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Exercising In Your 50s, 60s, 70s and Beyond

A recent study has shown that exercise can add years to a person’s life. Still, as we age it can become more tedious and sometimes more difficult to exercise.

Many people see aging as a time to slow down and take it easy. The reality is the more we age, the more we need exercise to keep us independent and healthy. Still, it sometimes takes a prescription from the doctor to get adults up and moving.

“Exercise is important for almost everyone. There are very few medical conditions that exercise won’t benefit. In fact, I sometime write a prescription to get my patients to start taking this seriously and help them understand exercise can be just as helpful as medication,” said Dr. Keith Veselik, director of primary care at Loyola University Health System and associate professor in the Department of Medicine at Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine.

“Around age 35 is when our muscle mass and resting metabolism starts to decrease. When this happens our bodies require more, not less exercise to manage our caloric intake. When this starts to happen we can eat the same things, do the same things and may gain 3 pounds a year. That’s 30 pounds in a decade.”

Though exercising is beneficial to nearly everyone, before starting a program he advises that people, especially those who have not been active, consult a doctor to determine their baseline and to get guidance about what exercises would be most beneficial.

“In my own life I’ve seen the benefits of exercising. When that alarm goes off in the morning I want to just roll over, but I’ve seen such a positive change in so many ways. It can be difficult, especially at first, but the benefits truly out weigh the struggles,” said Veselik.

Veselik said the best workout program balances cardiovascular exercise, strength training and flexibility. He recommends an hour of cardiovascular exercise four days a week, two days of strength training for 30 minutes and balance and flexibility exercises such as stretching, yoga or pilotes, one to two times a week.

But what is optimal doesn’t always translate into what is doable. Each decade has unique challenges. Veselik gives some ideas of how to use exercise to counter those health hurdles.

In Your 50's:
Muscle and joint aches and pains start becoming more apparent, so Veselik said get creative about how to keep up cardiovascular exercise that is easy on the joints but gets the heart rate up.
He suggests trying exercising in a pool or riding a bike instead of running. If you do run, make sure you have good shoes and try to run on softer surfaces.

Cardiovascular exercise also helps to fight many of the most common and deadly medical concerns, including heart disease, asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

“But don’t go from doing nothing to running a marathon. Talk to your doctor, ask about risk factors and together create a plan that’s right for you,” said Veselik.

Another nearly universal complaint for people in their 50s is back pain.

“The best way to protect your back is to build strong core muscles and make sure you are lifting heavy objects correctly,” said Veselik.

In Your 60s:

As we enter our 60s, balance and strength should be a major focus. Many people are scared of breaking a hip which can limit independence. Also, our bones aren’t as strong and both men and women become more susceptible to osteoporosis.

To help battle these concerns Veselik suggests incorporating balance and leg strengthening exercises to increase flexibility as well as balance to help prevent accidental falls.

Weight-bearing exercise is crucial to bone health and keeping bone density strong.

In addition, many adults in their 60s begin to experience symptoms from arthritis, which can make exercise difficult.

“Exercise has been proven to help people deal with their arthritis. It’s just making sure your exercise routine is working for you, not against you.

Some people forget that walking is a great form of exercise, just make sure you get your heart rate up. Also, aquatic classes or swimming are a great way for people with arthritis or fibromyalgia to exercise,” said Veselik.

In Your 70s and Beyond:

“The biggest worry I hear from my patients who are entering their 70s, 80s and beyond is dementia. The two most common forms are Alzheimer’s and Vascular dementia,” said Veselik.

He also said that exercise is the only thing that is proven to prevent Alzheimer’s.

And, many of the major risk factors for vascular dementia, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes, can be countered with exercise.
“Exercise is important, but it’s not the end all.

It needs to be coupled with eating right and incorporating other healthy habits to lead to a better quality of life,” said Veselik.

For media inquires, please contact Evie Polsley at epolsley@lumc.edu or call (708) 216-5313 or (708) 417-5100.

Follow Loyola on: Facebook: www.facebook.com/loyolahealth Twitter: http://twitter.com/LoyolaHealth

Loyola University Health System, a member of Trinity Health, is a quaternary care system based in the western suburbs. It includes a 61-acre main medical center campus, the 36-acre Gottlieb Memorial Hospital campus and 22 primary and specialty care facilities in Cook, Will and DuPage counties. The medical center campus is conveniently located in Maywood, 13 miles west of the Chicago Loop and 8 miles east of Oak Brook, Ill.

