Guest Author - Terri Johansen
Recently I joined fellow health and fitness experts in a panel discussion at the local YMCA, held in conjunction with September’s “Healthy Aging Month”. I discussed “Four Elements of Fitness and Aging”. Most of the attendees were older adults and they had many questions regarding exercise. The first thing I told them was, “you are never too old to start exercising, or to try something new.”
In response to their interest I developed a short, Primer on Four Elements of Fitness and Aging, which I will share with you now. Here are four important elements of fitness: Balance, Healthy Bones, Healthy Joints, and Flexibility. Nearly everything you do when exercising overlaps into each of these four areas.
Statistics show that as people age they are more likely to fall. Developing your balance is necessary in order to live safely and independently. You have to exercise your balance to keep it, or to gain it.
Good balance is an important component of health no matter what your age. Starting young can give you a head start as you age. There are many good balance exercises and they can be modified to fit your needs. When you first start practicing balance exercises use a chair or something for support. To learn some good balance exercises click on the link below: Easy Exercise to Improve Your Balance.
Exercise keeps your bones healthy at any age. Approximately 9 million Americans have osteoporosis and many more will develop it. Exercise can not heal osteoporosis but it can stop the progression and reverse it for those who are developing the disease.
In order to build bone density you must do weight-bearing exercise. This is exercise in which you work against gravity by standing. Walking is almost the perfect exercise—it puts stress on some of the larger bones of the body, it builds muscle mass, and it is easy of the joints.
Another way to increase bone density is by working against gravity is by sitting, or lying down, such as in strength training. It is recommended to do strength or resistance training 2-3 times per week, exercising all the major muscle groups.
Non-impact activities are beneficial for strengthening muscles which helps to promote balance and help reduce the risk of a fall. Some examples are: water classes, yoga, Pilates, and Tai Chi. Click on the link below to read, Tai Chi a Gentle Exercise for Everybody, Walking Programs for Beginners, and Exercise Keeps Bones Healthy.
Joints connect your bones holding them together. Without your joints you wouldn’t be able to move, tie our shoes, button a shirt, or even walk. In order to keep your joints healthy you have to keep moving and don’t be afraid of pain. Proper exercise, with no or very little impact, done at moderate intensity should not be painful. Choose your choice of exercise and the intensity level, take it easy and keep in mind that every little bit of movement helps.
Exercise strengthens the muscles around the joints which holds them in place. This can be especially important to sufferers of arthritis, a disease which attacks the joints. Exercise may help you lose weight which is important because the more overweight you are, the more stress is put on your joints. Click the link below to read, Exercise Keeps Joints Healthy.
Flexibility is the measure of the range of motion around a joint. Full range of motion is being able to rotate a joint in any of the directions it is meant to move. For example, the spine moves in 6 directions; bending front to back, bending side to side, and rotating side to side. Without full range of motion those movements would be hindered.
Often we tend to grow shorter as we age, flexibility helps to improve your posture and make you taller. It will improve your coordination and contribute to good balance. Stretching is a way to gain flexibility and can be a very relaxing form of exercise as well as relieve stress. Click on the link below to read, How and Why to Get Flexible.
Our bodies are truly amazing-the way they are connected-the way they move-the uniqueness of each individual. Always check with a medical professional before starting any exercises. Be healthy, be happy!
Helpful Articles for you to read:
Beginners Walking Program
Easy Exercises to Improve Your Balance
Exercise Keeps Bones Healthy
Exercise Keeps Joints Healthy
How and Why to Get Flexible
To Purchase my EBOOK click here: Exercise Basics