Scientists and health professionals have shown growing proof of the “anti-aging” effects of regular physical activity. Health and wellness experts are increasingly reminding us that exercise is the key to staying young. While aging in seniors brings with it decreasing fitness, regular exercise can help counteract those effects by improving both the longevity and quality of your life.
Moreover, regular physical activity has proven to be our best weapon in the fight against fatal and chronic health conditions such as heart disease and diabetes. The real test becomes finding ways to remain active. This is particularly true in the senior years when wear and tear on the body can make any exercise program a difficult and painful process.
How Do I Get Started?
For most people with little or no exercise experience, the health benefits can start with a simple walking routine. Improved flexibility can happen just by taking a few brisk strolls. However, the perks really start adding up after 2.5 hours per week of moderate physical activity, such as fast paced walking.
As we move past the ages of 50 and 60, our body begins to show a marked decrease in strength, flexibility, and cardiovascular output.
For those of us who want to tap into the fountain of youth through exercise, there are three major fitness markers that we need to focus on.
This is so important and can be improved or regained more quickly than you think! After the age of 60, weakness comes as a result of a decrease in muscle mass and bone density. This effect can be slowed through a resistance-training regimen that involves lifting weights or bodyweight exercises. Resistance training will maintain your muscle mass and increase the density of your bones. In turn, this will allow you to keep or improve upon your newfound strength.
As we age, our muscles can shorten and become less elastic. This effect can be seen in an older person’s gait. As we age our walking stride length shortens, as does our arm-swing. Tightened and shortened upper body muscles also contribute to a slumping back and poor posture.Overall, we tend to lose the mobility of our younger selves. Moving just becomes harder. You can avoid these effects with a simple ten-minute stretching routine that can be performed once daily. Stretching the body’s major muscle groups will help elongate your muscles and increase flexibility.
To ensure proper functioning of your heart, lungs, and circulatory system, you need to increase your heart rate for no less 20 minutes per day. This requires little to no equipment or specialized exercises. It can be as easy as taking a fast walk or going out for a bike ride. All you need to do is get out there and move!
Don’t let the minimum requirements hold you back, though. It is important to note that the health and anti-aging benefits of exercise increase with more physical activity. For those who want to take it to the next level, seek help from a health pro. Together, you can both ensure that exercise is performed safely and without making any existing conditions worse.
How Do I Start?
For most of us, starting a new exercise program can be daunting. Finding exercises for resistance training and stretching can be a long and confusing process. What most people forget is that learning how to exercise in a safe and effective manner requires patience and persistence.
Hiring a personal trainer or visiting a physical therapist can be an excellent way to reap the full benefits of exercise. However, it is important to find professionals who have experience with people in your age group with similar fitness goals. But one thing is for sure: it gets easier with every step!