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The Importance of Exercise

Have you seen that new Holiday commercial yet? The one with the older gentleman incorporating daily movement just to be able to lift his granddaughter up to put the star on the Christmas tree? He digs his old kettlebell out of the attic and every day he pulls and pushes this moderate weight kettlebell. He struggles initially but then starts a running program and consistently gets his butt out of bed every morning to build his strength. All for the love of his granddaughter. It’s a real tearjerker and a reminder to us all that we are never too old to start exercising. If you haven’t seen the commercial, Google it or watch it here, but grab a tissue first!

My senior clients, some of whom have been clients of mine for the past 30 years and some who are in better shape than I am, have taught me about the importance of being healthy and taking care of our bodies for the future. Even more importantly, they have taught me that it's never too late to start taking care of yourself. I love this quote from Socrates; “No man has the right to be an amateur in the matter of physical training. It is a shame for a man to grow old without seeing the beauty and strength of which his body is capable.”

The good news is that the loss of strength, endurance, flexibility, and balance aren't inevitable. The National Institute on Aging believes that "when older people lose their ability to do things on their own, it doesn't happen just because they have aged. More likely it is because they have become inactive."

I often get phone calls from those over 50 asking if it’s safe to lift weights. My response for most is usually, yes! I help them to understand that workouts depend on their individual fitness goals and levels, and not their age. We chat about their abilities, their needs, and their fitness background and I always recommend that they look to hire someone who specializes in weight training the ‘older population’. Asking the right questions – like how many years they have vested in working with this population and what certifications or licenses do they hold are a great place to start. Don’t be shy about asking for references and then follow up by calling those references! Anyone that you are considering working with should be happy to share their credentials with you.

When you need a will, you call an attorney. When you get sick, you see your doctor. You call your dentist when you need your teeth cleaned. But, who do you turn to when you're struggling with your wellness plan? Before you get started, it is essential to get checked out by your doctor. If you have any conditions such as arthritis, osteoporosis, high blood pressure or heart disease, you'll need to learn the types of exercises you can and can't do. No matter your age or physical condition, it’s never too late to get your body moving, boost your health and outlook, and improve how well you age.

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