Primary Care - Advice about Aging: Keep Moving

Aging/walking

The old adage “move it or lose it” could be the international slogan for the aging population.

If you’re "of a certain age," a primary care physician with a focus on aging at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center recommends resolving to begin or increase your physical activity level in some way.

“Physical activity is the only thing we know for sure that works to help preserve function with age,” said Barbara Nicklas, PhD, professor of geriatrics and gerontology at Wake Forest Baptist, who specializes in and conducts research on aging and related aspects such as fitness, physical activity, obesity and nutrition.

Nicklas said older adults may experience more frequent setbacks and barriers, but being able to set manageable and realistic resolutions and separating these into short-term (daily) and long-term (monthly) goals is most effective for achieving consistent habits.

“It is never too late to change one’s habits in order to improve health and quality of life,” she adds. “Older adults can benefit from resolving to make small changes in one or two lifestyle behaviors that are known to enhance well-being.”

Examples of realistic resolutions Nicklas recommends for older adults include: 

  • Join an exercise class that is geared specifically for older adults. Class participation leads to better accountability and increases social contact.
  • Find opportunities for increasing movement throughout daily life. For example, resolve to walk up and down at least one flight of stairs daily, or to carry a grocery basket instead of pushing a cart when possible; or to stand up whenever talking on the telephone.
  • Begin a walking program to gain back or maintain walking endurance. Start by walking as long as you feel comfortable and pain-free, and then add 30 seconds or a minute the next day, and every day thereafter. If you miss a day, or even a week or longer, start again at the level of walking you are comfortable with.

Learn about primary care services at Wake Forest Baptist.

Quick Reference

Primary Care
New Patients

Appointments 336-716-WAKE
Toll-Free 888-716-WAKE

Health-Related Questions

Locally 336-716-2255
Toll-Free 800-446-2255

Find a Doctor Ways to Give

Spotlight

New Era for Stroke Treatment

New Era for Stroke Treatment

Learn how new neurosurgery interventions allow the neurosurgeons at Wake Forest Baptist Health in Winston-Salem, NC treat all kinds of strokes.

Last Updated: 02-17-2014
USNWR 2013-2014Magnet Hospital RecognitionConsumer Choice2014 Best DoctorsJoint Commission Report

Disclaimer: The information on this website is for general informational purposes only and SHOULD NOT be relied upon as a substitute for sound professional medical advice, evaluation or care from your physician or other qualified health care provider.