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Our HealthBY ERIN CAMBURN, DPT, Physical Therapist, CentraCare“Exercise” is a word that incites ei- ther excitement or pure dread in most people. Intellectually we know it can be good for us, but it is often difficult to motivate ourselves to get moving for a variety of reasons. This is especially true as we age. When we tire more easily and have various aches and pains often asso- ciated with aging it just becomes easier to not exercise.However, exercising doesn’t have to be something you go to the gym to do and it doesn’t even have to be a spe- cific set of repetitive movements as we traditionally think. But some form of physical activity is a necessary part of a healthy well rounded lifestyle at any age. Simply getting up and moving can be the first step on your road to better health. You can actually experience healthy physical activity throughout your daily routine and it likely won’t feel like exercise at all.Physical activity has a broad range of options. Keep in mind that doing “something” is better than doing “noth- ing.” Finding an activity that you enjoy doing and gets you moving, no matter the intensity level, can be considered physical activity. Swimming, partici- pating in a class such as Tai Chi or a seated program, gardening, walking, or even simply cleaning the house are a few options that can be easily added to anyone’s daily routine to promote phys- ical activity.If physical activity still seems like a daunting task, consider the health ben- efits that can be reaped by being active. As we age a number of health diagnoses emerge that can contribute to a decline in mobility. Arthritis, heart disease, hy- pertension, osteoporosis, diabetes mel- litus and depression are a few common diseases that can contribute to a decline in health. However, physical activi- ty can be very instrumental in helping to manage the disease processes and symptoms that arise from many health issues. It helps protect against loss in bone mass and decreases the risk of osteoporosis; helps lubricate the joints, thereby reducing overall pain andAging Well – A Focus on Fitnessstiffness that is a hallmark of arthritis; helps lower risk of heart disease and hy- pertension by managing blood pressure, blood glucose, and cholesterol levels; helps manage your weight and decreas- es your risk of obesity; improves your overall mood; and helps with insomnia. Overall physical activity is an important factor to add into a healthy lifestyle to help manage aliments and disease that can develop as we age.While the medical health benefits of physical activity are numerous, an often overlooked benefit is maintaining mo- bility. As we age we tend to lose mus- cle strength, balance, and coordination, which can then affect how we function, get around in our home, or participate in hobbies and activities that we enjoy. Leading a sedentary lifestyle is the pri- mary cause for muscle weakness which can hinder and cause difficulty with simple activities such as getting out of achair, getting out of bed, or going up and down the stairs. The old adage is true, “If you don’t use it you lose it.”At CentraCare our goal is to help older adults live as independently as possible for as long as possible. Our physical therapy program has helped scores of seniors become stronger, more mobile, and, as a result, more indepen- dent. For example, one individual came to us wheel chair bound and unable to walk. However, after participating con- sistently in physical therapy she now is able to walk with only the assistance of a walker, ride the stationary bike, and participates in various classes, and has regained her mobility, which she thought she had lost forever. We see this scenario very often as we work with our participants.It’s never too late to add some activi- ty to your daily routine. You will be glad you did!Caregivers, Are You Tired?WeUnderstand!Let Us Help.For dates, times, and to register, please contact Donna at (269) 441-9319CentraCare’s experienced staff will lovingly care for your elderly lovedone at our Battle Creek Day Center location to give you relief. At NO CHARGE* to you! WE PROVIDE: Transportation, Nutritious Meal & Snack, Socialization, Assistance with Personal Care, and Cognitively Stimulating Activities.200 W. Michigan Avenue | Battle Creek, MI 49017 | 269-441-9319 | *Funds for this program are made available through a grant from the Calhoun County Senior Millage and Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Michigan FoundationHEALTH & FITNESS I SCENE 4302 19

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