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  1. Health

Get moving to avoid physical, mental decline

Paul Merada and Tracy Decker show how to do a bodyweight with partner squat.
Paul Merada and Tracy Decker show how to do a bodyweight with partner squat.
Published May 26, 2015

Retaining energy and vitality as you venture into the senior years can be a happy reality.

Father Time may march on, but we can slow down the ticktocks.

Yes, gradual muscle and strength loss and a decrease in flexibility, agility and balance, plus a slowing metabolism, can age us. However, we now know that the physical decline has a lot to do with our becoming less active, not just with aging itself.

Exercise may be one of the best forms of "medicine" we have to reduce the effects of physical and mental decline. And to gain these benefits, you do not have to take exercise to the extreme. It's all about just adding more movement into your life. As Hippocrates once said, "That which is used develops. That which is not used wastes away."

It is never too late to regain some of the energy and vitality that make us feel so good.

Check with your doctor before starting a new exercise program. Sally Anderson is happy to hear from readers but can't respond to individual inquiries. Contact her at slafit@tampabay.rr.com.

Why start now?

• Sarcopenia, the loss of muscle tissue, can begin as early as age 30.

• Between age 30 and 80, sedentary adults can expect to lose as much as 30 to 40 percent of their muscular strength.

• With limited movement, you will begin to lose joint range of motion, preventing freedom of movement; muscles and ligaments become tight and stiff.

• Osteoporosis, the loss of bone mineral density that results in weakening bones that often break in a fall, is most common in people over age 50.

• Many people begin to gain weight in midlife, putting on an extra 3 or 4 pounds a year.

• The combination of weight gain and muscle loss contributes to a rise in blood sugar levels, making Type 2 diabetes a common occurrence.

• Studies show that there is a connection between inactivity and the beginnings of memory loss.

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