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You are never too old to reap the rewards of regular physical activity. It is well established that exercise can assist in lowering weight. There is now mounting evidence that muscle-strengthening exercises such as tai chi or structured physical therapy can help reduce the risk of falling and fracturing bones, improve the ability to live independently and reduce depression. Other research has confirmed that exercise benefits people with coronary artery disease, diabetes and hypertension.
As you age, your body becomes less forgiving, and you'll have to make more of an effort to eat well and stay fit. Ideally, you've been practicing healthy eating habits throughout your life. But most of us don't live in an ideal world, and often we don't pay attention to our health until we reach middle age and beyond. But middle age is still a good time to start thinking about how to stay healthy in your later years. Your nutritional needs are pretty much the same at 40, 50, 60 and beyond as they were when you were younger — with some minor variations.
Like the rest of your body, your brain needs exercise to keep fit. Most research on brain health shows that certain behaviors are associated with beneficial results. For example, it appears that people who do crossword puzzles have better memories. But scientists can't prove that doing crossword puzzles is responsible. People who do puzzles might have better memories because of other habits or their genetics. Still, it's worth doing all you can to stay clear-headed, incisive, clever and quick.
A little foresight can help minimize the risk of a number of diseases and complications as you age. Routine screenings exist for cholesterol, high blood pressure and certain cancers. Plus there are a number of vaccines your doctor may recommend for your age and condition, including those to help prevent shingles, pneumonia and the flu.
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