Fitness for Life
Improving overall lifestyle is a sure way we can turn back the clock. It isn’t easy getting older(I know!), especially if you are used to living an active life. Yes, things get in the way of maintaining a healthy lifestyle – family obligations, work, injuries and overall health, etc. The lifestyles of people who live to 100 are surprisingly similar in many ways. Studies of centenarians show that they are more active, walking more than 5 miles today, eat a vegetable-rich diet, have a strong social network as well as a sense of purpose, and most importantly live in a low stress environment.
Getting in better fitness shape, no matter how old you are, can be a catalyst for living one’s entire life in better health, even in the “Golden Years.” Studies indicate that an inactive older adult can decrease biological age by 10 or more years and gain back 12 years of independent living just by instituting an aerobic exercise program on a consistent basis.
In Harry Gaines’ book: Turn Back the Clock, he states “why-to” rather than “ how-to”. Gaines, 74, is an avid cyclist who weighs the same as he did in his early 30s. He contributes his good health to being consistent with a daily fitness routine. He also points out several other factors that contribute to lifelong health.
Exercise and the brain: New research indicates that by doing aerobic exercise, you can generate new brain cells. This is huge! By adding aerobic exercise on a consistent basis, we lessen the chances for early dementia, Alzheimer’s & Parkinson’s. Train the brain through aerobic exercise – what a no brainer!
Interval training: this is something that I have written about several times and I am personally a big believer. HIT (high intensity training) produces better results in less time than longer aerobic workouts at lower intensities. HIT emphasizes short bouts of activity at a higher intensity (80-90% of maximum heart rate), or to a point that you feel uncomfortable for a short period of time (20-30 seconds), followed by a rest or recovery period. So, when you are doing a cardio workout (walking, running, cycling or on a treadmill), add in a few intervals during your session for better results.
Strength training to fatigue: Lifting light weights with high repetitions are certainly fine to keep and maintain muscle tone. But if your goal to build muscle and grow stronger, you should lift weights to a point of fatigue, not failure since this could evoke injury. This helps break down the muscle cells and the muscles will grow back stronger. Therefore, when lifting weights 10-12 repetitions, be sure you are lifting enough weight that your muscles feel fatigued.
The good news about fitness training is that your body actually starts getting stronger and healthier just hours after you workout. Aerobic exercise increases the number of Mitochondria that use oxygen to produce energy. The more Mitochondria you have, the faster and longer you can sustain an aerobic activity, not to mention the more fat your muscles will burn. Studies have found that about 6 weeks of training will boost Mitochondria by 50-100%.
Realbuzz friends – I hope you know that you are adding quality years to your life every time you work out! Until next week -- Suzanne
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