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10 Things You Should Know About Aging and Fitness

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10 Things You Should Know About Aging and Fitness

Every day, fitness professionals are faced with many questions on topics ranging from aging, weight loss to rehabilitating from pain, injuries, and surgeries. Here are some of the most popular questions people over 50 ask about fitness and aging.

I’m not active and haven’t been in years. Is it safe for me to start now? It’s never too late start and reap the many health benefits of regular exercise, even if you’ve never been very active. Physical activity can help us to live happier, healthier, and more productive lives. Regular cardio exercise, such as walking or swimming strengthens the heart and muscles, boosts energy and endurance. It also helps control blood sugar and cholesterol levels and works as a natural mood elevator. Physical activity can help you stay active and engaged with your family and community. On the other hand, being sedentary raises the risk for developing such serious health conditions as diabetes and heart disease. If you haven’t exercised lately, it’s important to start slowly and build yourself up to the point where you’re moving as quickly as you’d like.

How often should I exercise
Exercise is about what you’re able to enjoy and how much you’re able to tolerate. Thirty minutes of walking, four days a week is a good way to get started. Ideally, you should aim to do at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity per week as well as two days per week of resistance exercises. However, start by doing what you can, and gradually look for ways to do more. If you have not been active for a while, start out slowly.
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I have several medical conditions — Is exercise safe for me?
Exercise is safe and great for almost everyone. In fact, studies show that people with arthritis, high blood pressure, diabetes, or heart disease benefit from regular exercise and physical activity. In some cases, exercise actually can improve some of these conditions. You may want to talk with your doctor about how your health condition might affect your ability to be active. Your doctor may recommend that you start exercising in a medically-supervised setting before you exercise on your own.

What is the best exercise for people over 50?
There is no single best exercise that works for everybody. Some people over 70 can run marathons or compete in triathlons, while others may be more comfortable doing long walks. The most important thing is to do regardless of your age is to avoid inactivity. The specific type of physical activity will always vary from person to person. A good idea is to select activities you enjoy. If possible, mixing up activities that promote stamina, strength, flexibility, and balance is a good idea

How much physical activity do I need?
Start with 5 minutes or whatever you can manage, then gradually work up to 30 minutes a day of cardiovascular exercise most days of the week. You should notice a difference in how you feel within 6-8 weeks. Perform muscle-strengthening exercises twice weekly with at least 24 hours in between sessions. Generally, it is better to spread physical activity out throughout the week with a goal of being active on at least 3-5 days per week. By choosing activities that you enjoy, that are convenient and affordable, you may be able to find a way to be active on almost all days of the week. Try to mix up your physical activity program so you are not doing the same thing every day. If you can, work with a certified personal trainer or attend group strength-training classes.

Should I exercise by myself or sign up for a class? If the treadmill isn’t quite your thing? There’s probably an entire timetable full of fitness classes you can take part in. Group fitness classes are great for people who enjoy company or need accountability; others prefer exercising alone.

How hard should I exercise? 
Each person has its own limits and what is easy for one person might be difficult for another, regardless of age. You should match your activity to your own needs and abilities. Start from where you are and build up from there. Listen to your body. During moderate activity, for instance, you can sense that you are pushing yourself but that you aren’t near your limit. As you become more fit, gradually make your activities more difficult.

I get tired very fast. What is the best physical activity for me? Once you start exercising, you’re likely to have more energy than before. As you do more, you also may notice that you can do things more easily, faster, and for longer than before. Regular, moderate physical activity can help reduce fatigue and even help you manage stress.

Is strength-training a good idea at my age? Strength training later in life has many benefits. As men and women age, their muscle fibers shrink in number and in size, contributing to a loss of strength, balance, and coordination. Older adults who undergo a structured strength-training program have shown to regain lost muscle mass, increase their strength, metabolism, bone density and balance and improve their quality of life.

Am I too old to exercise? You are never too old to exercise! Physical activity has been shown to be of benefit for individuals of all ages including persons as old as ninety and one hundred years of age. You can find a physical activity program that you will enjoy, that will make you feel better, and that will increase your quality of life. No matter what your age, you can find activities that meet your fitness level and needs.

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