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Did you know that one of the greatest risk factors for your health as you get older is a sedentary lifestyle?
It’s pretty simple, use it or lose it. No, I’m being serious.
If you do not use your muscles they eventually become smaller and make everyday tasks a little more difficult. Your huge jug of protein will be heavier, it is tougher to open doors, lift packages and even yourself!
Have you ever seen an older person walk hunched over? Trust me that is not by choice. If you do not keep your muscles strong as you age, the mere weight of your body will be too great for your back muscles and will pull you forward. The most frustrating part of this example is that it is easily avoidable.
Numerous studies have shown that even a little resistance (strength) training and exercise can reverse these negative effects. Older adults have literally thrown away their walkers and canes after strengthening their muscles through exercise. Click here to read about the many physical and psychological benefits of exercise.
Exercise and Age
The human body really is an amazing machine. It is incredibly resilient and will allow you to make improvements no matter what age you are. Your body will change due to the principle of adaptation.
If you place your muscles under new stresses they will become stronger and bigger to “adapt” to their new environment. For instant proof just look at the bodybuilders in any gym or go to see some steelworkers at a steel plant.
How Long Does it Take to See Fitness Results?
How long will it take to see results? For almost any exercise program you should begin to feel and see results after about 3-4 weeks.
But keep in mind that if you just go through the motions and don’t push yourself your results will be slow coming.
Exercise is the Best Way to Stave Off the Effects of Aging
Let me tell you something I have never really met anyone who said: “you know I just LOVE to exercise.”
People exercise because they know how great they are going to feel afterward and throughout life. So if you are thinking that you won’t start a program because you don’t like exercise, you now know that you are not alone.
If you’re an older adult or anyone starting an exercise program, the first step is to see your physician. Next, you should come up with a goal. Without a goal or a plan you greatly reduce your chances of success and sticking with it.
The goal could be as simple as improving your balance or flexibility or being able to walk around the block 10 times by the end of the month. Consider getting an elliptical for your home that you can use 30 minutes every day.
Start Small and Progress
If it is a possibility for you, hire a personal trainer or online fitness coach with some experience in training older adults. For some great beginner sample exercises, go look at our workouts category.
If you fall off of the horse for gosh sake get back on!
Whatever you do during this changing process, don’t be too hard on yourself. I’ve seen so many people quit whatever they were working towards because they hit a little bump in the road. There’s an old saying, “Take two step forwards and one step back.” I have never seen this saying proven wrong.
So, to get to the point, if you miss some days on your exercise program or you don’t progress as fast as you think you should, just keep moving, you will get there, I promise!