Perform strength training exercises while standing, with good posture, says Beth Jones, program coordinator and clinical exercise physiologist at Memorial West. “Doing things while standing in your 60s and 70s helps bone density. Whether it’s cardio or strength training, this helps bone density in the hips and the spine.”
Include dancing as part of your cardio training, Jones adds. “It intuitively includes many side to side and turning movements that can fall to the wayside as we age.’’
• Vaccinate for flu, pneumonia and shingles. Get a yearly flu shot but also consider the less-publicized shingles virus. Shingles is a painful, blistering skin rash that can strike at any age among people who have had chickenpox.
• Eat more, eat smarter: “I see so many people who attempted to lose weight by skipping meals but that’s slowing metabolism in the process. Everyone can eat and train like an athlete,” Jones says. “You just need to eat more frequently, trying to keep that metabolism revving and be smart with your choices.’’
• Feeling blue? Talk it over with your physician. “I always check on depression,” Woolger says. “As people get older they might be living alone and getting more mood issues or sadness. I also check functional ability. Do they need help getting to the phone? Driving? Managing money?”
• Functional fitness: Check around the house to make sure you are better protected against injury, Woolger suggests. Do you need handrails in the shower? Better lighting? How’s your hearing?
Water aerobics and walking against the water’s resistance while waist-deep in a pool can be among the best and least injurious exercises at this age and beyond.
Rethink some tests. Discuss the continued need for mammogram screening and colonoscopy procedures with your physician if 75 and older. “The breast cancer benefit declines after 75,” Birnbaum says. “Also, colonoscopy.’’
The 80s and up
• Don’t stop. “You have to be careful starting anything at any age, but for the 80s and up, continue activity as much as possible,” Roca says.
Finally, as Jones says, “Keep striving to incorporate the healthy habits learned in earlier years to retain your quality of life.”
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