A fit body can’t be bought, but the good news is, women in middle life can build muscle, gain strength, and increase their stamina andflexibility. They can discard one of the common myths of aging: atrophy and crippling are not inevitable.
With the proper exercise plan, the older generation can retard or repel the ravages of disease, aging, and gravity. Fitness for older women is imperative, if we are to believe current T-shirt wisdom: “If you don’t take care of your body, where will you live?”
Exercise, combined with sound nutrition and an upbeat attitude, offers an unbeatable formula for vigor in midlife. After compiling recent research, so great are the benefits of exercise on health, attitude, and longevity, it is safe to say, “Exercise or die.” Unfortunately, not many of us take up the challenge to improve our physical well-being. Data from the Centers for Disease Control shows only 16 percent of women 65 or older exercised regularly in 1990, and this percentage decreases as we age.
In the age of instant – instant oatmeal, instant cash, instant telecommunication – many find it hard to imagine long-term planning for fitness. Instant fitness is not possible, but the rewards of consistent workouts are tremendous.
- Increased Energy: Exercise stretches the lungs, dilates blood vessels, pushes toxins out of our bodies through sweat, mobilizes energy fuels, and allows blood to flow more freely.
- Cardiovascular Conditioning: Exercise strengthens the heart. A fit heart transports oxygen with greater efficiency to all parts of the body, providing more stamina as it maximizes nutrient supply. Because post-menopausal women are at greater risk for heart disease, to further benefit the heart, consult your physician about taking an aspirin daily. This simple practice may cut the risk of heart attack in half.
- Higher Metabolism: Exercise burns fat faster, partly because it increases metabolism, and partly because it builds muscle which burns calories at a faster rate than fat does.
- Increase Brain Function: Dr. Walter M.Bortz II, former president of the Geriatrics Society, believes exercise improves circulation to the brain and stimulates the formation and release of noradrenaline. Brain stimulation results when the brain is bathed with higher levels of noradrenaline.
- Stress Buster: The “worry-hurry” habit leads to stress, and stress is the road to pain, as well as a leading contributor to number one killer, heart disease. Symptoms of stress include feelings of panic, knotted stomach,headache, pounding heart, inability to concentrate, nervous gestures, and insomnia, as well as the feeling that life is out of control. Exercise is an effective stressbuster, re-energizing the body and acting as a safety valve for our roiling internal anxieties.
- Fludity Of Movement: Elastic isn’t just for the middle-aged waistband! As we age, our muscles lose their elasticity. turn cuts down on injury from moving or lifting.
The older you are, the more you have to gain from exercise. All it takes is 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week. If you can only start with five minutes ofwalking, then that’s what you should do. Just like it sounds, you walk out for five minutes, turn around, and walk back. That’s it…10 minutes of walking, and off you go about your day.