Are you beginning to feel old?
Are you experiencing a decline in your physical performance?
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Disuse versus aging
Although aging is a natural biological process, the decrease in functional ability is mostly associated with disuse.
When we fail to do something which we are able to do and which we ought to do, we have become old.
We may not have the power to stop Father Time or control Mother Nature, but we can use exercise to slow down aging, and in some cases, reverse it.
We seem to accept physical decline as a normal part of aging.
The fact is that if we are not involved in some form of physical activity on a daily basis, we will gradually lose our natural abilities, our health, and we will begin to look and feel old.
As the popular adage states, “use it, or lose it.”
The benefits of exercise as we age
Exercise is one of the most effective ways to slow down the aging process and can improve your quality of life at any age.
Including exercise to your daily routine can help you maintain your independence as you age and increase your ability to live a life free of chronic disease, pain and disability.
A well-rounded exercise regime will include both strength training and cardiovascular exercise.
Training with weights will improve both strength and function of the muscles helping you perform daily activities with greater ease.
Bone density and joint function are also improved reducing the risk of debilitating diseases such as osteoporosis and arthritis.
With strength training, flexibility and balance are also enhanced.
This can lessen the possibility of falls and the disability which ensues.
Cardiovascular exercise, though often associated with weight loss, also has the benefit of keeping your heart and lungs healthy and strong. Walking, swimming, dancing and cycling are all excellent examples of this type of exercise.
Increasing physical activity will reduce the risk of diabetes, prevent or lower high blood pressure and improve your psychological health by reducing stress, anxiety, and depression.
Exercise can improve –
- balance, flexibility, and posture
- cardiovascular endurance, muscular strength, and weight management
- bone density and joint function
- cognitive function, psychological health, and sleep
Imagine joining a gym at the age of 80.
This is exactly what a client of mine decided to do! Her motivation – to fit into a dress for her daughter’s wedding.
Now at age 82 she reports all kinds of benefits she has reaped from including exercise into her life.
She feels less tired, can walk faster, can put on her socks without struggling and can even carry her 20 lb bag of kitty litter from her car to her basement without too much effort. Yes, she still drives!
Let’s review the benefits she experienced from adopting exercise.
Not only did she trim her waistline, she felt energized, improved her cardiovascular endurance, became more flexible, and increased her strength.
She often laughs at the fact that she waited till she was 80 to take up exercise.
With her new-found energy she fulfilled a life-long dream of taking a cruise to Tahiti.
She proves that it’s never too late to get started.
WHERE DO YOU BEGIN – 5 ways to help you form the exercise habit
They say that it takes 3 weeks of consistently doing something to form a habit.
All you have to do is simply begin.
As Lao-tzu states,
“A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.”
If you haven’t exercised for some time or you have health concerns, you may want to talk to your doctor before starting a new exercise routine.
1. Start small
Decide today to do at least 15 minutes of exercise.
Fifteen minutes – it CAN be done! It can be as simple as a walk around the park.
Increase that on a weekly basis.
As you experience the exhilarating feeling that follows exercise, you will be back for more.
2. Schedule it
By putting it on a calendar or in your appointment book, it is more likely to get done.
Try training first thing in the morning.
Not only will it energize you for the day but it will leave you with a sense of accomplishment.
Get it done before the day’s distractions begin.
3. Commit to it
Involve a friend. It’s easier to stick to a program knowing that there is someone sharing that experience with you; someone counting on you to be there at the appointed time and place.
You could also purchase a gym membership or enlist in an exercise class.
This creates a financial commitment that may help you take the plunge into fitness.
4. Be prepared
Make sure that you have every needful thing ready ahead of time.
Have enough workout clothes and set them out the night before so that you are always ready to go.
5. Track it
Keep a record of your exercise; it will serve as a system of accountability.
Record the date, the type of exercise, the duration, your body weight and any comments on your progress.
This will help motivate you to keep going.
- Begin today.
- Make that important appointment with yourself.
- Involve a friend.
- Be prepared for your workouts.
- Write down your accomplishment.
- But above all…expect success!
And remember…exercise is the fountain of youth!