Take Control of Your Own Health and Fitness. The good news: More people over 65 are exercising than ever before.

Take Control of Your Own Health and Fitness

Here’s a “good news, bad news” situation.

The good news: More people over 65 are exercising than ever before.

The bad news: The percentage of mature adults who are physically active remains low – so low, in fact, that the US government calls it a “public health concern.”

We couldn’t agree more. We’re doing everything we can to change that here in our community. But we need YOU to make the biggest impact – for yourself and your family.

‘Everyone Has a Role to Play’

 The report from the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is meant for various professionals (including those of us in fitness), government officials, urban planners, and experts in fields like transportation. It’s relevant for people in any country.

It gives information about how to help older adults (defined as 65 and above) reach the recommended 150 minutes or more of moderate-intensity aerobic physical activity and two days of muscle-strengthening physical activity each week.

“Everyone has a role to play” in encouraging older people to exercise, the report says several times.

And while that’s true, it’s no excuse to look for “somebody else” to step up and do the work for you. No one else can be physically active for you.

Taking responsibility for your own health is essential to enjoying life on your own terms for as long as possible – HOWEVER YOU DEFINE IT.

  • For some people, that means being athletic, exercising for fun, and staying in tip-top shape.
  • For others, it means being able to enjoy travel, playing with the grandkids, and other fruits of retirement
  • Millions more just want to move better, feel better and – yes! – look better. Exercise improves all of that.

It’s up to you.

What Do You Need to Get Moving?

By the year 2030, 1 in 5 people will be at least 65. We are more physically active now than in prior decades, before fitness became a part of the culture for everyday people.

If you’re 65 now, chances are you already know that regularly exercise is good for all aspects of your physical, mental and social health.

And with 1 in 8 people in this cohort experiencing AT LEAST ONE chronic health condition, the need for regular exercise is greater now than at any earlier point.

“The benefits of regular physical activity occur throughout life and are essential for healthy aging,” the report says.

Want more?

  • “Physically active older adults live longer on average than inactive older adults.”
  • “Physical activity may allow older adults to live independently longer, be healthier, have better quality of life, and need less medical care.”
  • “As the older adult population is growing, physical activity can also be an important contributing factor in improving population health and reducing health care costs.”

Do you want to avoid or manage obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, dementia, and more?

Then you need to seize responsibility for your health. That means exercising regularly to have the strength, agility and endurance you need to keep living.

There’s no “bad news” to it.

Study Underscores Importance of Sleep and Exercise

If you’re among the statistically few older adults who exercise regularly, congratulations!

Keep it up.

But remember how important it is to get enough sleep, as well, in order to gain the most health benefits from your physical activity.

That’s the message in a new study from Britain funded by both the UK and US governments. It tracked almost 9,000 adults for more than a decade.

“Our study suggests that getting sufficient sleep may be required for us to get the full cognitive benefits of physical activity,” said Dr. Mikaela Bloomberg at University College London. “It shows how important it is to consider sleep and physical activity together when thinking about cognitive health.”

The study found that people with higher levels of activity who also slept between six and eight hours a night had better cognitive function as they matured.

But researchers also discovered that, after 10 years, the highly active people over 50 who slept on average less than six hours a night lost the advantage that exercise provided. They declined faster and had the same cognitive levels as those who didn’t exercise.

“We were surprised that regular physical activity may not always be sufficient to counter the long-term effects of lack of sleep on cognitive health,” Bloomberg said.

We find that regular exercise generally improves sleep. But if you’re struggling with sleep, be sure to talk to your doctor. And… keep moving! You need both regular rest and regular exercise to age optimally.


Healthy Recipe, Mango-Lime Piri Piri Drumsticks

Piri piri is a tangy-sweet hot pepper sauce with African and Portuguese roots often sold in bottles, and for which there are as many recipes as there are barbecue sauce. Lerato Umah-Shaylor, a Nigerian food writer based in the UK, created her own version that’s as nutrient-rich as it is flavorful for her new cookbook, “Africana,” (Amistad, $37.50). This slight adaptation features drumsticks for a summery, easy-to-serve presentation, but thighs or other chicken pieces would work just as well. Serves 4-6. RECIPE HERE – Susan Puckett

Chicken and marinade:

  •  Juice of 2 limes
  • 2 to 3 pounds chicken drumsticks (or thighs, or a combination)
  • 2 teaspoons fine sea salt
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and finely grated

Mango-Lime Piri Piri Sauce:

  •  3 medium mangoes, peeled, stoned, and roughly chopped (about 3 cups)
  • ½ medium yellow onion, peeled and roughly chopped
  • ½ red bell pepper, stemmed, seeded, and chopped
  • 1 scotch bonnet, habanero, or bird’s eye chile, stemmed and seeded (or 2, if you prefer more heat)
  • 2-inch piece of ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil (or more, as needed)
  • Juice of 2 limes and zest of 1 lime
  • 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • Sea salt to taste

For serving:

Chopped fresh cilantro and lime wedges

  1. Marinate the chicken: At least 2 ½ hours before serving, in a large bowl, combine the lime juice, salt, and garlic. Add the chicken and massage into every nook to coat well. Adjust one oven rack in the center of the oven and another rack about 5 inches under the broiler.
  2. Make the Mango-Lime Piri Piri: In the container of a blender or a food processor, combine the mangoes, onion, bell pepper, chile, ginger, garlic, oil, lime juice and zest, paprika, and allspice. Puree to make a smooth sauce, adding a little more oil if too thick. Sprinkle in the thyme and oregano and stir to combine.
  3. Spoon enough of the sauce into the bowl to coat the chicken heavily, reserving the remainder for a side sauce. Cover and refrigerate the chicken or 2 hours or overnight.
  4. In a small saucepan, combine the remaining sauce with the vinegar and cook over medium-low heat for 10 minutes. Season to taste with salt. (Sauce may be stored in a sterilized jar in the refrigerator for up to a month.)
  5. Remove the chicken from the refrigerator about 30 minutes before serving to bring to room temperature. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
  6. Place the chicken on a sheet pan and roast for 15 minutes, brush with some of the piri piri sauce, and continue roasting for 15 minutes longer.
  7. Remove from the oven, preheat the broiler to high, and broil for about 10 minutes, turning the drumsticks halfway through, so they are nicely charred all over.
  8. Brush with a few more tablespoons of the sauce, scatter cilantro over the top, and serve with remaining sauce and lime wedges.

Article Credit Jay Croft, creator and owner of Prime Fit Content.

Susan Puckett is a cookbook author and former food editor of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Follow her at susanpuckett.com.

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