Fitness experts suggest movement well beyond walking as we age

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Walking is a great exercise but fitness experts suggest challenging your body with balance, coordination and mobility exercises to stay healthy as we age. (KABC)

"Just get out and walk" is great advice, but functional training expert Cody Sipe says there is more to it than that in order to be self-sufficient as we age.

"We've got so many systems that are in decline, and it's really your lifestyle choices, especially your exercise habits, that are going to make a true impact on your function as you get older.," said Dr. Cody Sipe of the Functional Aging Institute.

Sipe said think less machines and more movement, more balance, coordination and flexibility.

Use exercise tubing, bars, weights and anything that will mix up your normal daily activity in order to challenge your system and get fluids moving in areas that might be stiff or arthritic.

"Think about playing with your grandchildren as an example -- that's really how you want to think about training, to push yourself to where you feel like you're going to fall, but that's really how you're going to improve your balance," Sipe said.

BOSU master trainer Amy Dixon says creative exercise and balance training is fuel for the brain.

"Balance is all part of it when you think of the neuromuscular connection. Every 65 seconds someone is diagnosed with Alzheimer's," said Dixon.

At a recent fitness convention, Sipe cautioned trainers to re-think how they may view older adults.

"So many fitness professionals discount people because they're 60 or 70, it's like they're over the hill. And our whole message is, 'No, you need to get up and move robustly and vigorously, and that's how you're going to keep people at a high functional level," said Sipe.

He recommends group exercise for those new to trying, as social interaction helps you get out of your shell and move a bit more boldly.

"We're connecting at the same time. We're working on balance, agility, and human connection is so important," said Dixon.
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