Fit at Any Age

Managing to stay fit at any age presents its own set of hurdles and challenges, particularly in our older years when metabolisms begin to slow down and our muscles, bones and joints aren’t as strong as they once were. Far too many people associate being fit with being skinny, but there are definitive differences between them, and this is never more apparent than during the later years of life when some forms of exercise simply aren’t an option anymore.With age our joints, muscles and bones will inevitably become frailer and thus are more sensitive and prone to injuries than in younger years. Because of things like arthritis and osteoporosis, we may find that are options are limited when it comes to staying fit, but there are still plenty of exercises that one can do in their 50’s and continue to do well into their 80’s or 90’s.

Your 40’s

Although your 40’s are the new 30’s say some, this decade can be difficult and you will likely notice some drastic changes in your body. This is the age when metabolism really starts to decrease and men and women notice their waists expanding for no apparent reason. This decade can also be one that is stressful, and stress causes our bodies to hang on to fat like never before and then store it in the most inopportune places like the belly and thighs.

Your 40’s is when you should be focusing on cardiovascular activities such as brisk walking, bike riding, aerobics and swimming because this is also the time when our risk for heart disease increases. Having and maintaining a healthy heart will help to keep such diseases at bay. Since most are still active and healthy in their 40’s take advantage of this time and engage in at least three cardiovascular exercise regimes per week.

You will also need to pay closer attention to what you are eating. Cutting back on sugar and sodium and increasing your fruit, lean protein and veggies can help you remain fit and healthy.

Your 50’s

For women especially, more changes are to come with this decade because of the onset of menopause. Menopause will also slow down your metabolism and cause your hormones to run rampant. Night sweats can often cause lack of sleep which will automatically make you feel more fatigued, but now more than ever, you need to get as much solid sleep as possible and stay active. Your 50’s are a pivotal time when heart disease rears its ugly head and the elasticity within the skin decreases, which will cause a loss of firmness and an increase in wrinkles.

For your diet it’s important to eat more fiber to regulate the digestive system, eat complex carbohydrates which will vamp up your energy level and also eat more dairy which helps combat osteoporosis. Bones need to be healthy and strong in order to sustain physical activities.

You may notice now that your joints and muscles cause some pain and discomfort where they didn’t before and thus you will need to be more creative when it comes to cardiovascular exercises. The idea of cardio exercise is to increase your heart rate and keep it there, but to not put too much force or pressure on aching body parts.

Swimming, bike riding and walking are all great cardio exercises for those in their 50’s and each can be modified to suit your level of fitness.

Your 60’s

During your 60’s you will likely have to contend with balance and strength issues and will again have to alter your exercises. Because bones and joints are more susceptible to injuries, take caution to not do any exercises that could jeopardize your health or cause you to break bones.

Walking is still a good way to get some cardio but you may not be able to walk for as long or the same distance and that is okay. You should also consider some exercises that help with strengthening core muscles, massaging joints and will help with balance, but are low intensity such as Yoga or Pilates. Both of those will help your muscles remain strong and toned, are moderate or low impact and really help with focus, breathing and balance.

Swimming is another great exercise to burn some calories and work in some cardio as well without over doing it.

Your 70’s

Exercising and staying fit in your 70’s is still possible, but again doctors caution their patients to take it easy. By this point in your life the focus should be more on healthy eating habits and less about cardio exercise because there is a risk of broken or dislocated bones. Dementia is also a common concern at this age so you may be limited if you don’t drive or are forgetful.

But exercise is the one thing that has been proven to combat dementia and Alzheimer’s so if you can manage it, definitely do it. Focus on low impact anaerobic exercises like walking which will keep your heart rate up, but also mix in some exercises that will keep you balanced and maintain your posture.

Swimming is still a good option, as are doing some leg lifts and even lifting some one or two pound weights for toning. Just be sure to not overdo it and listen to your body. If joints and muscles begin to ache stop what you are doing and resume a day or two later.

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Exercise Strengthens The Mind Of An Aging Population

The fitness industry has been preaching exercise to an aging population for better health and
physiology. Recent research has been espousing the benefit of exercise for mental performance as well.
Researchers have long noticed that active seniors suffer less cognitive decline than sedentary ones,
and recent studies suggest that aerobic exercise may make us sharper at any age.”The expression `use it or lose it’ applies both to mind and body,”
— Colin Milner, CEO of The Council on Active Aging

The latest link between exercise and the brain comes from two studies in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
One study based on degrees of walking for exercise of senior men over 70 years of age, discovered that those men who walked
very little had twice the risk of dementia as those who walked more than two miles a day.

A second study showed that women 70 and older who were more physically active scored better on cognitive tests than those
who were less active. Women who walked for at least an hour and a half each week did better on the tests than those who
walked for less than 40 minutes.

Exercise Improves Brain Chemicals

We all know exercise triggers the release of endorphins, morphine-like chemicals that blunt pain and foster relaxation.
We learn from the Institute for Brain Aging and Dementia at the University of California, Irvine that active people of
all age groups are happier than couch potatoes, and less prone to depression and suicide.

That’s because aerobic exercise improves blood circulation and delivers more oxygen to the body and brain.
Strangely, it also causes an array of chemical changes within the brain. It boosts the activity of mood-enhancing
neurotransmitters such as dopamine and serotonin. It increases the production of brain-derived neurotrophic factor, a
chemical that helps neurons multiply and form new connections.

Use It or Lose It

According to the ICAA (The International Council on Active Aging), the studies are a crucial link in the chain of research
on physical activity and aging. CEO Colin Milner told The Orange County Register, “The expression `use it or lose it’ applies
both to mind and body,” he said.

“But it’s also important to remember that if you lose it, you can find it.”
Milner went on to caution how to encourage seniors to exercise by choice of words.
Many seniors view strenuous exercise as
painful. Milner advises, “If we’re to sell our older loved ones on the idea of exercise, we should mention how it can give
them more energy and make them feel empowered so that they can maintain their independence.”

Source: The Orange County Register

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