In St. Augustine, the oldest city in the U.S., there’s a popular tourist attraction dating back a century that purports to be the fountain of youth that Spanish explorer, Ponce de Leon, found soon after he arrived in what is now Florida in 1513.
We now know that St. Augustine was founded on August 28, 1565, on the feast of St Augustine – even before Jamestown or the Plymouth Colony, by a Spanish soldier named Pedro Menéndez de Avilés.
While the Fountain of Youth Archaeological Park does exist in St Augustine, the Timucua Indian stories of drinking from its magical spring waters allowing visitors to maintain their youthful appearance is a centuries-old legend that is a misconception.
Today, many older adults believe they are too old for regular physical activity or exercise. That too is a misconception. According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), inactivity significantly increased with age: 25.4 percent for adults 50-64 years, 26.9 percent for people 65-74 years, and 35.3 percent for people 75 years and older.
Regular physical activity and movement can not only benefit your physical, mental, and social health, it can prevent or improve many chronic conditions, such as heart disease, diabetes, obesity, depression, and some cancers.
Start Slow and Build
If you have experienced a lengthy period of inactivity, it is especially important to start slow and increase your movement and exercises over a period of several weeks. Don’t start with an intense exercise or aerobics session. It is always best to begin your plan by consulting a professional.
With that said, finding an activity you enjoy doing will help you stick with it overall. The most popular activities for adults over 65 are walking and gardening! Movement activity like walking works best with a partner.
Want to keep adding candles to that birthday cake or find your own fountain of youth? A major study, published in March 2020 by the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), found that the more steps that participants over age 40 took, the lower their mortality risk from all causes. Considering factors such as the subjects’ health status, researchers discovered a 51 percent lower mortality risk for those who took 8,000 steps a day, compared with those who took 4,000.
- Increased muscle strength to help prevent falls and maintain your level of independence.
- Research also shows that regular physical activity reduces the risk of dying from coronary diseases as well as helps manage blood pressure.
- Exercises reduce chronic pain and fatigue, especially with conditions like fibromyalgia (widespread muscle pain and tenderness accompanied by fatigue, altered sleep, memory issues, and mood swings).
- A University of Maryland study of people ages 55 to 85, showed that a single session of exercise increased activation in the brain circuits associated with memory.
- Resistance and weight-bearing exercises build and maintain healthy bones, muscles, and joints.
To learn more about how physical activity and movement can be a Fountain of Youth and improve your physical and mental health visit: https://bobalonzi-advanced-rolfer.com/.