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Keep Your Wheels Turning, Keep Your Mind and Body Going

By Kristen DeLuca

Think of your body as a machine – a car, for example. You have to give your car fuel; with the proper fuel necessary to keep it running. You have to maintain the car; change the oil, take it for yearly inspections, for necessary repairs, and for tune-ups. Similarly, to fuel your body, you need to provide it with whole, nourishing foods. To maintain your body, you have to make yearly appointments with your primary care physician, and pay visits to other specialized doctors. One of the golden rules of maintaining a car is that you have to keep it moving. If you leave the car idling for too long, it is not going to perform as well as it could, and may even decline sooner than it should. You have to treat your body the same way you would a well-oiled machine, and then you will see the benefits. Keep your wheels turning in order to keep your mind and body functioning properly.

Keeping yourself physically active can do more than just make your pants fit a little better. Here are a few ways that physical activity can help your body:

  1. Exercise can help keep your mind sharp.
  2. Participating in aerobic exercises (like bike riding and dance classes) can help maintain brain function.
  3. Being active will enhance your overall physical ability.
  4. Everyday activities like grocery shopping, gardening, or playing with your grandchildren outside, could become easier.

Research has shown that with a consistent workout plan, everyday living can be more enjoyable. Living your best life entails adopting and maintaining a physical activity regime- but, don’t fret- it can be easily incorporated into your everyday life. You do not have to join a gym or recruit a personal trainer to get started. Here are some ways to add physical activity into your everyday routine:

  1. Walk the dog.
  2. Play with your grandchildren outside.
  3. Go for a bike ride.
  4. Participate in workout classes (tai chi for seniors, for example).
  5. Walk around the neighborhood with a spouse or friends.
  6. Take the stairs instead of the elevator.
  7. Park your car far from buildings and walk to your destination.

It is important to find a type of exercise that you enjoy because if you enjoy it, you are more likely to get a good workout, and then incorporate it into your daily routine. The type of exercise that you engage in does not have to be strenuous; it just has to get your wheels turning and your body moving for at least 30 minutes each day, most days of the week. A healthy lifestyle is a necessity at every stage of life, and paying close attention to your diet and lifestyle is as imperative as ever. If you care for your body like your car, properly fueling and maintaining it, you will reap both short-term and long-term benefits.

*Before you begin any workout regime, first consult with your primary care physician to make sure the plan is right for you.

Brovold, Therese MSc, Skelton, Dawn A. PhD, & Bergland, & Astrid Phd. (2013). Older adults recently discharged from the hospital: effect of aerobic interval exercise on health-related quality of life, physical fitness, and physical activity. Journal of the American Geriatric Society, 61:1580-1585.

Kristen DeLuca Dietetic is a Dietetic Intern with the University of Delaware with Cornell Cooperative Extension of Suffolk County’s Family Health and Wellness Program

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