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article imageAge Is Between The Ears: Overcome The Brain And Move That Body

By Nikki Weingartner     Jul 7, 2008 in Health
The vitality of youth is something that many people visualise in terms of physical attributes, lending to the mindset that as we age, we lose muscle mass, mobility and just deteriorate. However, research shows that activity is the fountain of youth.
Sure, to have the body of a 22-year-old would be a dream, especially if the dreamer is in their mid-forties or fifties. Well, that dream is closer to a reality than some might believe in that many facts co-contribute to mobility and muscle tone and is attainable regardless of age.
The common problem for many is that they share a belief system that employs the idea that age somehow limits ones abilities.
To some degree, it may be true in that all 85-year-olds may no longer be able to run the Boston Marathon or fight in the Olympic style Tae-Kwon Do competition rounds but does it mean they are destined to deteriorate and atrophy away?
An article in The New York Times says No.
Fact: Every hour of every day, 330 Americans turn 60.
Fact: By 2030, one in five Americans will be older than 65.
Fact: The number of people over 100 doubles every decade.
Fact: As they age, people lose muscle mass and strength, flexibility and bone.
Fact: The resulting frailty leads to a loss of mobility and independence.
Regular participation in aerobic activity, strength training and flexibility exercise can delay and even prevent frailty that leads to mobility loss and independence loss. Why? Because those activities counter muscle loss which leads to bone loss, stopping the vicious cycle and intervening in the mental road block.
The Director of the John Hancock Center for Physical Activity and Nutrition at Tufts University in Boston, Miriam E. Nelson, said that "with every increasing decade of age, people become less and less active." He also said that the the need for exercise becomes more important, showing that aging Americans are essentially not balanced in what they are doing and what their bodies need.
Many aging Americans are not comfortable with exercise or do not understand how to do it correctly, believing that it can cause them injury or additional pain, especially if they have problems such as arthritis. Yet for many, to add exercise to their daily regime improves overall joint, bone and muscle functioning, reduces pain and reduces the risk of injury.
Even people with chronic health issues and disabilities can modify exercises and find ways to improve on the three core components, greatly improving their overall health. For those with health issues, it is always prudent to consult with their medical physician prior to beginning any exercise program. It is also wise to schedule a few sessions with a trainer tor qualified instructor initially to ensure that proper form is maintained in order to prevent injury.
Starting slow is the key, walking for 30 minutes five days a week and working up to vigorous walks five or more days a week. Other activities in the aerobic range could include non-weight bearing swimming, treadmills or incumbent bike. The key is doing what you like every day for the number of days. Aerobic activity works the heart, lungs and circulation and remember that the five days a week is the minimum recommendation.
Strength training can be done in a gym on varying equipment or at home using resistance bands, dumbbells, exercise ball, wrist and ankle weights or even one's own body weight. The key factor with strength training is that it increases muscle mass and strength, increases balance, reduces risks associated with falls and reduces stress on joints, bones and soft tissues. The recommended schedule for strength training is 2-3 times each week. With practice, a beneficial full-body routine can take 10 minutes to complete.
The final component is flexibility, which includes 10 minutes each day of stretching exercises to keep the muscles moving. Incorporating balance exercises into daily stretching also proves beneficial.
Despite a few modifications, the guidelines set forth by the American College of Sports Medicine recommends that those between 18 and 64 get moving and for those over 64-years-old or who have health issues, make the recommended modifications.
The bottom line, literally, is to get moving to keep it moving. The body will give out if the mind sets the limitation. Age is between the ears.
And remember: scheduling issues are only an excuse why NOT to do it.
More about Exercise, Aging, Longevity
 
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