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Active seniors can lower their injury risk

Physical activity is one of the key components of a healthy lifestyle. Though physical activity benefits people of all ages, it can be especially helpful for seniors by making it easier for them to overcome some of the obstacles associated with aging. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, physical activity supports dail living activities and independence. That's a significant benefit for seniors who are worried that age-related physical and mental decline might one day compromise their ability to live independently. The CDC also notes that physical activity lowers the risk for early death, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and certain cancers.

It's best for any senior to consult his or her physician prior to beginning a new exercise regimen.

Once doctors give seniors the go-ahead to begin a new workout routine, seniors can take the following steps to reduce their risk for injury.

• Warm up before working out. Prior to beginning a workout, regardless of how moderate- or low-intensity that regimen will be, seniors should warm up for five to 10 minutes.

• Start with a routine that's commensurate with your abilities. Seniors are urged to begin slowly and gradually build up their exercise tolerance.

• Don't skip strength training. The Department of Health & Human Services recommends seniors who have been cleared to exercise engage in strength training at least twice per week.

• Stretch a:er your workout. Harvard Medical School reports that efforts to cool down after a workout, including stretching, can prevent muscle cramps and dizziness and lengthen muscles throughout the body, which improves range of motion. Harvard Medical School recommends holding each stretch for 10 to 30 seconds, as the longer a stretch can be held the more flexible individuals' muscles will be.

Physical activity is an essential component of a healthy lifestyle for seniors.

Active seniors can take various steps to reduce their injury risk so they can continue to reap the rewards of exercising for years to come.

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