Exercise and Nutrition
Exercise and nutrition are important at any age. Older people need to pay special attention to the quality of the food they eat and take part in regular physical activity. Much of the physical frailty attributed to aging results from poor diet and muscular disuse.
The basic guidelines for a nutritious diet are the same for most healthy adults. The requirements for nutrients such as protein, carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals are similar for older adults to those recommended for younger adults. Many people, however, gain weight more easily as they age because of changes in the body, a decrease in physical activity, and need far fewer calories.
Older people should limit their intake of high-fat foods, sweets, salty food, and alcohol. These foods contain many calories but few nutrients. Older individuals should follow their doctor’s advice about diet especially if they have health problems and are taking medications. Variety and moderation are the keys to a good diet.
Each year, more and more scientific evidence points to the fact that regular physical activity can help the human body maintain, repair, and improve itself. Most older people, even those with illnesses and disabilities, can take part in moderate exercise programs. Activities such as walking, swimming, low-impact aerobics, golf, and other sports can be enjoyable and beneficial. The key to a successful fitness program is to choose an activity you like. Be sure to consult your doctor before beginning any exercise program.