Physical fitness is a benchmark for a healthy, active and engaged lifestyle. This is true for a twenty-year old and it's true for a sixty-year old. For those who start out early in life seeking ways to improve their fitness levels, continuing an exercise program on into middle age and beyond is just a part of living. For those who have reached their later years without an ongoing game plan, the best approach may be somewhat less clear.
If physical fitness is your goal, especially after the age of about 50, there are three key elements everyone should strive for in a well-rounded fitness program. As with every change in diet or activity, it is always best to check with your doctor to get the green light for moving forward. Once clearance is obtained, you should strive for balance in your exercise approach.
Aerobic exercises are probably the easiest place to start, mainly because many aerobic style exercises are a part of everyday life already and may be more fun than more regimented exercise programs. Walking, biking, jogging, swimming and dancing are all aerobic exercises that incorporate basic activities with a healthy lifestyle.
Walk with your dog, your partner or your neighbor. This can be a social time as well as a fitness moment. Increase the length of your walk regularly and add a few hills or stairs to challenge yourself.
The next time you are looking for a date night with your partner, skip the dinner and movie scenario and go dancing. You'll be getting fit and bonding with your partner at the same time.
The second element of fitness is strength training. Yes, that does involve the use of weights or resistance machines. Some people shy away from strength training because weight lifting can seem overwhelming. A popular way to add strength training to a fitness program is with light weights or resistance bands. Resistance bands are fun, interesting and challenging. Find a group class near you or try working out with a DVD in the privacy of your own home. You can build muscle in a fun, new way.
The third element, stretching, is one many people mistakenly overlook because it doesn't always look like exercise. Stretching is critical in a fitness program. It keeps you flexible and lessens the chance of doing joint damage. While reducing the risk of muscle pulls, it helps to soothe your frayed nerves and tense body. So, while stretching may not seem like a valid exercise option, it is really the basis of every successful exercise program. Try yoga for a directed, controlled stretching program. The results will be rewarding. Everyone, at every age, will benefit from working on their fitness levels. Exercise is important but equally important is incorporating the three elements of aerobic exercise, strength training and stretching into a full fitness program that promotes a balanced, healthy lifestyle while protecting the body. Get out there and get moving!
Article From Inter Valley Health Plan