What Do We Lose as We Get Older but Need to Keep?
Well, there are probably many things we don’t want to have changed as we get older. This first things that come to mind for me are, hair color and smooth skin. I am not willing to give up that dream, but I also know that in order to look healthy, there are certain steps I have to take to stay that way. Listen, I am not talking about improving or looking younger, I am talking about “maintaining.” Here is a list of four things we need to work on maintaining to continue an awesome lifestyle.
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- Brain Functioning
Let’s look at why this is so important and what we can do at a minimum to make this happen. I am serious about “minimum”. I am not talking about joining a health club, or working out for hours a week and missing out on relaxing. I want to feel pretty good and look pretty good.
I am not new to exercise, in fact, in the past, I have been the obsessive exerciser. I know about all the benefits of exercise and want them. So what is stopping me? By making a point of exercising enough to keep what we are losing we may also:
- lose weight
- lower blood pressure
- have more energy
- be in shape to play with grandchildren
- live a healthier life
- relieve stress
- maintain self-esteem
I know none of this information is new, but hopefully, it will be a motivator for those of us who may be in denial or just haven’t gotten to it yet.
We will all lose muscle as we age but it doesn’t have to be that way. Keeping what you have is really important. First, did you know that muscle burn more calories than fat and take up less space in our bodies even when you are sleeping? Muscle just might be the most important out of the five because, without it, I don’t think we have a chance with the other four pieces. Maintaining muscle as we get older is important to balance, endurance, flexibility, and yes even brain functioning.
I have to mention how nice it is to be able to carry your own packages, move things when you want, and to have your clothes fit better.
What can we do that is relatively simple to stay strong?
You can lift weights three times a week, but be sure to start off very slow if this a new activity for you.
I personally like different strengths of exercise bands and have found lots of tutorials online to strengthen muscles from head toe.
You know all about sit-ups, push-ups, squats, etc. The important thing is that you find something that is reasonable and that you will do three- times a week.
If you need help with technique or want to be challenged you may want to consider hiring a personal trainer. For me, that would mean cute exercise clothes and make-up. Maybe later.
Keeping flexible is not that hard to do, and we don’t seem to pay attention to it until we start to lose it, and we do lose it. It is recommended that we do stretching activities two-times a week for about 10 minutes minimum. There are many tutorials online to show you how to correctly stretch your upper body, muscles, your back, and legs. Stretching exercises can help improve range of motion in our joints and also help prevent us from injuries. I know from personal experience that stretching before I go for a walk really makes a difference when my shin splints flare up. Flexibility pays off when trying to just plain move without feeling something hurt. Personally, I can’t wear really tight leggings or pants in public. I like loose pants that I can wear to the grocery store too!
Endurance is basically how long can you last or continue what you are doing without having to quit. Endurance is another one of those things that you don’t recognize losing until you are out of breath keeping up with a child, climbing a flight of stairs, or trying to hurry when late for an appointment. Endurance is where exercises that make your heart stronger- so the exercises are often referred to as “cardio” or aerobic exercise. The good news here is that there are so many to choose from and you can mix and match. No activity stands alone. With endurance exercises, you are also working on building muscle, flexibility, brain health, keeping your bones strong.
Strong bones and muscles become clearly important when you realize you may be at risk for diseases like osteoporosis and osteoarthritis later in life, so get strong now. It is worth our while to take a look at the more popular endurance or cardio exercises you can do without having to be a jogger, go to a gym, or get a personal trainer. All of those things are great, but not necessary for maintaining our health.
Exercising research has determined that 10-Minutes of Exercise can result in awesome health and fitness benefits. All of your activities count toward fitness gains.
In a study done in Honolulu, for men and women who walk less than a mile a day had nearly twice the mortality rate than those who walked two or more miles a week. It also reported that people who walked 30 minutes or more a day had fewer deaths than people who walked less than 30 minutes a day. Be sure to purchase supportive shoes.
I know we have all heard the recommendation to walk 10,000 steps a day. That doesn’t seem like a lot until you try it. Your phone or other devices that keep track of how many steps you take can be fun and help you set personal goals. Research published in PloS ONE found that people who walked the 10,000 steps per day were 46% less likely to die in the following 19 years compared to people who stayed sedentary.
I have heard that swimming is one of the very best exercises to build endurance and improve cardiovascular fitness. This requires a little work. First, you need access to a pool or safe body of water. Second, you have to wear a swimming suit. That does it for me. However, for many people, including my own family members, swimming is their first choice. Swimming puts less stress helps build muscle while protecting your bones and joints. If you have joint problems or other physical limitations, swimming might be just the answer for you.
I love to go bike riding and am determined that this summer I am going to go more often for exercise. There are so many wonderful, safe biking trails around the country. If you have children at home, take them with you. Just being out in nature can make us healthier and feel better. Great for stress. Biking is considered a low-impact exercise that is wonderful for strengthening leg muscles. Be sure to wear a helmet.
Indoor cycling is certainly another option but will require you to go to a gym or have one of your own in your home. Both of those options are perfectly fine!
What happens to memory and mental sharpness as we age? I doubt anyone reading this doesn’t know the answer to that! The problem most of us have is trying to determine if what we can’t remember or find is caused by age, stress, or simply not paying attention. I don’t have an opinion on that.
Researchers have found that thinking and memory loss is less for individuals who are cardiovascularly fit. In another study of people 65 years of age and older, researchers found that the incidence of dementia in individuals who walked three or more times per week was 35% lower than those individuals who walked less than three days per week.
Establish Your Own Exercise Routine
An exercise routine should ideally include 150 minutes of moderate endurance activity into your week. This can include a combination of all the activities we just looked at. Even though this sounds like a lot, the good news is that you can break it down into 10- or 15-minute chunks of exercise two or more times a day. I love this because it makes exercising pretty doable for anyone. I used to think if I didn’t exercise at least 30 straight minutes, I wasn’t getting any benefit. I’m glad that isn’t true any longer!
Have you ever heard that it takes about 21 days of doing something before it starts to be a habit? I guess I believe that. It is widely accepted that when you exercise, your mind is sharper, your self-esteem higher, your sleep deeper, your mood is happier, and your skin rosier. Hmm, I not so sure about the rosy cheeks.
If you are already exercising regularly, good for you. If you want to start exercising but only have a few minutes a day, fine.
I think it would be great if we could all encourage and motivate just one other person to become more active and then ask them to “pass it on”.