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Physical Activity in Older Adults

We all go through the natural process of aging; all at different speeds depending on a variety of factors. As our children begin having children, and their children begin having children, we realize that our lives have seemed to come to a standstill as everyone around us is the busiest they have ever been. I like to refer to the most commonly used phrase in the nursing world, "IF YOU DON'T USE IT, YOU LOSE IT".

Physical activity is the key to promoting independence, improving heart disease, lowering blood pressure, lowering blood sugars in diabetics, promoting digestive health, and our overall well-being. Lack of physical activity can lead to muscle loss, weight gain, depression, contractures of muscles, and depression. Causes of decreased physical activity are depression, loneliness, lack of resources, and certain medical conditions such as arthritis, cardiac disease, joint and back pain, lung disease, and many others.

Physical activity is not limited to just the body but the mind as well. Mental health is equally as important and can affect our daily routines that lead to lack of activity.

There are a variety of things we can do to improve our physical activity and overall well-being. The local malls have walking groups, many of the YMCAs have senior-centered programs, some of the local fitness centers have programs and times specifically for seniors, some of the hospitals and health clinics even have walking paths and exercise areas open to the public. Sometimes physical therapy can be ordered by a physician, for those with mobility issues, there are exercises designed to be done while seated. While residing in a senior living facility, participating in activities and restorative programs can increase your daily movement and interaction with others. Even performing self-hygiene can be a form of physical activity. Changing our daily routines and finding others to participate with you can make a big difference in making activities more fun and mentally stimulating. Although some of us may have certain limitations, there are ways to promote physical activity no matter what your stage of life. Remember, if you don’t use it, you lose it!

At GolderCare, we are committed to making sure our clients have the best resources so they can live their best life, especially as they face the realities of aging and finding themselves in need of a higher level of care. We advise seniors, whether they are living at home, an assisted living or long-term care facility how to make educated decisions for themselves in regards to their health and activity level, which will lead to a better quality of life, less doctor intervention and a fuller life as they age.

Marcy Ashby is a registered nurse with over 16 years of long-term care experience. She works part-time as a Care Coordinator for GolderCare. She has a passion to help our senior community so they have the best quality of life as they age. You can reach GolderCare Solutions Unlimited, LLC at (309) 764-2273 or www.goldercare.com.