Exercise and nutrition

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Updated: 4/11/2007 5:49 pm
Exercise and nutrition are important at any age, but older people, especially, need to pay attention to the quality of the food they eat and to taking part in regular physical activity. Much of the physical frailty attributed to aging is actually the result of 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 aren't very different for older adults than 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 the need for far fewer calories. Older people, in particular, should limit their intake of high-fat foods, sweets, salty food, and alcohol, which contains many calories but few nutrients. Older people 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 to an amazing degree. 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, and to see a doctor before beginning any exercise. For more information about exercise and nutrition, please consult a health care provider.
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