Thursday, February 12, 2009

Age - Destroy This Fitness Myth

Myth -- only the young should exercise and as one ages
muscle mass and strength cannot be increased anymore. This
has been negated by various studies in Harvard and other
places. It is plain myth and has no scientific basis.

With aging comes slowing metabolism, accumulation of fat,
clogged arteries, hypertension, thinning bones, sagging
muscles and skin, and a lot of other conditions. Exercise
can slow down the onset of these conditions. So who said
that those beyond 50 should not exercise anymore? In fact,
exercise can slow down or even reverse these unwanted

Regular and age-appropriate exercise can help aging people
retard the onset of various age-related ailments. According
to the American College of Sports Medicine, aerobic or
oxygen enhancing exercise done 15-60 minutes a few days a
week is a great boost to one's health.

The safe maximum heart rate is 220 beats minus your present
age. When you are working out, you should target an increase
of between 60% and 90% of this safe maximum. What
cardiovascular exercises can you do? Brisk walking for 30
minutes or three 10-minute walks per day, mild jumping
jacks, gentle jogging in place, swimming, dancing are some
of these exercises. These exercises ensure a healthy heart
and blood vessels.

Other exercises that strengthen the muscles act to keep it
toned while keeping weight down and blood sugar at
appropriate levels. Exercises that develop balance can help
strengthen the muscles found in the legs, which can better
support the body and reduce the likelihood of falling. This
is good, especially since a good majority of broken hips
among the elderly is a result from the elderly falling.

It is recommended that in order to keep the muscles flexible
for movement and the joints lubricated, the elderly also do
a couple of static and dynamic stretches during their
workouts. This improves their ability to balance themselves,
but also to make it easier for them to move freely. This
will, on the overall, reduce the amount of pain they
experience as they go about their daily activities.

Endurance exercises help keep the heart and lungs healthy as
well as keeping muscles toned, joints moving freely and
other body systems functioning well. A slightly higher
metabolic rate stimulates a variety of organs to produce
needed biochemicals. The human body functions better, longer
when it is subject to mild activity than when sedentary for
long periods.

All these activities help raise the onset age of
osteoporosis and to minimize its effects after it begins.
Non-insulin dependent diabetes mellitus is less likely for
the physically active. Certain forms of heart disease are
less likely for those who exercise moderately later in life.

Many elderly people experience episodes of depression and
low morale because they are left with no family and friends
most of the time. There is evidence that with mild and
regular exercise, these episodes are minimized.

You should consult a physician or trainer (preferably both)
before starting any new exercise program. Begin slowly,
especially if exercise has not been part of your lifestyle.
Build up flexibility, strength and endurance gradually.

If you have a medical condition, be sure to discuss your
plans with a physician and sports expert to develop an
exercise routine appropriate to you.


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