It is very normal to take your body for granted, most men and women do. In your youth, you probably neglected and mistreated your body and it never failed you.
A couple of decades ago, you could probably work for 12 hours straight, devour a pizza, and spend the evening in front of the TV and know that your body would be in great condition for a game of tennis that weekend.
However, it was only a matter of time before the mistakes of your past began to take their toll.
If you suspect these are warning signs of more serious problems yet to come, you are right. However, today is a great day to reclaim your health and freedom by beginning an over 50 exercise program.
Exercise Can Save Your Life And Independence
As you age you are increasingly more at risk of losing your health, independence, and even life.
82% of people who die from coronary heart disease are over 50, the average age for men being 64 and for women 70.
Obesity rates are the highest they have ever been and 60% of all obese senior citizens will suffer a critical or fatal illness related to their weight, including uncontrolled diabetes.
Recently, studies have shown that the number of Alzheimer’s and other age related dementia cases have swelled to all time highs.
However, it is not only your body and mind that suffer from poor health. Right now you enjoy the ability to complete basic tasks like grocery shopping and laundry, but every year, you lose 2- 5% of your muscle strength and 2- 3% of your bone density.
After age 70, this decline accelerates. As this deterioration progresses, you will not be able to complete these fundamental tasks and you will lose your independence.
There is a much better health and happiness outlook for the men and women who exercise over 50. These people have a proven ability to actually increase bone density and muscle mass.
Exercise can help you raise your High-Density Lipoproteins, known as “good cholesterol”, and lower your Low-Density Lipoproteins, known as “bad cholesterol”, and your blood pressure.
In addition to improving your cholesterol, it strengthens your heart, lungs, and cardiovascular system. A 30 minute workout each day can cut the risk of heart disease by 40% in women and over 55% in men.
Also, it takes 40 more calories per pound each day to support muscle mass versus fat.
The natural muscle growth that occurs with a good exercise regiment greatly reduces your risks of obesity related problems. Additionally, this muscle growth will give you the strength to function independently well into your 70s or later.
Components Of A Good Exercise Program
Considering that 78%- 90% of retirees and senior citizens lead overly sedentary lifestyles, any exercise over 50 is a great achievement.
However, if you want to ensure your continued health and happiness, then you need to develop a well-rounded exercise program that includes some portion of cardio, strength training, and flexibility workouts.
Everyone has different exercise needs depending on their current health, body style, and fitness goals. Therefore, there is no one exercise plan that will work for you.
However, here are some examples of exercise components that have worked for others.
Cardio is a proven way to fight heart disease and obesity and is a vital exercise for women over 50 and men over 45.
It is also believed that the increased blood flow helps to improve cognitive abilities. The amount and intensity needed for your cardio workout is unique to your body, but most people have had greatest success when they maintain their target heart rate for 30 to 90 minutes.
Your target heart rate is calculated by subtracting your age from 220 and taking 50-70% of that number. If you are just beginning to exercise, your target heart rate will be on the lower end of that range than later when you are more fit.
In today’s tough economy, many people have left pricey gyms and are getting their cardio at home by jogging, swimming, and cycling. The more adventurous get their cardio through rock climbing, rowing, and kick boxing.
Many people who’ve had significant fitness success recommend finding a cardio workout that is fun and will motivate you to keep exercising.
Strength training builds muscle mass, reduces fat, and gives you strength to perform your everyday tasks longer.
Many people devote 90 minutes or more to their strength training routine.
Your body is broken into muscle groups, such as abs, biceps, and back.
The American Heart Association recommends that you perform a minimum of 8 to 10 exercises per muscle group.
Strength training experts typically focus on only one or two muscle groups each day and make sure their entire body has been exercised before beginning a new cycle. The more popular, but intense cycles are 3 and 4 day cycles.
However, 5 and 10 day cycles give you more time to focus on a single body part each day.
Strength training can be done at home or at the gym. At the gym, you will have access to a wide range of weights and press, curl, and rowing machines.
However, many fitness buffs argue that the good old fashioned dumbbells, barbells, and bench presses that you can do at home are just as effective. How you work out and your cycle times will depend on your fitness goals.
Flexibility exercises are often overlooked, but fitness enthusiasts know that they help prevent joint and muscle pain and increase agility to prevent injury from an accidental fall.
Pilates is growing in popularity as a flexibility exercise, but yoga and tai chi are also very effective workouts.
If you are looking for something more fun, you might be surprised to know that some of the world’s best over 50 body builders recommend dancing.
How To Build Your Exercise Program
As you read earlier in this article, every person’s fitness needs vary on their body, lifestyle, and goals.
This is why you will have less success if you follow only one cookie-cutter exercise plan, versus if you incorporate components of several plans to suit your unique needs.
The best way to do this is to study what worked for others. Learn about the methods they used and decide if those methods support your needs and objectives.
The more cases you study, the more you will be able to personally tailor your workout plan to you.
This is why the e-book Fit Over 40 is such a valuable guide. The book is a collection of stories from 52 men and women who have become excellent fitness role models.
In the book, you will read about each person’s unique exercise plan and nutrition. You will also get to learn a little bit about their backgrounds, their personal journey towards becoming healthy, and how they stay motivated.
You can use the unique experiences in these books to prepare for your own journey towards fitness. Within each story you will learn the different cardio, strength training, and flexibility techniques that helped each person succeed.
Study each method and use that information to create your personal exercise program. If you begin a well-researched exercise program tailored to your specific needs, you will be taking the most important steps to ensuring your health and happiness for years to come. Click here to learn more…