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Older Americans should
Kick the Sedentary Lifestyle

The American Chiropractic Association (ACA) and public health officials across the country encourage Americans to stay strong and healthy throughout their later years.

Although recent federal data report that Americans are living longer, many older Americans continue to suffer from preventable health problems that could be diminished if proactively addressed.

The ACA suggests the following tips to help older individuals maintain a healthy lifestyle:

Walking

Walking improves elasticity in blood vessels, which makes them less susceptible to formation of aneurysms or rupture. For those who have not previously been physically active, begin slowly.

Start with one-third of a mile per day -- one-sixth out and one-sixth back. (You can measure the distance with your car.) Do that three days a week for a month, then double the distance, working gradually up to at least one mile a day, three days a week. Begin at a slow pace and work up to a brisk pace that will improve cardiovascular function.

Other Types of Exercise

Because today's older Americans are remaining active well into their golden years, many seniors may be able to participate in more strenuous exercise. Before beginning any new exercise program, consult with your doctor of chiropractic or other health care provider.

Golf

Many seniors enjoy not only the physical benefits of golf, but the social benefits as well. If you show some signs of arthritis in the hands, consider a larger, more specialized grip for added safety and performance. Having clubs that are comfortable will increase the chances of playing for a long time without significant physical limitations.

Swim

Swimming is an especially helpful exercise for older Americans. The water's natural resistance to movement offers a challenging cardiovascular workout, while its buoyancy lowers the amount of stress on muscles and joints that other high-impact exercises create.

Bike

Bicycling is a very good aerobic exercise that can benefit the heart and the rest of the cardiopulmonary system. However, those people who have not previously been physically active should ease into bicycling slowly. One drawback to bicycling is that your weight is not distributed normally while riding, and this can exacerbate or cause back pain.

Tennis

Tennis is a good exercise for those who want to strengthen their joints and joint muscles. However, you should avoid tennis -- or ask your doctor to closely monitor your progress -- if you have arthritis or other joint irritation.

Eating Right

Drink 10 eight-ounce glasses of water a day to help keep the kidneys active, dilute and remove toxins from the body, and replace lost fluids. (Coffee, tea, soft drinks and alcohol are diuretics/dehydrators. Don't substitute them for water.)

If you take vitamins, take them with a meal to allow for proper absorption.

Eat a healthy, balanced diet, including fresh vegetables, fruit, nuts and seeds.

For the extra calcium needed to maintain strong bones and help prevent osteoporosis, try broccoli, kale, collard greens, cabbage, and turnip greens. Experiment with tofu, salmon, sardines, and grains.

Many older Americans are moving away from the traditional model of "disease management" medical care to a new model of preventive care, and chiropractic plays a big role in that shift. Doctors of chiropractic believe that prevention is the key to health and wellness.




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