July 23--You're never too old to start a new fitness routine.
The thousands of athletes who are in Northeast Ohio competing in the National
Senior Games provide great examples for sedentary seniors to get active, Dr.
Richard Kratche, medical director for the Cleveland Clinic Twinsburg Family
Health and Surgery Center, said in a recent interview.
The 14th biennial games -- attracting about 11,000 participants ages 50 and
older -- began last week and continue through Aug. 1 in 19 sports at more than
20 venues throughout the region.
The Cleveland Clinic is a sponsor and medical provider for the National Senior
These elite older athletes are in a select group when it comes to staying active
while aging. But all Americans can benefit by embracing exercise regardless of
their age, even if it's just walking 15 minutes a day to start, Kratche said.
"The truth is, it's never too late to start exercising," he said. "Everybody can
start where they're at and gradually work up. The benefits are huge."
Two-thirds of Americans are overweight or obese, resulting in "all kinds of
diseases and maladies," he said.
Sedentary seniors who have significant health conditions and illnesses should
talk with a doctor before getting started, Kratche said.
"That said, you don't really need a doctor's note to walk around a store," he
said. "People can start walking. Literally, if they can only walk five minutes,
the goal is to walk five minutes, but do it every day, and then after a week or
two up it to 10 minutes."
The goal is to build up activity levels and achieve a weekly minimum of 150
minutes of walking at a brisk pace, he said.
Though some types of arthritis are crippling, the most common form
(osteoarthritis) actually benefits from moderate activity to improve range of
motion, he said.
Running tends to be harder on joints than walking, he said. Swimming is another
activity many older patients also can enjoy.
Kratche also recommends people consider exercising with others.
He leads a Walk with a Doc program at 8:30 every Saturday morning in Twinsburg.
It takes place behind Dodge Intermediate School on Ravenna Road from April
through November and at the Twinsburg Recreation Center from December through
Outdoor walks are 2.5 miles, and indoor walks are 3 miles.
"The advantage to walking or exercising with others is the time flies," Kratche
said. "We have these wonderful conversations as you walk."
Athletes of all ages should pay attention to the weather, he said. "When it gets
really hot and humid, hydration becomes even more important."
Stretching also is recommended for all ages before exercising but "probably as
we get older, loosening up and taking time to warm up prior to activities is a
good idea," he said.
"Exercise is so important," he said. "Everybody and anybody can do it. We don't
exercise at our peril.
"Exercise is a wonderful stress reducer, and all of us have stress in our life.
Being able to burn some of that off on a walking path or a pool is a great
benefit. It's just good medicine."
Cheryl Powell can be reached at 330-996-3902 or email@example.com.
Follow Powell on Twitter at twitter.com/abjcherylpowell.
(c)2013 the Akron Beacon Journal (Akron, Ohio)
Visit the Akron Beacon Journal (Akron, Ohio) at www.ohio.com
Distributed by MCT Information Services