Chronic illness… it’s a major cause of disability for seniors, and can be a retirement dream-killer. Travel. Golf. A retirement home in the country. It sidelines daily passions. Walks. Painting. Knitting. Crossword puzzles. Playing on the floor with grandchildren.
One way you can help yourself live a “disability-free” or “disability-reduced” life in your senior years is exercise in midlife. A recent study reported in the Archives of Internal Medicine indicates that being physically fit in midlife (over 50) may do many important things for us not just now, but down the road. Being physically fit can:
- prevent some seniors from ever developing chronic conditions;
- let other seniors live longer while healthy before developing chronic illness.
The study also shows that midlife fitness may actually shrink the number of years seniors spend coping with chronic illness altogether. It may help us live better and longer, more healthy years and fewer sick ones.
So what can you do to help avoid disability? Start exercising. Of course, you should consult your physician before getting started, especially if you have any known medical issues. If you already have a regular exercise routine, the study suggests that increasing the intensity of your workout can help even more. If you usually go for a walk, try going for a jog instead. Stay on the treadmill a little longer. Put in a little more effort now and reap the benefits later on.