Staying physically fit may be the most effective method you have available for maintaining your health and independence as you age. Unfortunately, older baby boomers have paid little attention over the years to advances in physical fitness training methods.
Here is an explanation of the three types of fitness necessary to maintain good health.
Be sure to consult with your personal doctor to make sure you are healthy enough to exercise before beginning any fitness program.
Cardio, often referred to as “aerobics”, increases your endurance and strengthens your heart and circulatory system. This type of fitness helps prevent heart attacks and strokes. It also helps to keep weight under control and avoid diseases such as hypertension and diabetes. There are many different types of cardio exercises to choose from, ranging from simply walking through stair climbing machines, elliptical trainers which emulate cross country skiing, exercise bikes and rowing machines up through running. You can also take part in many different types of organized group classes. The key is to choose a type or types of cardio that you enjoy.
If you have been inactive for most of your life, just a few minutes a day of activities such as walking or even gardening can be a great start to your cardio exercise program. As you get in better physical condition, you can exercise longer and harder over time.
Cardio exercises are activities–like walking, jogging, swimming, and raking the yard–that increase your heart rate and breathing for an extended period of time.
Cardio is very good for improving heart health and they also contribute to weight loss by increasing your metabolism.
If you’re just starting a cardio exercise program or you have been inactive for a long time, start your cardio program slowly and build your endurance gradually. It may take months to go from a very long-standing sedentary lifestyle to doing some of the activities suggested here.
You can start with as little as 5 minutes of cardio activities at a time. As your endurance improves, add more time.
In the past, many doctors did not recommend strength training for older patients. However, current research shows that a resistance training program works wonders to help older men maintain muscle and bone mass as they age. Both of these improvements are vital in keeping you independent and self sufficient. If you can, you will want to employ a strength training program which targets all the muscles of your body. However, physical limitations may cause you to have to concentrate on only some of your body’s muscles. Don’t let this limitation stop you from training the muscles that can still benefit.
If you have been inactive for an extended period of time, you may choose to start training with body weight exercises rather than using weights. You can use resistance bands as your strength increases and then work your way toward using more weight. Staying within your capability is very important. An injury at this stage can prove very difficult to recover from.
And this from our friends at AARP
Staying independent is a great incentive for maintaining strength as you age. Carrying groceries, opening jars, hauling mulch—it’s easy to take routine tasks for granted when you can do them easily. Keeping your muscles and bones strong as you age improves your chances of continuing these tasks on your own and reduces your risk of falling.
Another important type of fitness for older men’s health is flexibility. As we age our muscles and tendons tend to tighten up, thus decreasing our range of motion. A decreased range of motion affects our ability to maintain balance and increases the chance of falling and suffering from injuries we may never recover from. You should include stretching and joint range of motion in your fitness program on a regular basis if you want to maintain your independence and mobility as you age.
Baby boomers should not assume that the loss of endurance, strength and flexibility are inevitable effects of aging. Inactivity and not age is the cause of the loss of fitness many older men experience. As you age you should make fitness a priority in your daily schedule. Don’t expect to jump from inactivity to a rigorous exercise program in a hurry. Consult your doctor and take your time. Add more exercise as you get in better shape. The improved quality of your life and health will be worth it.
And from Fox News
Many studies suggest yoga can be effective in relieving stress, calming nerves and promoting heart health by helping to lower blood pressure. Yoga practice urges participants to listen to their bodies, and classes tend to start off slow and build up to full capacity. Special needs can be discussed with the trainer to create custom-made routines to fit your body.
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Arnold Brod, Publisher
Photo Source – nemo