Stay Active as You Age for Best Health

When Washington-state resident Gunhild Swanson made her way into the stadium, hundreds of people were on their feet cheering, clapping and screaming to encourage her to keep going. The clock was ticking. She literally had seconds to finish the race before being disqualified.

But it wasn't just any race for this 70-year-old grandma. With just six seconds left on the clock, Swanson crossed the finish line and set a new record as the oldest woman to finish the 100-mile Western States ultramarathon.

Think getting old means you have to hang up your running shoes? Think again. Older adults should aim to exercise at least 150 minutes a week doing aerobic activities like walking, jogging, cycling, dancing, or swimming. You should also perform resistance exercises that strengthen your bones and muscles at least two days a week.

Will you reap the same rewards from exercise as you did when you were younger? Probably not. In a recent study, researchers looked exercise and antioxidant response in young people and older adults. They found that the same level of exercise for people 55 and older did not reduce oxidative stress as well as it did for young adults. But that doesn't mean you adopt a couch-potato lifestyle.

Regular exercise at any age can improve your health, support weight management, help manage a condition, or prevent chronic disease. You don't have to run a marathon, or run 100 miles, but it is important to be active as you age.

Combine regular exercise with a healthy diet, and you'll live longer and improve your quality of life. You may have your favorite family recipes, but taking a break from cooking can be a treat, too. We've created a Senior-Friendly menu made from all-fresh ingredients for older adults that's low in sodium and just the right serving size to satisfy your appetite.