Healthy Aging Q&A: Part 3

September 11, 2016

September is National Healthy Aging Month. Whether you are in your 40s, 50s, 60s, 70s, or older, there are many questions you may have pertaining to your everyday health. Throughout the month, our medical professional will answer some of the more common questions they get from patients. Betsy Rowe, PT of the Emerson PACE Center, part of ElderONE, an affiliate of Rochester Regional Health discusses stay active.

Q: What is a good amount of exercise time to strive for?

A: In our busy lifestyles, it may be hard to fit in time to exercise, but as you age, here are some ideas for staying active:

At the minimum of 3 times a week, try to do an aerobic exercise that you can sustain fairly easily for 20 minutes a day. This could be running, walking, riding a bike, swimming, stair climber, rowing machine, tai chi or an aerobic class or video. This will be good for your cardiovascular system. Make it social for yourself. Join friends, neighbors, children or a pet dog. Look into an area running store or bicycle shop that has beginner group activities. If you prefer your own company, use it in conjunction with an opportunity to process or plan your day, meditate while moving or pray.

Try resistive training (exercise that improves muscular strength and endurance) of some kind for a minimum of 10 minutes a day. If you do 30 repetitions of an exercise 3-5 times per week with 2-5 pounds for your arms or legs, this can improve your strength. Arm and ankle cuff weights or barbells are available at a drugstore. Other exercise more for your core will use your own body as a form of resistance or weight training. Try positioning your body as if you were fencing in a lunge position.  Try to dip lower slowly and with control with a longer foot step ahead. Torso or core training can be done with 30 seconds of a plank (like setting up to do a push up without doing the push up), 30 seconds of holding a V shape with your body, 5-10 pushups.

Don't forget about Stretches: When you have a problem area identified, like a pulled hamstring or gastric muscle, 30 seconds of stretch with 5 repetitions is recommended to be done daily to 3 times per day minimum. After sitting at a desk or couch it is recommended to stand up every two hours and move your spine, legs and arms.  Part of stretching is just having good posture alignment. Three times a day, practice standing tall with chin tucked in, shoulders back and a straight back. Stand against a wall for effect, or try lying in bed on your back each night for 2 minutes without a pillow just to allow your spine including the neck to find a neutral resting position.

Rochester Regional is committed to helping every patient remain healthy, active and independent. Rochester Regional offers a range of senior care programs and services to our aging community, including independent living facilities, adult day care programs and skilled nursing homes. For more information, visit our website.