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Top Tips for Getting Fit (If You're Not Much of an Athlete)

from Star Tribune

Your running shoes/tennis racquet/softball glove/high-school sports trophy collection are tucked into the back of some closet, quietly gathering dust. Nowadays your main form of exercise is walking between the couch and the fridge. You're handier with the remote than you are with a racquet.

And yet ... you'd like to be in better shape. Maybe even train in a particular sport. Maybe even compete in the Senior Games. Crazy, right — at your age?

Nope. You're never too old for physical activity, said Mary Frances Visser, a professor of human performance at Mankato State University who researches the effects of exercise on older adults.

"Physiologically there are no real limits," said Visser, an associate editor for the Journal of Aging and Physical Activity. "You're limited by your own physiology in certain ways, but in terms of saying 'Nobody over the age of 60 should ever do X' — that’s nuts."

Aging itself can bring upon a desire for better health, said Gary Westlund, founder and president of Charities Challenge, a nonprofit that sponsors races focusing on health issues.

"It's a very common experience that people, when they get into their 60s and even 70s, one of their motivations is, 'I want to be a better man this year than I was last year,' That includes, of course, 'I want to be healthier, fitter, I want to run faster, row faster," said Westlund, who is certified as a health and fitness specialist by the American College of Sports Medicine. more


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