2014-01-17 / In the News

Fitness: A Key to Healthy Aging

By Kelly Hassett, MedCOR Professionals

We’ve all heard it before: Staying active is one of the keys to healthy aging. Those of us without health or mobility issues have many options. We walk the mall with a friend, swim laps in the community pool, even enjoy a weekly game of tennis. But what about those of us who are recovering from an illness or injury? Thankfully, everyone, even seniors with mobility limitations, can be active and reap the benefits of a fitness routine.

The benefits of staying active are well documented. Movement improves mood, fosters healthy sleep patterns, increases circulation and energy, and relieves stress. The question is not whether or not to be active, but how to start if you are not.

The key is to focus on what you can do, rather than on what you cannot. And that’s where a trusted physical therapist as well as a reputable local rehabilitation and medical equipment company can help. Let the specialists give advice as to the routine and equipment that will work best for you. If an injury or illness has left you with pain, consider non-narcotic options such as muscle stimulation, traction and supports to increase comfort and range of motion while decreasing pain so you’ll feel more inclined to commit to a new exercise regimen. Light resistance bands and free weights can then rebuild muscle tone, bone mass and improve balance. Canes, crutches, walkers and rollators help you to navigate securely, and most importantly, to get moving again. And more good news— if you have a doctor’s recommendation, many private insurance companies and Medicare will help pay for this equipment.

So, if you or a loved one can benefit from a more active lifestyle, check with the doctor and talk with local specialists. Make a plan and commit to it for four weeks, the amount of time it takes for a new activity to become a habit. Try not to get discouraged, and strive to make the process enjoyable. Talk with a friend, listen to music, watch a movie while you exercise. It’s your life, and there’s no time to lose.

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