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Don’t slow down: Get physical

Getting physically rusty as you enter those senior years? You could need strength training.

Getting physically rusty as you enter those senior years? You could need strength training.

OK, so maybe you don’t think of yourself as the bodybuilding type. But you probably should be a body-maintaining type. Or a getting-back-into-shape type.

For older adults, feeling stronger doesn’t have to mean packing on pounds of muscle, but rather tuning up what you’ve got and maybe getting rid of some flab in the process.

Some folks in the federal government, experts from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, to be specific, teamed up a while back with experts at Tufts University to come up with a strength-training program geared toward older adults.

The program, aptly called Growing Stronger, is outlined on CDC’s website.

According to the website, Growing Stronger is “an exercise program based upon sound scientific research involving strengthening exercises—exercises that have been shown to increase the strength of your muscles, maintain the integrity of your bones, and improve your balance, coordination and mobility.”

What more could you ask for? As a bonus, the site says, strength training can help reduce the signs and symptoms of chronic diseases like arthritis.

One big key of the program: Regular daily activity.

While it goes without saying that people with chronic diseases or conditions—such as arthritis, high blood pressure or a heart condition—should check with a doctor about what kind and amount of physical activity is appropriate, the potential benefits of exercise often outweigh any risks.

Anyway, Growing Stronger offers a wealth of information and materials to help any willing individual create, develop, track and maintain a sensible program of progressive strength-building physical activity—most of which requires little or no equipment.

Take a chance. Download a 12-week supply of exercise log sheets and become your own personal trainer.

Not an older adult? CDC has starting-point portals where everyone—children, adults and older adults—can get info on how much and what kind of physical activity they should be getting, and how they can start getting it.

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