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A Tribute: Ruth Bader Ginsburg (and How to Grow Old)

By Sara Butler

Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Photo by Nikki Kahn/The Washington Post via Getty Images

Ruth Bader Ginsburg was a heavyweight. Perhaps not in stature, but in heart and mind.

Up until recently, you could still catch her working out at the Supreme Court private gym, doing strength training and pumping iron even as she battled pancreatic cancer.

Now that we find ourselves Ruth-less, you can find a lot of tributes about her brilliant legal mind, her fight for gender equality, and her busting of glass ceilings. And while I admire her for all of that, I think she deserves some credit for serving as a great role model for senior citizens everywhere -- because 87-year-olds, whether they’re Supreme Court Justices or not, should be in the gym.

At The Joint Chiropractic, we understand that the body was made to move no matter the age. That’s why we want to encourage everyone to get moving. Here are just a few of the ways seniors can benefit from a great exercise plan -- dissent collar optional.

The Benefits of Exercise: Senior Citizen Edition

While exercise is beneficial no matter how much of the calendar is behind you, there are some key benefits to exercising regularly when you’re over 55. These include:

  • Improved function - When seniors exercise regularly, their bodies function more optimally, helping to ward off illness and injury.
  • Disease prevention - The National Institute of Aging says that exercise can help delay the onset of certain chronic conditions in seniors such as cancer, heart disease, stroke, and osteoporosis.
  • Improved stability - One of the things seniors must avoid is falling, which can lead to injury and an overall decline in health. Exercise can improve balance and stability and make falls a lot less common.
  • Improved quality of life - Studies have found that regular exercise for seniors improves their mental health right along with physical fitness. Exercise can help to ward off depression and increase mood as it also helps you to remain living independently.

It’s never too late to start a regular exercise routine in the golden years, an amendment in life that should forevermore be known as Ginsburg-cize!

Turn Back the Clock

While you cannot prevent growing older, you can prevent some of the things that people lose as they age through exercise. Forget expensive health shakes, what you need is movement that targets:

  • Muscle strength
  • Cardiovascular endurance
  • Flexibility
  • Balance

It’s not inevitable that you’ll lose these things as you get older, but it also doesn’t simply stick with you. Becoming inactive is what will lead to their loss, so the solution is simple -- get your body moving like Ruth Bader Ginsburg! But be sure to check with your healthcare provider first to ensure you’re healthy enough to start a new exercise routine.

How Seniors Can Strength Train

You don’t have to pump iron like a Rocky training montage in order to build strength. Instead, lift weights two days a week to target your major muscle groups. Start out with no weights and simply use your own body movements to condition yourself, then use resistance bands or small weights to increase resistance.

If you’ve never done any strength training, then you may want to work with a personal trainer to learn about better form and how to target different muscle groups.

How Seniors Can Build Cardiovascular Endurance

Endurance can decline as you get older so it’s important to do some type of aerobic exercise. Aim for 30 minutes of cardiovascular exercise every day.

Don’t worry, there’s no need to train for a marathon in order to get going. Simply find an activity you like such as biking, walking, swimming, or even tennis and start doing it in small, 10-minute increments every other day, then build up to 30 minutes over several weeks. You’ll be there before you know it!

How Seniors Can Increase Flexibility

Perhaps one of the most important things you should retain as you age is your flexibility. Stretching before and after your planned workouts is a great idea, but you should also add some flexibility exercises into your routine such as tai chi and yoga.

Ruth Bader Ginsburg was small, but she was mighty! She was a role model to millions of women for her professional accomplishments, but she should be a role model to everyone -- male and female -- on how to grow old. Channel her as you take your body through a series of exercises each day to help you feel strong, fit, and maybe just a little bit younger -- and supreme!

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