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Seniors and Movement

Maintaining an active lifestyle contributes to a person's well-being at every age. For seniors, in particular, regular activities, such as gardening or walking the dog, and exercise are essential for healthy aging and maintaining independence. When seniors sustain a daily routine rich in physical movements, they are more likely to stay mobile, safe, and social. This allows aging adults to continue the stimulating activities they've enjoyed their entire lives.

Here are a few tips for making movement part of your daily routine:

  • Check in with your doctor before adding more movement into your daily routine.
  • Start slowly. Build your strength, balance, flexibility, and endurance gradually over time.
  • Ease into exercise with walking, t'ai chi, yoga, or gentle stretching.
  • Be sure to thoroughly warm up before beginning any exercise.
  • Maintain good posture. Always keep your body's center of gravity above your feet.
  • During each exercise, take deep, even breaths to maximize your performance.
  • Prevent dizziness. Avoid fast movements, quick turns, and changes of position.
  • Practice gentle stretching regularly to relax, relieve tension, increase flexibility, and maintain your range of motion.
  • Monitor your body. Stop as soon as you experience the first signs of discomfort or pain.

A Message from Dr. Marco
Dr. Noah Marco, Chief Medical Officer

As we age, our bodies go through many physical changes. Some of these changes affect our abilities to use our arms and legs in the way that we did when we were younger. With aging, muscles get shorter and lose some of their elasticity (the ability of a muscle to return to its original shape after a stretch). Bones become less dense, and our joints stiffen, can lose cartilage, and become less flexible. All of these things often cause seniors to experience a decrease in their range of motion.

However, many seniors are finding ways to stay active and safe in their activities despite these changes. These seniors offset the effects of aging on their muscles and joints with regular exercise and daily movement. Even seniors who move around using walkers or wheelchairs can follow guided simple exercises and stretching that can improve range of motion and strength. Movement helps strengthen muscles and bones which helps prevent falls. Regular physical movement also lowers a senior's risk of Alzheimer's disease, diabetes, heart disease, and other chronic illnesses. It also helps to fight osteoporosis, and control body weight, blood pressure and cholesterol levels.

Ask your health care provider what types of exercises are right for you. Your doctor may refer you to a physical or occupational therapist who will guide you through the exercises that have been suggested for you. Make it a priority to exercise and do daily joint movement and stretching each and every day.

For more information about the comprehensive family of Jewish Home senior care services, contact our Connections to Care toll-free hotline at (855) 227-3745 or click here to complete our online information request form.

The information provided in Senior Health e-Connect is a public service of the Los Angeles Jewish Home and is not intended to constitute medical advice. Please consult your physician for personalized medical advice.
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