Morgan Hill Today 2014 03 Spring - Page 66

Over 50… time to turn back the clock! 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. It was only a matter of time, however, before the mistakes of your youth began to take their toll. You might notice a new crick in your back as you carry in the groceries, possibly your jeans seem to tighten a size each year, or perhaps you are concerned with the increasing number of prescriptions accumulating in your medicine cabinet. By the time most people reach the age of 50 or 60 they have accepted the negative effects of aging as a fact of life — one that they have little or no control over. While it is true that we cannot stop the calendar from marching ahead at what seems to be a faster and faster pace, recent studies have shown that we can alter the rate at which our bodies progress through our life cycle. We now have a better understanding of why some people tend to age much faster than others. The good news is that there is a large body of scientific evidence that suggests that we can slow down and even reverse the symptoms of aging. In fact, many of people can be in better health in their 70s than they were in their 50s. Recent studies indicate that between the ages of 30 and 70 many of the symptoms & conditions that were traditionally associated with normal aging are in fact the result of sedentary lifestyles. 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 a 50+ exercise program. As you age you are increasingly more at risk of losing your health, independence, and even life. Eighty-two percent 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. ( 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. A much better health and happiness outlook exists for the men and women who exercise. These people have a proven ability to actually increase bone density and muscle mass. 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. CARDIOVASCULAR exercise 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 60 minutes. Many people who’ve had significant fitness success recommend finding a cardio workout that is fun and will motivate you to keep exercising. Right here in Morgan Hill at the Centennial Recreation Center there are several 50+ classes that will get your heart pumping. STRENGTH TRAINING builds muscle mass, reduces fat, and gives you strength to perform your everyday tasks longer. 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. 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. The Centennial Recreation Center offers complimentary wellness sessions with a qualified wellness coach to help you get started with weight training. The coaches will teach you how to perform the exercises on the machines and get you started on a weight training regime. Like aerobic endurance and muscle strength, FLEXIBILITY provides anti-aging benefits that keep you running like new. The pain and stiffness of aging begins as temporary tensions that become learned habits. But don’t assume that with aging you will automatically lose your flexibility. You can counterbalance the effects of aging so that your physiology is quite a bit younger than your chronology. When you stay flexible, you’ll be able to live with vibrancy, energy, and independence. Yoga is a great way to stay limber. A striking finding in the Yoga Journal study was the rise of the “yoga as medicine” trend: 14 million Americans say that a doctor or therapist has recommended yoga to them. With good reason. “The health benefits of yoga are well documented,” says Christine Geithner, professor of human physiology at Gonzaga University in Spokane, Wash. “It’s a good entry-level activity for older adults.” The good news is that regular exercise incorporated into our lifestyle can improve our heart and respiratory function, lower our blood pressure, increase our strength, improve bone density, improve flexibility, quicken our reaction time, reduce body fat, increase muscle mass, and reduce susceptibility to depression & disease. 66 M O R G A N H I L L T O D A Y S P R I N G 2 0 1 4