How To Keep That Body Fit As it Ages
Think of the body as like an auto engine.
The correct octane fuel, regular servicing and tuning are necessities to achieve maximum performance and reliability.
It is the same with the human body; a good regular diet and attention to fitness will make us perform up to our potential.
It will help us look good and feel good, it becomes easier to do our best in our work and have energy left over to enjoy an active leisure time.
A fit body is better able to cope with stress, mental alertness is increased, and our emotions are easier to keep under control.
There are four basic components or functions of the body that can respond to a fitness regime to improve the quality of life.
- This is the capacity to sustain delivery of oxygen and nutrients to the tissues and remove wastes over a period of time.
Muscular strength and endurance
- The power of a muscle or group of muscles to exert either repeated contractions or a sustained force over a period of time.
- A pliant, supple body with a full range of movement in the joints and muscles.
- The proportion of lean to fat mass.
Exercise helps to obtain an optimal ratio of lean to fat mass. The ratio is a guide to physical fitness and bodily well-being.
The most obvious indication of advancing years common to both sexes is an increase in girth.
Some say that for every inch that the waistline exceeds the chest measurement takes two years of life expectancy.
The causes of an expanding tummy are eating too much and not taking sufficient exercise to burn of the excess of fat and keeping the abdominal muscles from becoming slack.
Slack abdominal muscles and an enlarged stomach adversely affects the proper functioning of the liver, kidneys, pancreas and the stomach itself.
The muscles act as support and protection for these vital organs as well as being involved in the movement of the legs, trunk and lower spine.
80% of all lower back pain is estimated to originate from lack of abdominal strength.
Sitting for extended periods is a major cause of loose abdomens.
The more we sit the less our stomach muscles and other muscle groups have to do so not only do they weaken but our bodies are using less energy so we get fatter and less inclined to expend more energy.
This becomes a vicious circle and the longer it lasts the more damage it is doing to the body and the harder it is to break out from.
So first priority is to keep physically active.
A regular daily walk should not be beyond the ability of all but the disabled and is a good start.
Virtually all outdoor activities require a degree of physical effort and the use of the legs.
Taking part in keep fit classes or dance classes are typical favorites for women whereas men prefer hunting, shooting and fishing, not forgetting hiking, tennis and golf as middle age advances.
Make the effort to engage in vigorous sustained exercise that raises the heart rate at least three times a week.
Hard road work or running on the spot, or whatever makes you breath hard and exerts your body is important but do not drive yourself beyond a sensible limit particularly to start with.
Wait an hour or two after a meal depending on its size, before exercising and if you begin to feel sick or faint stop immediately and rest.
Getting the heart rate up means that you are breathing in more oxygen and the heart is working harder.
Ideally you should keep this type of exercise up for 15-30 minutes, depending on how vigorous the session is, to obtain a significant contribution to cardio-vascular fitness.
Heart rate monitors are widely available and most will have a table of recommended heart rate objectives according to age.
Any form of aerobic exercise undertaken three times a week at the recommended target heart rate will prove of tremendous benefit to all four body components.
To keep old age at bay, start getting fit today!!
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