight as you are able

4. Balance
Balance exercises can help you prevent falls.

  • Work on balance as often as you like, but at least 3 times per week
  • Start by using a chair for stability and gradually wean yourself from it

Variety and fun are important parts of making sure you stick to your exercise regimen, so find activities that you enjoy doing, that are new to you, or that you can do with others. Physical activity is the most important thing you can do to prevent and manage almost all medical problems—which is especially important as you grow older. So get moving, and stick with it.

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