Friday, November 29, 2013

Stay Fit and Active and Delay the Effects of Aging

As you approach and go over 40, you can start to feel a difference in your body. Even if you were an athlete all through your younger days, it is inevitable that changes happen in your body that will prevent you from doing things you could. However, you can largely reduce the effect of these changes. You can keep your energy levels, strength and flexibility in good shape enabling you to delay the effects of the aging process. This is because inactivity and poor nutrition actually speed up the aging process.

Some of the first changes you will notice are:

Losing your balance

Getting out of breathe easily

Tightening up of your body

A decline in muscle mass

Weakening and thinning of bone mass

Cartilage, ligaments and tendons becoming less elastic

Understanding why these changes are happening, what your new nutritional needs are, and which kind of physical activity is good for you will help you stay fit without hurting your body.

A sedentary lifestyle is letting your heart become frailer, your joints grow weaker, and your bones and muscles to slowly deteriorate. The body is an amazing creation, and it is incredible how it will respond to any effort you put in to grease your joints and strengthen your muscles. It is never too late to start, and you can actually reverse some of the aging process that has set in by previous inactivity.

Limit the Loss of Balance

Losing your sense of balance is probably one of the earliest things you will notice as you enter your 50s and 60s. There could be several reasons for this including a decrease in your vision, weaker legs, developing poor posture, having a longer reaction time and low blood pressure. All of these conditions can be improved with a healthy diet and regular exercise.

Improve Your Cardiovascular Health

Your heart is a muscle and needs to be exercised just like the muscles in your arms and legs. The longer it goes without being pushed, the harder it will be to push it and continue an activity for any length of time. It doesnt mean you need to try and run ten miles every day or join a high impact aerobics class. You definitely need to adjust your activity to your level. Your aim should just be to make sure your heart gets a little workout at least three times a week.

Improving Bone Density and Muscle Mass

As said on ifeelgood24/7 gym blog, the decline in bone mass is the leading cause of osteoporosis and a reason it is important to keep doing some form of exercise as you grow older.

It is also important that you get enough calcium in your diet and Better Health has an excellent post covering this. When you have a deficiency of calcium, your body will take it from your bones as it is a necessary mineral for your muscles, including your heart, to function properly. Along with an adequate intake of calcium, the most beneficial ways to build and maintain bone density are with weight-bearing and muscle-strengthening exercises.

Beneficial Low Impact Exercises

It is essential to find an exercise routine that you will enjoy. You dont have to go to the gym and do the same routine every day to get the benefits. Do something different every day, and you will find that it will be easier to maintain.

Weight bearing exercises that are easy on the knees and ankles include walking, going up and down stairs, golf, yoga, Tai chi and dancing.

Muscle strengthening exercises are done by lifting weights or doing exercises using your own body weight. Using an elastic exercise band to create a resistance and doing repetitive movements is a popular alternative to traditional weight lifting. A great way to incorporate weight training into your cardio is by strapping weights on to your wrist and ankles as you walk or dance.

A brisk walk that includes going up and down stairs is probably the easiest way to incorporate cardio into your day. However, if you are up to it, joining a low impact aerobics class or a dance class is a fun way to exercise. You can also join a group of friends and go for a bike ride. A bike ride would be beneficial for your balance as well.

Joining a yoga, Pilates or Tai chi class has numerous benefits. These exercises have specific benefits for increasing bone density, muscle mass, balance and improving your posture. The high amount of stretching involved is excellent for keeping your body flexible.

Images from Wikipedia (1, 2, 3)

Stay Fit and Active and Delay the Effects of Aging is a guest blog by Andre Smith.

Andre Smith is a fitness and nutritional enthusiast and an advocate of living a healthy life. His two passions in life are cars and fitness and you may find regular updates and his views about health and fitness industry on his Google+.

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