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Older Americans Encouraged to Get Fit

WEDNESDAY, Nov. 2 (HealthDay News) -- A new fitness campaign for older Americans has been introduced by the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

The Go4Life program is meant to encourage people 50 and older to become and stay active to improve their health.

Physical activity is the key for maintaining health and independence as people age, but regular physical activity is reported by only 30 percent of Americans aged 45 to 64; 25 percent of those aged 65 to 74; and 11 percent of those aged 85 and older, according to the NIH.

"If we want to become a healthy and fit nation, we need to increase the number of Americans who are healthy at every stage of life," U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Regina Benjamin said in an NIH news release. "Go4Life provides older adults with the tools and resources to get moving and keep moving. With the release of the National Prevention Strategy, we are moving our health care system from a focus on sickness and disease to a focus on wellness and prevention."

"You're never too old to increase your level of physical activity and exercise," National Institute of Aging Director Dr. Richard J. Hodes said in the news release. "Go4Life is based on studies demonstrating the benefits of exercise and physical activity for older people, including those with chronic health conditions. This new campaign reaches out to older people who traditionally have not embraced exercise and shows them ways that even those with physical limitations may be able to exercise safely as well."

The NIA will lead the campaign, which will also include other federal government agencies, nonprofit and other organizations, health care providers, insurers and corporations.

They will provide Go4Life web links and materials to their members, workers and customers and sponsor events or community activities meant to encourage older adults to get physically active.

The Go4Life website offers various resources, including specific exercises, success stories, free materials, and even virtual coaches to help motivate people.

More information

Here's where you can find the Go4Life website.

-- Robert Preidt

SOURCE: U.S. National Institutes of Health, news release, October 2011

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