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Physical activity should be rhythmic, repetitive, and should challenge the circulatory system. It should also be enjoyable so that a senior gets in the habit of exercising regularly for 30 minutes each day. It may be necessary to check with a doctor to determine the type of exercise that can be done.
Walking is recommended for weight loss, stress release, and many other conditions. Brisk walking is said to produce the same benefits as jogging. Other forms of exercise can include gardening, bicycling, hiking, swimming, dancing, skating or ice-skating. If weather prohibits outdoor activities, a person can work out indoors with an exercise video.
Exercise also offers a chance to socialize. In some cities, groups of seniors meet for regular walks at shopping malls. Senior centers offer exercise classes ranging from line dancing to belly dancing.
Costs for exercise range from the price of walking shoes to the fees for joining a gym.
Fall prevention starts with regular exercise such as walking. This improves balance and muscles. The walk route should be on level ground. Other methods for preventing falls include:
MEDICAL TREATMENT FOR FALLS. After a fall, a senior may need First Aid treatment for cuts or fractures. The doctor may evaluate whether medications cause balance problems. If indicated, the doctor may examine the patient's central nervous system function, balance, and muscle/joint function. A hearing or vision test may be ordered.
Corrective measures could include adjusting prescriptions, vision surgery or having the patient use a cane or walker.
Before beginning a weight loss or exercise program, seniors should check with their doctors. The doctor will determine whether a patient is at a healthy weight, or needs to gain or lose weight. The medical professional should be informed about a health condition or a family history of a condition like heart disease. The doctor may order a physical exam or recommend a specific exercise program.
Author Info: Liz Swain, The Gale Group Inc., Gale, Detroit, Gale Encyclopedia of Medicine, 2002
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