Ugh! Exercise. Unless you already have the exercise habit, exercise can be the biggest hurdle to healthy aging. How do you get up and get moving when inertia is so powerful? It’s hard to face how out-of-shape we can become so we often just choose to not face it by not exercising.
Get the most benefitfrom every moment you spend working outYet exercise is the easiest way to improve all the aging markers in our body. Muscle mass, metabolism, blood pressure, cholesterol and HDL ratio, percentage of body fat, blood sugar, bone density and many other markers of aging can be improved and in many cases brought down to match numbers of someone 20 or 30 years younger than you through exercise alone. The part you may not realize is that, in most cases, you don’t have to push yourself like an athlete to get to these benefits. Small incremental changes to the amount of your daily movement and exercise often lead to the greatest changes, which in turn allow you make more improvements.
There are three types of exercise you should consider. The first and most important for muscle growth and bone health is Resistance (aka Strengthening) Exercise. These are the “lifting weights” type of exercises. If you have access to a gym, doing a circuit on nautilus or other type of weight machines is a relatively simple, easily measurable form of weight training. But you don’t need to buy a gym membership or purchase a weight machine for resistance training. Resistance bands are relatively cheap, easy to store and use. Hand weights, ankle weights, even a milk jug filled with water can serve as a great weight to move your muscles against.
The next most important exercise is Aerobic (Cardiovascular) Exercise. Aerobic activity uses the large muscles of the body in continuous rhythmic motion and this, in turn, causes the heart to work harder to supply blood and oxygen to the engaged muscles. Aerobic activity is measured by the beats of the heart per minute in a numerical range that is based on your age (we’ll include a chart in our newsletter). If you are out-of-shape, getting your heart to go into your range will take almost no effort. If you stay safely in that range, even doing something slow and small, then over time your heart and circulatory system will become stronger. This is the type of measurable improvement that your fitness goals should work towards.
The third type of exercise is Flexibility Exercise. Stretching, yoga, tai chi or any movement system that moves your body through a wide range-of-motion regularly improves your flexibility. Flexibility exercise is the one exercise you should work on every single day. You should do 5+ minutes of flexibility stretching before aerobic exercise and strength training to avoid injury by warming up the muscles and aim for another 15 minute to an hour of flexibility exercise every day.
Every week in the Feeling Ageless newsletter you will receive tips and strategies on where to find the time to exercse, how to stay motivated, measuring your baseline fitness and setting goals. We’ll cover the latest studies on how to get the most benefit from every minute you spend working out and fun ideas to keep every minute enjoyable. Sign up now to get started now.