After the Turkey Dinner…Take a Walk!

You just enjoyed turkey and all the fixins’ with family and friends. Before the tryptophan starts kicking in and making you sleepy, why not take a walk? You may feel like sitting on the couch after the big meal, but if I told you that physical activity helps stave off depression, dementia and other health problems, such as heart disease, cancer and diabetes, would that change your mind?

A new study published on November 25 in the British Journal of Sports Medicine surveyed the physical activity of 3,500 people with an average age of 64, over eight years. Among the group, there were those who were inactive, those who did moderate exercise, and those who exercised vigorously. The researchers kept track of serious health problems, such as heart disease, stroke, diabetes, emphysema and Alzheimer’s disease. They also monitored the participants’ mental and physical health. The study found that people who were active during the course of the research were seven times more likely to be healthy agers than people who were inactive. Those who exercised regularly also had better circulation and improved bone, muscle, and organ health, and less mental decline.

Although a number of large, important studies have also found a link between physical activity and good health, this is one of the first to track whether those who started exercising later in life also reaped health benefits.

Despite all of the benefits of exercise, there is an undeniable resistance among non-exercisers to the notion of motion.  To get yourself or a family member moving on Thanksgiving or any other day, bundle up and take regular walks, sign up for a dance or yoga class, or purchase an exercise DVD. Partnering with someone is a real motivator, so find a friend to join with you. For a holiday present, you can even give the person in your life who is most resistant to exercise a session with a qualified personal trainer.

For more on the benefits of exercise, visit the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

At the Fairfax and Fredericksburg Elder Law Firm of Evan H. Farr, P.C. (www.VirginiaElderLaw.com), we are excited to share how exercising promotes healthy aging and staves off diseases, such as dementia, heart disease, and diabetes. Our firm is dedicated to helping protect seniors and individuals with special needs by preserving dignity, quality of life, and financial security. If you have not done Long-Term Care Planning, Estate Planning, or Incapacity Planning (or had your Planning documents reviewed in the past several years), or if you have a loved one who is nearing the need for long-term care or already receiving long-term care, call us at our Virginia Elder Law Fairfax office at 703-691-1888 or at our Virginia Elder Law Fredericksburg office at 540-479-1435 to make an appointment for a no-cost consultation.

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