Stay active as you age

At age 76, Elaine Graziani of Salem says she makes staying fit a priority, taking advantage of local programs and her natural surroundings.

“I’ve been doing yoga for about 15 years, and right now I take about two classes per week,” she says. “I also live on a big hill and love to walk up and down it about three times a week.”

Kaiser Permanente Dr. Anneliis Juurma explains that walking and yoga are great exercises for the aging adult, and important for joints and overall health.

Besides the basic weekly exercise routines, Graziani says she is all about adventure. When traveling across the United States, and throughout Oregon, Graziani says she loves hiking the trails and kayaking.

“Because I’ve been active for so long, I can honestly say I don’t have lower back pain or any chronic pain,” Graziani says. “I feel exercise keeps my energy levels high and keeps my weight under control. I feel like I can keep up with anything. I do miss cross-country skiing, but feel like I could still do it.”

Juurma says the important thing with regular exercise routines is not getting bored or complacent, and that patients like Graziani are a great example of how staying active can prevent conditions including chronic pain, arthritis and other chronic illness.

Graziani admits day-to-day routines can become boring.

“Sometimes I really lose enthusiasm for lifting weights,” she says. “I can get bored, but I always look for other methods. As I am getting older, I know that exercise is helping me with balance issues. I am disappointed that it happens as you get older but I will do what I need to improve it.”

If you’re looking for programs or exercise groups that will sustain your interest in keeping healthy, try looking for local walking groups in your area or check out exercise videos at your local library.

YouTube has a variety of yoga and other exercise videos and there are often affordable gym memberships offered at local gyms and your community’s YMCA.

(Dr. Anneliis Juurma is a physician with Kaiser Permanente Northwest.)

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