The heart of the medical center campus, Loyola University Hospital, is a 569-licensed-bed facility.

It houses a Level 1 Trauma Center, a Burn Center and the Ronald McDonald® Children’s Hospital of Loyola University Medical Center. Also on campus are the Cardinal Bernardin Cancer Center, Loyola Outpatient Center, Center for Heart & Vascular Medicine and Loyola Oral Health Center as well as the LUC Stritch School of Medicine, the LUC Marcella Niehoff School of Nursing and the Loyola Center for Fitness.

Loyola's Gottlieb campus in Melrose Park includes the 264-licensed-bed community hospital, the Professional Office Building housing 150 private practice clinics, the Adult Day Care, the Gottlieb Center for Fitness and Marjorie G. Weinberg Cancer Care Center.

Newswise — MAYWOOD, Ill.
Released: 5/22/2012 4:40 PM EDT Source: Loyola University Health System

For many people, finding an effective way to lose weight can be difficult - almost as difficult as finding a few extra minutes in their jam-packed days.
Some will try everything from dietary supplements like Sensa to all juice diets.

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10 Easy Weight Loss Tips to Help You Slim Down

(Family Features) When it comes to losing weight and getting in shape, Jamie Walker, co-founder and president of the online health community Fit Approach (www.FitApproach.com), knows a thing or two. A Yoga Alliance certified instructor and boot camp leader, Walker is also the winner of multiple marathons.
"Losing weight and getting in shape is more than just counting calories and squat repetitions," says Walker. "It's about implementing healthy habits and actions into your daily life." With this in mind, Walker shares her tips for shedding pounds and living healthier.

1. Trim Your Plate.
When preparing meals, consider proper portion sizes for vegetables, lean proteins, grains and dairy. Using a smaller salad plate will help you keep portions in control, while also providing the visual cue that you have eaten enough food to feel satisfied. To learn more about portions, visit www.ChooseMyPlate.gov.

2. Grab Your Toes, Not a Fork.
"When you're feeling tired or stressed out your first instinct may be to grab a snack. But before snacking, consider stretching," suggests Walker. Stretching can help you feel rejuvenated, provide you with longer lasting energy, as well as help clear your mind.

3. When Dining Out, Go Dutch.
When you're out on the town try splitting a meal with a friend. Most restaurants serve portions that far exceed our dietary requirements for a single meal. Sharing food minimizes the chance you'll overeat.

4. Wake and Weigh.
"Set a goal to step on the scale at the same time each week," says Walker. "Sticking to a routine will help keep you accountable, making it easier to track your progress." Walker recommends the iHealth Wireless Scale which allows you to track your weight over time and compare results to daily activities such as diet and exercise regimens. Results can be shared with your doctor, personal trainer, family members or fitness partners via the free companion iHealth Scale app.  Learn more at www.ihealth99.com.

5. Drink More Water.
Thirst is often mistaken for hunger. According to the Mayo Clinic, men should drink roughly 3 liters of water each day (13 cups) and women should drink 2.2 liters (9 cups). Create the habit of drinking a glass of water before each meal to avoid over-eating. Learn more at www.MayoClinic.com.

6. Go Green.
Make a sincere effort to add something green to all of your meals. Dark, leafy greens are full of fiber, which is proven to help you feel fuller longer. Greens such as spinach and kale are also packed with important vitamins, minerals and disease-fighting phytochemicals.

7. Don't Call it a Workout, Call it Fun.
Instead of associating your workout with "work," channel your positive energy and make your exercise time pleasurable. Walker recommends working out to your favorite tunes and trying fun, non-conventional ways to burn calories like dancing, jumping rope or doing squats while brushing your teeth in the morning. For more tips on creative ways to workout, visit www.LiveStrong.com.

8. Slip into Something Less Comfortable.
Ditch the sweatpants and opt for something that makes you feel amazing. Studies show that you're less likely to overeat if you feel confident.

9. Don't Subtract, Just Add.
Instead of focusing on foods you have to subtract from your diet, focus on the foods that can always be added, like fiber-rich fruits and vegetables. Try new combinations of wholesome foods. You may be surprised by how much you enjoy flavorful, seasonal produce in some of your favorite dishes, such as vegetarian lasagna.

10. Early to Bed, Early to Rise.
According to the National Sleep Foundation, short sleep duration is linked with an increase in body mass index due to an increased appetite caused by sleep deprivation. Learn more about getting a good night's sleep at www.SleepFoundation.org.

Photo courtesy of Getty Images


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