By Dr. Nora DeVoe, Ph.D.
Geriatric Care Manager


Resolve to Exercise and Strengthen Your Physical and Emotional Well Being

Yes, the New Year 2020 is upon us and we need to remind ourselves of the virtues of health and well-being. Adults 55 and older are the fastest growing segment of the fitness industry. In fact, studies have shown that even moderate amounts of exercise have long term benefits to both our physical bodies as well as our mental health and general emotional well-being. Research has indicated that as little as 30 minutes of moderate activity 4-5 times a week can make a big difference in our lives in at least eight ways:

1. Exercise has an energizing effect that results in improved body efficiency.

2. Exercise relieves tension and anxiety.

3. Exercise strengthens the body's stress-coping mechanism.

4. Exercise clears the mind, improving concentration and memory.

5. Exercise encourages a more positive self-image and improves self-confidence.

6. Exercise may alleviate depression.

8. Exercise is key to prevention of illnesses such as stroke, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, arthritis, and Alzheimer's disease.

No group is at higher risk for depression, disease, and early death than people who are completely sedentary, and by now the value of regular exercise for all age groups has been well documented. Research with older adults has conclusively demonstrated that someone who takes up exercise at any age will receive the same increase in strength, stamina, and muscle mass.

Scientists have outlined ten markers for age that are now considered reversible: lean body mass, strength, basal metabolic rate, body fat, aerobic capacity, blood pressure, blood sugar tolerance, cholesterol/HDL ratio, bone density, and body temperature regulation. These markers typically grow worse as people age. There are many variations from individual to individual, yet normal aging was defined by these markers. When researchers discovered that these markers could be reversed in older people, they delivered a sweeping endorsement of the benefits of exercise.

The hardest part of any exercise program is to get started. As they say, the journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step. Whether you prefer to walk, swim, bicycle or jog, there is no excuse not to exercise several times a week. The results are positive from any point of view and scientific research now indicates that exercise is key to overall health and wellness at any age. May you all have a happy New Year and resolve to make exercise a healthy new habit.

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Nora DeVoe is a Gerontologist specializing in Eldercare and Caregiver issues. She may be reached at (716) 667-7299.  

Dr. Nora is a ....