Studies have shown that living a sedentary lifestyle presents a higher risk for heart disease than high cholesterol or even smoking! No matter what your age, whether you are closing in on forty, racing past 50 or 60, or older, you will improve your health and mood by exercising regularly.
“Even nursing home residents in their 80s and 90s became stronger and more independent through exercise.” (“Dedicated to Uncle Gerry Who Stayed”) You will feel better and have much more energy than you did before. (“PCKCC Taylor20”)
Some of us are better than others at sticking to our exercise plans, but the benefits of regular physical activity are too numerous to list here. (“Dedicated to Uncle Gerry Who Stayed”) Regular exercise will keep excess weight off, put calcium in your bones and keep them healthy, keep your cholesterol down, make your metabolism more efficient, and help clean your body of toxins through sweating and regular bowel movements.
“Even better, regular exercise strengthens your heart, lowers your cholesterol, lowers your stress, and helps you to sleep better.” (“Dedicated to Uncle Gerry Who Stayed”) When you are in good physical shape, your risk of diabetes, heart disease, and even some kinds of cancer lower dramatically. It also has been shown to help reduce depression.
Sound good? And you do not have to become a marathon runner or torture yourself through an Arnold Schwarzenegger-style bodybuilding program to enjoy the benefits – just 30 minutes of moderate physical activity several times a week will do the trick. “Just do something – anything to get started, even taking short walks every day.” (“Aging Backwards – bbx.fitness”)
If you have never exercised regularly, or have been sedentary for quite a while, you should have a routine medical check-up before starting any new program (just to be on the safe side!).
Once you have gotten your doctor’s okay – take it slow to begin with! Slow and steady wins the race, as the old saying goes. (“Dokken: Magazine promo triggers memories of dicey moments …”) It is much more effective to start a reasonable program that you will stay with for the long run, rather than racing out of the gate like gangbusters and burning yourself out after a week. Thirty minutes a day is all you need, and it does not even have to be all at one time. Taking the stairs instead of using the elevator, mowing the lawn, even chores around the house, can easily add up to 30 minutes over the course of a day.
Before starting your activity, if it is going to be anything more strenuous than walking, it is a clever idea to spend between 5 and 15 minutes stretching. This gives you more flexibility and ease of movement and decreases your risk of straining your muscles or otherwise injuring yourself. A similar period of stretching after your exercise is useful for cooling yourself down and relaxing.
It is best to vary your exercise routine. Not only is this more beneficial to your health, but you will be also much less likely to injure yourself or get bored. You should be working hard enough that it is difficult to continue a normal conversation at the same time, but you should not be working so hard that you are gasping for every breath.
Also try to find something that you enjoy doing. Obviously, that will make you that much more likely to continue doing it.
Try to mix these three types of exercise: aerobic, strength, and flexibility. (“Types of exercise | Health Information | Bupa UK”) Aerobic exercise helps to strengthen your heart, increases your lung capacity, and improves your blood circulation.
Strength conditioning helps make you stronger and increases your metabolism and bone density. Flexibility exercises, besides helping you to move more easily (obviously!), keep your joints in decent shape and make it less likely that they will be stiff and painful as you get older.
One way to do this is to join your local health club. Then you will have access to a wide range of stationary bicycles, stair steppers, and other aerobic machines. Plus, there are usually qualified trainers on staff who can help you design a personal program that is safe and appropriate for you. But you can also do an amazingly effective exercise program at home, either by yourself or with a friend or spouse. Then the only financial investment you will have been for a pair of decent athletic shoes.
The better condition you are in, the more efficient your body will be at burning fat. So, while you still want to keep healthy dietary habits, if you want to lose weight it will be far more effective if you exercise regularly and eat what you like, rather than starving yourself.
Best Wishes, Coyalita
SEE TOMORROW “How to Stop Aging’
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