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Keeping Fit for Life

Posted on June 9, 2020 | No Comments on Keeping Fit for Life

Getting fit—and staying fit—isn’t an impossible dream! Aging is inevitable, but this does not mean you have to start leading a sedentary lifestyle. One of the best anti-aging activities you can do for your body is exercise. For years, it has been widely accepted that we start getting slower, weaker, and more fragile with age. But more recently, this has been proven otherwise by studies on the cellular process of aging and the impressive performances of older athletes.

Your body was meant for movement. You can regain, or even prevent the loss of strength, balance, flexibility and endurance through exercise. Don’t be discouraged if a preexisting chronic illness or frailty is restricting you physically. With proper instruction and guidance, you will be able to engage in a safe workout.

First things first, before starting you should consult your doctor. Let him or her know you are going to begin exercising or increasing your activity level.

Good exercises should include:

Muscle strength
Strength training helps : reverse the decline in muscle mass and bone density. Weight lifting machines are perfect for introducing a senior to exercise, especially since there is significantly lower risk of falling or injury. Free weights and elastic bands can be included once comfortable with machines. You’ll find it easier to carry grocery bags, lift your grandchildren, and climb the stairs. Strength exercises are vital to maintain your ability to function – independently in your home.

How to do it: With just hand weights and a chair, you can perform arm raises, bicep curls, tricep extensions and knee flexions. Start with light weights, but try to use a heavier load each week : to challenge your muscles. You can also mix it up by adopting resistance rubber bands.Three to five times per week is optimal to maintain a strong body that withstands the rigors of daily life as we grow older.

Cardiovascular endurance boost
Endurance training works your heart and lungs so you’ll be able to run errands without tiring easily and at the same time manage your weight. Treadmills can easily be used by seniors, and can actually help with building both cardiovascular fitness and balance, since a rail is there to help. Elliptical trainers and bicycles are also good for cardiovascular endurance, and for beginners, a recumbent bicycle is a great option.

How to do it: Start with five to ten minutes of brisk walking, jogging, swimming, dancing or gardening. When your body becomes conditioned to the routine, shoot for 30 minutes. Or move on to a more rigorous activity such as climbing stairs or biking up hills. If you would rather stay indoors, you can use a rowing machine, treadmill, elliptical trainer or stationary bicycle. Water aerobics is also ideal for older adults, as this reduces stress and strain on the body’s joint. Endurance exercises or activities should be performed at least two times per week.

Balancing act
Balance exercises help prevent injuries from slip- and fall-related accidents. Most are aimed at building lower body strength.

How to do it: Holding onto a chair or table for balance, perform side leg raises and hip flexions to build thigh and hip muscles. Hip extensions are also great for the buttock and lower back muscles. Just add ankle weights as you progress. You can even sneak balance training into your daily routine by walking heel-to-toe or standing and sifting down without using your hands.

Stretching out
Improve your flexibility through stretching exercises. With more freedom of movement, you’ll get to enjoy a wider range of physical activities. If you’re suffering from an injury, this type of workout can also help speed up recovery. While many yoga classes require a degree of balance that can be difficult for seniors, a beginner yoga class is the perfect solution for improving flexibility. In addition, a full body stretch routine can be included after exercise, when the muscles and joints are more warm and pliable.

How to do it: For tricep stretches, hold a towel over your head with your elbow bent. Bring your other arm behind you to tug down on the towel. If you prefer to be lying on your back, do a double hip rotation. With your knees bent together, gently lower your legs to one side. Hold the stretch for 20 seconds. Then repeat the stretch two to three more times. You should not feel any pain. Generally, stretches should feel good. Both should be performed after a strength or endurance workout or a hot bath or shower. Stretch a minimum of twice a week. To increase your flexibility, try stretching at least five days per week. Why not, it feels great!

Bone density
Bone grows stronger in response : to loading and impact. While impact-sprinting on a treadmill may be difficult for seniors, loading of the bones and spinning along the long vertical axis is a very good idea, and can be achieved with exercises such as squats, overhead presses, chest presses, or lunge.

In order to gain the many benefits of regular exercise, including increased energy, weight loss, improved heart health and strong bones, you must like what you are doing.

Remember, it’s never too late to start exercising. So, what are you waiting for? Go get fit!

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