It is never to late to commit to an exercise plan. Whether you have been working out all of your life or just starting, exercise not only helps you to age gracefully, it can also help with symptoms of menopause and prevent serious diseases. As you age you are faced with health concerns such as: heart disease, hypertension, muscle and joint pain, bone loss due to menopause, etc. However there are specific workout routines that are designed to help with balance issues, loss of flexibility and muscle loss.
Here are some effective exercises to consider:
Muscles can start to weaken in your 30’s. Using weights is an important way to keep your muscles strong and flexible. Experts recommend that you should train each muscle group as a set (arms, chest, shoulders and legs) and aim for 10 to 15 repetitions per set. “Completing medium-intensity weight lifting three times per week improves overall health,” says Leslie Consitt, PhD, Assistant Professor of Physiology at Ohio University.
Bone density can also start to diminish as early as your mid-30’s. To slow down the clock don’t be afraid to hop, jump, run, skip, squat or climb stairs. A squat jump is a great way to get moving and slow down the loss of bone density. You can modify this movement to your fitness level by reducing the height of the jump and the depth of the squat. First start with 20 seconds of squat jumps, follow with a 10 second recovery time. Try to repeat this cycle for 5 minutes or 10 total sets.
Stretching regularly will help to keep your muscles and joints flexible so that you can continue to have freedom of movement and good posture. The need for flexibility increases as you age because muscles tighten, shorten and become more prone to injury. “Flexibility is the third pillar of fitness, next to cardiovascular conditioning and strength training,” says David Geier, Director of Sports Medicine at the Medical University of South Carolina. Flexibility can help your body reach its optimum fitness level, may play a role in injury prevention and, experts say, it can contribute to staving off arthritis and other serious illnesses.
Yoga and Pilates are ways to incorporate stretching into your fitness routine. Ideally, you should include a flexibility training session into your routine three times a week or 30 minutes, says the American Council on Exercise. The key to increasing flexibility is to hold stretches for at least 10 to 15 seconds. Don’t hold your breath and focus on relaxing the muscles you are stretching on each exhalation.
Cardio can lower your risk of heart disease, decrease cholesterol levels, reduce triglycerides in your blood, lower your risk of osteoporosis and increase your lean muscle mass. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend at least 2 ½ hours of moderate aerobic activity per week. You can spread your exercise over as many days of the week as you like, as long as each session lasts at least 10 minutes.
Cardio is any activity that gets your heart pumping faster and makes you breathe heavier. You can choose to run, speed-walk, swim ski, play tennis, ride a bike, play basketball, etc… it’s totally up to you.
Whatever type of exercise you choose to do, never let your age slow you down. Whether you are 40 or older you can be fit and healthy.
What exercises have you added to your workout regimen?
By: Chantel Alford
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