Ask Heidi Corbett: When Am I Too Old To Exercise?
As we age, we don’t feel as limber as we once did, or as willing to tackle an exercise program. Summit’s Wellness Center specialist Heidi Corbett has some words of wisdom for anyone who is ready to give up on exercise.
“It’s never too late to start improving your fitness and well-being,” says Summit performance specialist Heidi Corbett. “You are truly never too old to gain benefit from exercise. There is research across the board, covering every age span, that tells us that you can begin activity at any age—and when you do, it’s going to be beneficial. There’s no age limit, no cut off, no physical limitation that puts an exercise program out of your reach.
“Just because you turn 50 or 60 or 70 doesn’t mean exercise is out of reach,” Heidi continues. “The body is a responsive machine, and if you tell it to do something, and tell it correctly, and start gradually, your body will respond and perform for you. At every age, exercise will improve your health, your heart, and your joints. It reduces your risk of stroke. An activity program will boost your ability to ward off arthritis if you don’t have it, and will help you manage arthritis if you do have it. Exercise also helps to keep your weight and strength in the right place.
“Motion is lotion,” Heidi explains. “This is one of my favorite sayings, and it’s true. If your legs are sore or your joints are painful, you’ll notice that when you start walking or moving, they feel a little bit better. Everything we’ve learned tells us that movement is good for our joints and our bodies.”
Summit patients who are concerned about taking up exercise are welcome to consult their doctor—who can work with a performance specialist to design a safe activity plan. “Sometimes,” Heidi acknowledges, “patients have limitations. One of the advantages of the Summit Wellness Center is our ability to work with a patient’s physician to tailor an exercise program to that individual’s capabilities and any medical restrictions he or she may have.
“If you feel achy, of course you may worry that exercise might make your condition worse, and we understand that it’s intimidating when you don’t know what you are doing—that’s what’s so reassuring about training at our Summit Wellness Center. You will work with a specialist who has access to your Summit healthcare team. We understand your physical condition and know what you can do safely to improve your health. We are here to support your lifelong health through exercise—whether you are in your 20s or your 70s.”
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