A simple secret to a ripe-old-age

A simple secret to a ripe-old-age

There is no shortage of information on how to live to a ripe-old-age.

Health experts offer hundreds of ideas, tips and motivation on how to navigate the golden years. But with the overload of information it’s easy to become overwhelmed.

What is most important? What should you focus on first? Is there a way to simplify this whole thing?

health enews checked in with Dr. William Rhoades, a geriatric specialist with Advocate Medical Group in Park Ridge, Ill.

It turns out the answer is fairly simple, he says.

“I tell my patients the single most important thing you can do for your health is walk,” Dr. Rhoades says. “The most important aspect to aging well is getting physical activity.”

By physical activity, Dr. Rhoades says it’s something more than just doing household chores.

“The activity does not have to be strenuous or particularly long but needs to be done for exercise sake,” Dr. Rhoades explains. “In other words, it needs to be more than running errands, doing laundry or getting the mail.”

New research supports this idea.

A recent study found that seniors who walk a daily basis are less likely to become physically disabled compared to those who did not exercise regularly.

Researchers recruited more than 1,600 people over the age of 70 who had trouble walking more than a quarter-mile and split them into two groups. Seniors in the first group were required to carry out daily moderate exercise (150 minutes of walking/week), while the second group only stretched and attended health education classes.

At the end of the study, seniors in the moderate exercise group had an 18 percent higher walking ability than those in the education classes group. Additionally, moderate exercise was associated with a 28 percent reduction in the loss of mobility.

Consistency is the key.

“If you can get 45 minutes of walking in every day or every other day that will provide great health benefits,” Dr. Rhoades says. “Incorporating exercise improves balance, reduces falls, improves muscle tone, protects you from injury if you do fall, and improves both heart and lung function.”

You can get your questions answered about aging well by tuning in to the next edition of AdvocateLive set for June 20 at 11:30 am, CST. Click here to join the conversation!

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  1. Who knew that something as simple as taking a walk could have long-lasting positive health effects?! Walking more throughout the day is definitely doable!

  2. Wow — it’s so simple! I’m definitely going to share this with my family!

About the Author

health enews Staff
health enews Staff

health enews staff is a group of experienced writers from our Advocate Aurora Health sites, which also includes freelance or intern writers.