Excercise to stay healthy

Even modest exercise can result in improvements in blood pressure, diabetes, lipid profile, osteoarthritis, osteoporosis and brain function. According to the American Heart Association, people who have a low fitness level are much more likely to die early than people who have achieved even a moderate level of fitness(1). Nevertheless, according to a report by the U.S. Surgeon General on physical activity and health, more than 60 percent of American adults are not regularly active, and 25 percent are not active at all(2).

Some people who have been inactive for too long are afraid to start exercise programs. However, if you’re under the regular care of a primary care physician, there’s nothing to fear and you can benefit from exercise even if you live with a chronic disease, such as heart disease, diabetes or arthritis.

In fact, for some seniors, moderate exercise may be the key to remaining independent. It can also serve as a mood booster.

How do you get started? As the old adage goes, the longest journey begins with a single step.

Seniors should start slowly and, if you have health concerns, first check with your doctor. Upon receiving clearance, slowly begin to incorporate exercise into your daily routine. Some examples include gardening, playing with grandchildren, walking, dancing and even house work.

Then, gradually increase the amount you exercise with the goal of reaching 30 minutes of exercise a day.The exercises mentioned here so far are primarily endurance exercises. Other types of exercises can build strength (light weight lifting), improve balance (standing on one leg or walking heel-to-toe) or increase flexibility (yoga, stretching). Balance and flexibility are particularly important in avoiding falls.

Some of these exercises can be done in a chair or while lying down.

A fitness advisor can provide seniors with recommendations for an exercise regime. That may sound expensive, but it doesn’t have to be. Medicare Advantage plans, like those administered by Humana, may offer an advisor and a gym membership at no cost as part of the plan. For example, health benefits company Humana teams up with Healthways SilverSneakers® to provide Humana Medicare Advantage members with free memberships at participating fitness centers.

Keep in mind that it could take months to go from a sedentary lifestyle to an active one. Additionally, with any kind of exercise, you should always keep safety in mind. This includes wearing comfortable shoes, using appropriate safety gear, avoiding extreme cold or heat, drinking plenty of fluids and breathing deeply.In addition to greater strength, stamina and flexibility, here is another reason to exercise — you may save money on your health care expenses. In a study conducted by SilverSneakers®, participants who visited a fitness center at least twice a week for two years incurred at least $1,252 less in health care costs in the second year than those who visited less than once per week(3).

Finally, don’t forget to exercise your brain along with their body. Brain teasers like crossword puzzles can help keep your minds sharp.

Active Adults Spend their Days Differently

Active Adults

It’s no secret that active adult communities are changing. With shifting demographics and lifestyles, gone are the days of sequestered neighborhoods in the far-flung suburbs dominated by golf culture.

Today’s active adult communities offer a much more diverse, vibrant mix. In this article, we’ll take a look at how a typical day might unfold for someone living this lifestyle.

1. You might start the day with work. Many of today’s “retirees” aren’t fully retired at all. More than likely, you’ve scaled back your work so you’re not putting in a full 9 to 5 anymore, but it’s likely that you’re still serving in some sort of professional capacity, perhaps as a consultant. To that end, you might find yourself starting your day in your home office, or using the office facilities in your community’s clubhouse.
2. You’ll find yourself participating in activities outside your community. Once you spend some time “at the office,” you’re ready to unwind a little bit. Today’s active adult communities offer a greater variety of activities from which to choose…on this particular day your community manager has organized a trip to a nearby art gallery, followed by lunch in the city. Buses have been chartered and tickets have been reserved in advance. Incidentally, this trip was arranged because many of your neighbors have just finished reading The Goldfinch in the community book club, and the tale of purloined artwork has kindled an interest in the work of the Dutch masters – many of which are on display in a traveling exhibit at the museum.
3. Your community culture will be unique. On your way to the exhibit, you get a call from an old friend who lives in another active adult community, far away in the Carolinas. The way she describes her life is vastly different from yours – a lot of card games and gardening, things like that. And she loves it. This difference is the product of a new trend of great property managers who know how to grow the cultures unique to each community. Whereas your community culture is defined by arts and activity, your friend’s has evolved into a place where leisure is at the forefront.
4. Your children and grandchildren will be a bigger part of the picturewhen your schedule permits. After your visit to the museum, you’re home just in time to see your grandchildren, who spend a few hours after school with you while their parents are at work. A lot of your neighbors do the same thing…you’ve all found that your children are working longer hours, so you’ve offered to pitch in and help with some after-school time spent with your grandchildren. You’re fortunate in that your community is close to where your children live (that is, you didn’t have to move away to the Sun Belt to find a good active adult community), so you can see everybody more often. But it’s on your schedule and your terms – after all, you’ve got a busy life, too.
5. You might find yourself on a team. At 5:15 your grandchildren are picked up (you helped your granddaughter navigate the tricky waters of her math homework – long division) and then you’re off to your evening softball game. You’ve been on the team for a few years now, and usually you all meet for a light picnic dinner at the ballpark before you play. After the game (you went 2 for 4, great job) it’s time to call it a day…another perfect day, that is.

Of course, everyone’s day will be different (just like every community is different). The key is that today’s active adult communities are known for lifestyles that are tailored to the individual interests of the people who live there.

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