Healthy Aging Part 2 – Exercise
Counteracting the natural changes that occur with aging
Our bodies are always changing. Yes, the rate may vary for different people but ultimately aging is inevitable. The good news is that an effective physical approach can optimize the process. Begin by deciding to promote change that leads to better health and function. As we age, there is a tendency to live smaller and safer lives with smaller expectations of ourselves and life in general. This becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. As activities and actions become more difficult, we tend to shy away from doing them until they are avoided all together. This leads to a decreased level of performance and function. If you don’t use it, you will indeed lose it!
consists of repeated motion (such as brisk walking, hiking, running, dancing, robust swimming or cycling) which increases your heart rate, blood flow and oxygen to tissues. Your heart pumps 5L blood/min at rest, but can reach 25L/min during strenuous exercise. Your cardiovascular system needs time to adapt to handle the increased load safely. Since cardio is usually repetitive movement it is also good for your joints as the movement increases cartilage stimulation and blood flow.
2. Musculoskeletal: Strength and Flexibility.
Don’t lose your muscle mass as you age! Challenging your body, both upper and lower limbs, with resistance style exercise and full ranges of motion will help maintain muscle function and counteract Sarcopenia. Incorporate lifting, pushing, pulling and carrying as a well-rounded approach for your training. Seniors are at an increased risk for falls. As leg muscles weaken, older individuals tend to take a wider stance and smaller steps to maintain balance and minimize risks. A simple exercise is to sit down and stand up 5-10 times before they eat each meal (with adequate protein). This strengthens leg muscles and improves balance.
Moving forward …
1. Assess where you are health-wise with objectivity. Resist being misdirected by thoughts of where you ‘were’, ‘wish’ you were, or think you ‘should be’. Accept the reality of where you are. This is your ‘Place of Strength’ and the perfect starting point to build successfully.
2. Be gentle with yourself. Be patient. Change Takes time! Injuries, pain and restrictions need to be managed properly to promote optimal healing, function and performance. Prevent further cell damage by getting appropriate treatment and direction. At MY RUNNING DR we provide treatment as well as further training guidance for all musculo-skeletal and soft-tissue injury conditions.
3. Positive Change begins with frequent, low intensity activity for a shorter duration of time. As an example, a progressive, consistent 10 minute workout, 6 days a week is more effective in creating change than working hard for 30 minutes twice a week. Your body structures and systems need time to adapt to new activity. Don’t rush the process or force your body with unrealistic expectations. The Adaptive Zone is the amount of physical effort exerted where exercise is firm enough to challenge and make a difference but not hard enough cause tissue damage and injury.
4. Training success: Find a physical exercise you love, with people you enjoy, be consistent, challenge your body and have fun! Striving to be your best health-wise is about more than self actualizing. Be strong and capable so you can have a positive impact on others around you. The rewards are ageless!