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Being Older Does Not Mean You Cannot Benefit From Exercise

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CHAPEL HILL, N.C. — There used to be a time that we thought it was best for older people to take it easy and not exercise. Not anymore. While you still have to take precautions, exercise can be good for you in your 60s, 70s and beyond.

Gayel Holt is almost 74. The former model does aerobics, yoga and tap dancing just about every day of the week.

"I've really always done exercise," she said.

Kuddy Sherman used to be a professional dancer. Now, she shows her moves during jazzercise.

"I don't know what I would be if I wasn't a dancer and I wasn't active at this age," she said.

As part of Active Aging Week, seniors are encourages to exercise. With its low-impact approach, Denise Adams' Simply Lite class is designed for seniors -- everything from the warm up to the cool down.

"It takes longer to warm up and it takes longer to cool down," she said. "It helps with balance. It helps with preventing injury. It helps you stay agile."

Even if you have not exercised before, Adams said now is a good time to start.

"Within a couple months, they look younger. They feel more energetic and they just feel more alive," she said.

The benefits of exercise are not just physical.

"It does more for your outlook on life," Holt said.

"Your mind is also working and that's really important as you get older," Adams said.

Sherman said after all, age is just a number.

"My heroine has always been Katherine Hepburn and she kept everything going as long as she could," she said.

If you are older and just starting an exercise program, experts say it should be tailored to your particular health. It is also important to have your doctor's permission. Experts suggest starting out slowly and gradually build your endurance and intensity.


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