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