As we grow older, many of us invest a lot of time, thought and money into slowing down the aging process. If you are searching for an all-natural method that will protect your brain, bones and muscles from the effects of aging, the answer could in fact be as simple as incorporating a balanced exercise program into your life.
This form of exercise is essential for heart health. A recent study showed that moderate to high intensity cardiovascular activity, 4 to 5 times per week can significantly improve heart performance and can reduce or even reverse the stiffening effect of an aging heart muscle. Lower intensity cardiovascular exercises like walking can also benefit heart health. Reaching 10,000 steps a day may not be possible for everyone, but aiming for 30 minutes, 5 days a week may be more achievable. Keep in mind that this can be broken up into chunks. For example, walking for 10 minutes, three times a day. Swimming and cycling are also great options for cardiovascular exercise.
Focusing on major muscle groups is a good idea as this is where the decline starts first. Important daily tasks involve pushing, pulling and taking the stairs all require strength. Squats and lunges are great strength training exercises and can be performed in your own home without any equipment. Always ensure you have the correct technique when carrying out any strength or resistance training and consult a professional if you are unsure. Two to three times per week, 10-15 reps for each exercise is a good guideline. HIIT or High Intensity Interval training is a great way to combine strength training and cardiovascular exercise.
Stretching is an important part of any exercise regime and even more so as we get older and more sedentary. Try to include stretching exercises at least twice a week and hold each stretch for 30-60 seconds. Yoga is a great way of building up and maintaining flexibility – try to find a beginner’s class near you.
Focus on core strength
Our core muscles help to support our spine and keep us upright. As we age and often become less active, maintaining a strong core becomes even more important. It helps to ensure we maintain a good posture and can help preventing back problems. Pilates classes as well as exercises using stability balls can help strengthen core and back muscles.
As we grow older and become more unstable on our feet, losing balance and falling are more common. It is therefore very important to work on maintaining our balance. Simple movements like supporting yourself while trying to stand on one leg at a time may help to improve balance.
Remember to keep things simple and fun – enjoying your exercise program will ensure you stick to it and it becomes a normal part of your everyday routine. Regular exercise is a great way to help keep your body strong as you age.