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Fit At Any Age

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Not only is never too late to get fit, but it's even more important to make fitness, healthy eating, and the reduction of stress, a priority as you mature.

NOTE: Mature adults on medications should check with their healthcare professionals to see if their medication might affect their exercising heart rate. If you experience difficulty breathing or chest pains while exercising, stop immediately and consult your healthcare provider.

Strength Training Many of the common complaints associated with the aging process -- joint stiffness, weight gain, fatigue and loss of bone mass, among others - can be prevented by adopting a regular plan of physical fitness. Keeping your muscles conditioned and your heart strong and efficient can offset these minor complaints and may help reduce your risk of more serious conditions, such as hypertension, heart disease and circulatory problems.

Fit muscles

Muscles make you move and support your skeleton. But as you age, muscles and bones tend to lose mass and weaken, which can lead to poor posture and a limited range of motion. To prevent this from happening, it's helpful to do muscular conditioning and flexibility exercises.

Muscles and bones grow stronger by working against progressively increased resistance. The more demand you put on a muscle over a period of time, the larger and stronger it will grow to meet that demand. Exercises such as weight lifting, leg-lifts and standard push-ups are all muscle-strengthening exercises. Like an unused rubber band, unused muscles can become stiff and tight. By gently stretching your muscles throughout the day, you can remain limber and improve your ability to move through a wide range of motions.

Fit heart

Brave Protected Heart As we age, the heart muscle becomes more fatty and less muscular. The insides of the blood vessels narrow, and elastic-like fibers inside the arteries begin to stiffen. To keep your heart in condition, heart-strengthening aerobic exercise is of primary importance. But many mature adults think aerobic exercise involves wearing unflattering leotards or running a four-minute mile. Fortunately, you don't have to do either to condition your heart and lungs. Walking is one of the best cardiovascular conditioners and can be done by almost anyone, regardless of age or physical condition. The key to successful walking is to walk briskly enough to keep your heart beating in its target heart range (THR) for 20 to 30 minutes.

What part does your target heart range play?

Your target heart range (THR) is the safest and most beneficial range of heartbeats per minute during exercise. While many factors, such as your overall health and medical history, can affect your THR, a basic guideline is to subtract your age from 220 and multiply the answer first by .6 for the low end of your target heart range of heartbeats per minutes, and then by .85 for the high end. Remember to start slowly and gradually build up your pace until you can exercise comfortably within your THR for 20 minutes at least three times a week.

Talk Test

Whether or not you check your THR during each workout, adjust your pace so that it's brisk but you're not out of breath. Use the talk test -- always be able to carry on a conversation during cardiovascular conditioning.

Improve your odds of living longer, living better

It's easy to find yourself in a harmful cycle of fatigue, poor eating habits and stressful living. Too much stress affects a good night's sleep, which leads to fatigue. For quick pick-me-ups during the day, you may be turning to fast food and snacks. When it's time to wind down, you may be going for cigarettes, alcohol, sleep aids or recreational drugs.

This may not sound like a prescription for living well, but it's all too familiar to many of us. It's not always easy to choose a healthy lifestyle. Taking control of your life and health means making healthier choices. When you do, you'll see and feel noticeable effects from day one. Remember, the more often you make health-supporting choices, the better you'll feel.

Controlling stress...

  • means taking time for yourself, so you can approach situations with more control.
  • allows you to relax and get more enjoyment out of life.
  • will help you get a good night's sleep.
  • can be done with the help of positive reactions to the inevitable stress in life.
  • can help reduce blood pressure, which in turn makes you less prone to heart disease and stroke.
  • can minimize muscle and back aches and digestive problems.

Eating right...

Healthy Foods

  • helps your digestion.
  • helps you control weight gain.
  • lowers your risk of heart disease and high blood pressure.
  • gives you energy and stamina.
  • helps you ward off certain diseases, including diabetes and cancer.

Regular exercise...

  • can boost your sense of well-being.
  • reduces stress.
  • can help you quit smoking.
  • puts you in charge of your life.
  • helps you control your weight.
  • reduces high blood pressure.
  • gives you energy, strength and endurance.
  • lowers your risk of heart disease, stroke, diabetes and cancer.
  • helps you sleep better.

Avoiding nicotine, caffeine, alcohol and other drugs...

  • reduces tension and sleep problems.
  • helps you improve your nutrition.
  • may be the most positive step you can take for long-term health.
  • reduces the risk of developing certain diseases.
  • can give you the immediate benefits of living life to the fullest.

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Disclaimer: The material on this Web site is not intended to replace advice from your doctor or fitness professional. Please consult with your physician before beginning any fitness program or fat or weight reduction program. FitnessandFreebies.com takes no responsibility for individual results, or any claim made by a third party.