Maintaining a Healthy Body Through Regular Exercise

Out getting exercise on the mountain bikes in Utah

Adapted from Active Living Canada

Maintaining a healthy body is paramount to our overall health, brain function and longevity. In fact, hearing aid companies such as Starkey have realized health and wellness is strongly correlated to our hearing. They designed the Livio AI hearing aid to track your physical health and brain health just by wearing the hearing aids. Easily monitor your body and brain health with your smartphone and the Thrive Hearing App. Thrive wellness is what makes the Livio AI stand out from any other hearing aid. With a wellness centered focus, the Thrive wellness app concentrates on your body and brain health by tracking various movements throughout your day providing you with an overall score. Active Aging Canada recommends individuals 18- 65+ should spend 150 minutes a week doing moderate-to-vigorous exercise.

Why is exercise so important?

Regular physical exercise keeps our body moving, builds muscle and bone mass, controls weight as well as keeps our physical endurance high. There is an upwards trend that individuals become more static as they age. Sitting down for long periods of time on a daily basis contributes to stiffness in the muscles and joints, and can even lead to atrophy of some muscles (deterioration of muscle mass). While diseases like arthritis are common in our aging population the right kind of physical exercise will not damage the joints or aggravate your condition.

Regular physical exercise has emotional benefits as well, typically individuals will feel better physically and mentally and be satisfied with what they accomplish.

Physical Activity Tips

  • Warm up for 5 to 10 minutes with “stretch and hold” movements and low intensity movements before you go into your main exercise program.
  • Cool down with 5 minutes of “stretch and hold” movements and low intensity movements at the end.
  • Set a goal of 10 minutes of moderate aerobic physical activity to start with. If you can’t do 10 minutes when you start out, do what you can and work up to the 10 minute mark.
  • Gradually build up the time till you can accumulate between 30 and 60 minutes of moderate aerobic activity most days of the week.

Stretching

Stretching allows us to maintain range of motion and increase or maintain flexibility. This in turn will support joints and increase blood flow. Low impact activities such as  yoga and tai chi are an individual activity that improves strength, balance, flexibility, and mobility. Learn more about creating your own beneficial yoga practice here.

Balance

Maintaining a strong abdominal core is important to maintain balance and feel confident on our feet. Enjoying an evening of dancing should have you feeling graceful, stable and in control, instead of feeling like someone with two left feet! After the age of 40, we lose 0.5% to 1% of the bone mass in our skeleton each year. A diagnosis of osteoporosis means that bones have weakened to the point where they could break from a simple fall. This is where regular exercise and conditioning supports the maintenance of strong bone mass and a strong core to ensure you maintain balance and reduce fall risk.

Creating the right exercise program for you

You should discuss with your doctor and other health care professionals such as a physiotherapist to decide on a well rounded exercise program that will benefit your overall health without aggravating current ongoing issues. This program should include:

  • Stretching movements to keep muscles and joints flexible
  • Gentle, pain free movement of the joints
  • Balance activities
  • Muscle strengthening
  • Aerobic activities for the heart and lungs
  • Keep it fun, or suggest activities you’d like to try and enjoy.

Active Aging Canada has an excellent resource for stretches and simple exercises that you can do in your own home.