Exercising With Chronic Conditions

The National Institute for Aging shared that almost anyone, at any age, can do some type of physical activity. You can still exercise even if you have a health condition like heart diseasearthritischronic painhigh blood pressure, or diabetes. In fact, physical activity may help. For most older adults, physical activities like brisk walking, riding a bike, swimming, weightlifting, and gardening are safe, especially if you build up slowly. You may want to talk with your doctor about how your health condition might affect your ability to be active.

Staying physically active: Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias

Researchers are assessing the benefit of exercise to delay mild cognitive impairment (MCI) in older adults and improve brain function in older adults who may be at risk for developing Alzheimer’s disease. Older adults with MCI may be able to safely do more vigorous forms of exercise, similar to older adults without MCI, provided there are no other underlying health concerns.

Being active and getting exercise may help people with Alzheimer’s or other dementia feel better and can help them maintain a healthy weight and have regular toilet and sleep habits. If you are a caregiver, you can exercise together to make it more fun.

Exercising with arthritis

Flexibility exercises such as upper- and lower-body stretching and tai chi can help keep joints moving, relieve stiffness, and give you more freedom of movement for everyday activities.

Strengthening exercises, such as overhead arm raises, will help you maintain or add to your muscle strength to support and protect your joints.

Endurance exercises make the heart and arteries healthier and may lessen swelling in some joints. Try activities that don’t require a lot of weight on your joints, such as swimming and biking.

If you have arthritis, you may need to avoid some types of activity when joints are swollen or inflamed. If you have pain in a specific joint area, for example, you may need to focus on another area for a day or two.

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