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Stay Healthy and Be Happy(1)

Por Eleazar Lara-Pantin, MD, MSc.* -

A healthy person is a happy person. Research supports what we read almost daily in news articles and magazines--that physical activity enhances one’s quality of life.

Start exercising now

Contrary to the belief that age is a limiting factor in staying physically fit, physical activity is beneficial to people of all ages. The senior population both within the United States and other countries has already demonstrated this.

As people age, they still want to do the things that make them happy, such as enjoying their children and grandchildren, travelling, and participating in other activities that require some physical effort. 

We now know that the limitations associated with aging are not a result of the passing of time, but rather from an accumulation of health issues and limitations that typically result from leading an unhealthy lifestyle, or living in an unhealthy environment.

Exercise plays an important role in preventing or decreasing the deterioration of our health over time. For this reason, we should encourage children and young people to engage in regular physical activity early on in their lives. It is also important to emphasize to people that they can start exercising at any point in time. Exercise benefits each one of our body's organs and systems.

Rediscover your youth

Numerous scientific studies have also shown that many of our bodily functions, instead of deteriorating, can still improve during the one’s senior years. In various research institutes, people over 60 have started special weight-lifting programs, which resulted in them building and maintaining muscle mass more effectively than younger people. In many cases, even people over ninety years old have managed to improve their quality of life. Some people were able to discontinue their use of walking canes or wheelchairs as a result of increasing their level of physical activity.

The movement, strength, and aerobic capacity that help build the foundation of our physical health depend on the elasticity of the tissue in our muscles and joints. You can achieve this elasticity by getting regular physical activity. The earlier in life you begin exercising your muscles, joints, heart, and lungs, the healthier you’ll be now and in the future.

If you have been inactive for a long time, you will need to be more careful initially about the types, duration, and intensity of exercise you choose. Be sure to begin your routine with less intense exercises, working gradually to build up your strength. Be sure to get a thorough medical check-up before you begin any exercise program.

It’s never too late to start exercising!

*Dr. Lara-Pantin, a nutrition specialist, is Vice President of Product Development for DrTango, Inc.


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