Best Health - - GET MOVING! -

WE DON’T JUST WANT TO LIVE longer; we want to live as healthy, ac­tive adults. No one is anx­ious to be that per­son, lost in a long-term­care fa­cil­ity, with lit­tle in­de­pen­dence. So how do you achieve both a long life and a healthy one?

You’ve read a bit about the im­por­tance of ex­er­cise. In­deed, ex­er­cise has been linked to var­i­ous ben­e­fits, in­clud­ing im­proved car­diac health, de­creased de­men­tia and stronger bones. Yes, this is all true, but there is even more. Ex­er­cise is a key com­po­nent in pre­dict­ing good health for you over the next 10 years.

Let me ex­plain. There was a study pub­lished in the jour­nal Ma­tu­ri­tas that looked at women be­tween the ages of 53 and 64 in Fin­land. Af­ter fol­low­ing these women, the re­searchers were able to iden­tify pre­dic­tors of good health over the next 10 years. Here’s what’s on that list. GOOD QUAL­ITY OF LIFE What does that mean? I think it means the things we all value, such as spend­ing time with fam­ily and friends, do­ing work we en­joy and feel­ing pro­duc­tive and so­cially con­nected.

FULL AC­TIV­ITY Here comes the im­por­tance of ex­er­cise, pos­ture, in­de­pen­dence and stamina. We all want to be able to do the things we love, in­clud­ing play­ing sports, par­tic­i­pat­ing in favourite ac­tiv­i­ties and be­ing so­cially con­nected.

LOW BMI Sorry, ladies, there is no doubt that main­tain­ing an ap­pro­pri­ate weight for your height is crit­i­cal. Car­ry­ing ex­tra weight puts phys­i­cal pres­sure on bones and joints and in­creases your risk of heart dis­ease and di­a­betes.

ABIL­ITY TO SQUAT What? Squat? Yup. If you can squat eas­ily, you’ll likely have great mus­cle tone and, hugely im­por­tant, great bal­ance. That means that your joints are flex­i­ble and, with great bal­ance, you are less likely to fall – and re­peated falls, even without frac­tures, are a pre­dic­tor of frac­ture.

Frac­tures in women over 40 are of­ten called fragility frac­tures. These frac­tures hap­pen with very lit­tle trauma, step­ping off a curb or fall­ing on an out­stretched hand may be all it takes.

The prob­lem is, a fragility frac­ture sug­gests that your bones are less than strong, and that can lead to hip frac­tures in older women. Your abil­ity to squat is like a quick snap­shot, show­ing your strength and flex­i­bil­ity, both of which can be im­proved with reg­u­lar ex­er­cise.

GOOD GRIP STRENGTH That’s right, your grip mat­ters. Why? Be­cause it re­flects mus­cle tone and over­all frailty and is a marker for mus­cle strength through­out the body. Strength­en­ing your core, lower ab­dom­i­nals and lower back can help pre­vent uri­nary in­con­ti­nence, chronic back pain and im­mo­bil­ity.

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