Do you feel as good now as you did at 40 years of age? At 50?
If the answer is no, read on. You might be able to feel as good as you used to (or even better) by picking up a few new good health habits. Even small changes can improve your health. One small change you can make is to add some activity to your daily life. Another is to eat more fiber or to make sure you get plenty of fruits and vegetables in your diet.
What if I’ve never been very active? Will starting now really make a difference?
Yes! Physical activity is good for people at any age. Among older adults, falls are a common cause of injury and disability. Physical activity makes your bones and muscles stronger. When your muscles are strong, you’re less likely to fall. If you do fall, strong bones are less likely to break.
Regular physical activity is good for your brain too. Recent studies have shown that people who do simple exercises (for example, walking briskly) on a regular basis are better able to make decisions than people who aren’t physically active.
I haven’t been physically active in a long time. I’m afraid I’ll get hurt when I start.
From diabetes to heart disease, many chronic (ongoing) health problems are improved by even moderate amounts of physical activity. For people who have these conditions, a lack of exercise is a bigger risk than an exercise-related injury.
Talk with your doctor about your plans before you get started. Your muscles will very likely be sore when you first increase your physical activity, but don’t consider that a reason to stop. Mild soreness will go away in a few days as you become more used to the physical activity.
What’s the best way to get physically active now?…
Written by familydoctor.org editorial staff
American Academy of Family Physicians