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'Get Moving' Can Be Vital Advice for Seniors
Date:7/21/2010

sts aren't an issue, Hall said, he encourages seniors to buy exercise gear that appeals to them. Something as simple as a new pair of shoes or socks can help people overcome inertia.

He talks about the physical benefits, too. "The medical evidence that's coming out now about the value of exercise for everything we worry about as we age, including cognitive disorders, is compelling," Hall said.

Staying active can reduce the risks for heart disease and help maintain a healthy weight, according to research, and it can help those with existing health problems such as arthritis, heart disease and diabetes.

And body image is still a motivator, whatever a person's age, Hall said. When he coached 200 older adults in a triathlon training program, the participants were initially self-conscious when they showed up on the swim deck, he said. But soon, as exercise led to shedding of pounds and a feeling of well-being, confidence grew. "The women started showing up in much more svelte swimsuits," he said.

Other tips from Ashmore and Hall to help seniors keep moving include:

  • Focusing on "process goals." Ashmore said that means focusing on the current exercise session. "I am finishing 15 repetitions on the triceps press-down," for instance, not: "I need to lose 20 pounds."
  • Buying a new bathroom scale. Get one that also gives body fat percentages, Hall suggested. Set a goal to reduce body fat and use the scale to periodically track the results of exercise.
  • Thinking of exercise as social time. Socialization is linked with health benefits, so why not combine the two?
  • Rediscovering your inner competitor. One participant in Halls' triathlon training program told Hall his goal: "I want to beat Bill Hall." Hall, a senior himself, said he laughed -- but said it motivated him to do better in the triathlon, too.
  • Accepting a realistic goal. Hall said he reassures seniors that they
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