Exercise is Beneficial
Today, thoughts of aging gracefully have been replaced by efforts to age successfully. As we age and look forward to longer life expectancies than past generations, we strive to age with good health. We try to eat healthy, limit our alcohol intake, stay physically active, stay connected with our friends and family and seek medical treatment when necessary. These are the right steps toward healthy aging. With good health, we can enjoy life and pursue new dreams and endeavors as we age.
Good health includes both physical and mental well-being. A healthy mind contributes to a healthy body. The mind, like the body, benefits from low blood pressure, low cholesterol, nourishing food, a healthy weight, and physical activity.
Regular physical activity helps to:
- Maintain and improve memory
- Maintain and improve mental ability
- Prevent dementia (impaired intellectual functioning) including Alzheimer’s disease
- Make us happy and prevent and alleviate depression
- Improve energy levels
How does exercise do all that? Physical activity—whether it’s walking, running, swimming, dancing (we have a lot of choices)—helps to:
- Decrease heart rate
- Decrease blood pressure
- Decrease blood cholesterol
- Strengthen the heart and increase the flow of oxygen to the brain
- Improve reaction time
- Improve mobility
If you are thinking about starting an exercise program, talk first with your doctor. Start slowly, take proper precautions (for example, walk in well-lit areas in sturdy shoes), and have fun. Remember, you don’t have to be athletic to benefit from regular physical activity.
The type of exercising you should do depends on your fitness level, age, etc. Again, you should always consult with your doctor before embarking on an exercise program.
The best exercise for most people is walking. That’s right, walking. There are many ways that you can start walking right away. You do not even need to leave the house or buy any exercise equipment. The most basic way is walking in place. Turn on the TV and start walking in place. Watch your favorite shows while you walk. Only walk as long as you comfortably can then slowly build up your stamina. What’s great about this type of walking is that you can do it regardless of the weather conditions. You don’t have to wear anything special. Just walk!
The most important thing is that you engage in the appropriate form of exercise for you. Don’t worry about what anyone else is doing.
Keep an exercise journal so you can track your progress. Get a spiral notebook, and each day that you workout, write down how long you worked out and what type of exercise you did.
So, what are you waiting for?
Carol Gooch, MS, LPC-S, LCDC, LMFT, is a columnist for the Montgomery County Healthy Living Alliance www.healthylivingmc.com and she is the Director of Business Development for Aspire Hospital at 2006 South Loop 336 West, Suite 500, Conroe, TX 77304. Aspire Hospital has a behavioral health hospital and a diagnostic imaging facility in Conroe. In Huntsville, there is a sleep center, physical therapy and diagnostic imaging facility. In the Woodlands, there is a diagnostic imaging and oncology facility. www.aspirehospital.com.
Carol is also the Founder & Executive Director of the Montgomery County Association of Business Women. www.mcabw.org