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Keep Moving Regardless of your Age

It used to be that most people thought exercising was for younger individuals, because it was felt that it wasn't possible for older people to improve their aerobic conditioning, strength, or muscle mass. However, research at major universities has proven those old assumptions to be incorrect. As people age, various changes can occur, including osteoporosis, high blood pressure and other cardiovascular problems, and slowing metabolism, which leads to increased fat accumulation and loss of muscle mass. However, regular, age-appropriate exercise can slow, stop, or even reverse all these changes.

The American College of Sports Medicine suggest 15 to 60 minutes of aerobic exercise three days a week, raising the heartrate to 60-90% of maximum. The basic formula for determining maximum heartrate is to subtract your age from 220. There are countless ways to achieve this recommendation. Some options are brisk walking, jogging, bicycling (either stationary or outside), swimming, machines like elliptical trainers, dance routines, and more. This will keep the lungs and heart healthy in additon to keeping joints in good shape and all body systems functioning on a high level, producing beneficial biochemicals. Our bodies are made to move, regardless of age. We just seem to function better when engaging in moderate exercise as opposed to being sedentary.

Additionally, strength training exercise help keep weight and blood sugar levels in check while maintaining or even increasing muscle mass and tone. Strength traing can be done with machines, free weights, elastic tubing, or bodyweight, to name just a few of the options. Also consider including gentle stretching, which can maintain or increase muscle flexibility and joint lubrication. Furthermore, balance exercises can help strengthen leg muscles in addition to decreasing the likelihood of a fall, which can lessen the chances of being one of the 300,000 people hospitalized each year with a broken hip.

People who engage in regular mild exercise also have a better psychological outlook. Mood is improved and the incidence of depression is lower. Of course, older individuals should consult a doctor before beginning any exercise program, especially if they have not engaged in physical activity recently or have a medical condition. The advice of a certified physical trainer can also be invaluable in getting you off on the right foot. Just be sure to begin gradually, allowing endurance, strength, and flexibility to build up slowly. The old mantra "no pain, no gain" does not apply here.

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