Aging and Exercise Tips

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Mid-Life Weight Gain / 'Creeping Obesity'

Many people during their 'mid-life' years experience slow and steady weight gain. This generally comes when least expected, but takes a good few years for the full effects to set it; weight gain. This is actually referred to as 'Creeping Obesity', in which you gain weight slowly over a longer period of time (few years), and all of a sudden realize what's happened not truly recognizing the root cause. Well, that's what i'm about to share.

If there were 4 keywords to exercise, they would be "Eat Less, Move More" (i think i've said this before). When you do the exact opposite (Move Less, Eat More), that's where Creeping Obesity comes from. It is due to people not realizing the fact that they are eating just slightly too much, and not exercising at all or just not enough. With this pattern, it could take you a whole month to gain a pound. But compound that over a few years and one could gain 30-40 pounds...probably not what anyone wants. How do we stop it? Rock the 4 keywords.

One of my clients lost 80 pounds while I worked with her. It took her over a year, but she did it. Often she would get frustrated at why the weight wouldn't come off faster; I would ask "Well, how long did it take to get on?" She fell into Creeping Obesity, and it took her several years before she realized what was happening. Since it was several years, it only made sense that it would take a while to come off. That's why she got my help, and thankfully I was able to encourage her and help her meet her goals.

Don't slack off as you age with your bodies; exercise and eat properly instead. If you " Eat Less (and) Move More", you'll be on a good track to continued great physical fitness and good health.


Aging and your Metabolism

Are they related? Well, yes and no.

People think that because they age they automatically have a slower metabolism than when they were younger. Well yes, your metabolism does slow as you get older, but not for the reasons most believe. It does not just slow because you get older, but instead because you stop moving as much.

Your metabolism works off two main things: genetics and lean muscle mass. If your parents were lethargic/athletic/ping-pong pros, you will be more disposed to lead that kind of life based upon your genetics. Not all people are that way though. The main reason metabolism slows with age is based upon your lean body mass. When you're younger you move more, and as people get older they move less. Therefore the lean body mass of an individual will decrease unless they continue exercising or begin to exercise more. Also, if you have very little lean muscle mass then you will not burn as many calories in a day as someone who has lots of muscle mass.

In closing, if you want to make sure your metabolism doesn't slow as you begin to age then exercise and move to stay in shape, keeping that lean muscle mass in check.

How do I stay motivated to exercise?

Paying Rent on Your Body

The benefits of exercise will show up in the future, while the inconvenience and hard work are felt in the present moment. Because of this delay in reaping the rewards of exercise, it can be tough to stay motivated.

A good way to think about it is to picture the labor of exercise as being rent that you pay for the privilege of occupying your body. You pay rent (or mortgage, or property tax) for the right to keep living in your home, and this seems normal. Using the same logic, you can't expect to keep living in your body for free.

What your body demands in payment, though, isn't measured in dollars. Instead, your body insists on the direct labor of fitness and exercise. If you ignore this rent demand from your body for too long, you will be given an eviction notice much earlier than your lease would have naturally expired!

Can exercise help maintain brain function?

Keep Your Mind Young

Exercise may help keep your mind young. Studies with mice showed that mice that ran on a wheel daily had more newly formed neurons and memory enhancing connections in their brains than sedentary mice. Human studies on aging and exercise have found an association between physical activity and maintenance of cognitive ability in older people.

How much do I need to cut back on workouts as I get older?

Longer Rest

As we reach middle age, it takes longer to recover from injuries and hard workouts. You may want to run every other day, instead of every day, or take two days between workouts instead of one. Be realistic about your exercise. You can keep the quality of your workouts high--just cut the quantity or frequency.

What special exercises should I do as an older person?

Special Considerations

Generally, seniors exercise the same as younger people, but there are a few areas that tend to be weaker in older people and may need more work. One is neck flexibility, so you can see behind you when driving or cycling. Another is grip strength, so you can open jars and hold heavy objects. You've always been independent, and exercise can help you stay that way.

Can I still exercise if my balance is not good?

Exercise Helps Balance

Regular exercise improves balance in older people who have arthritis of the knee. Both aerobic and weight training improved balance in a 1-1/2 year study, while the non-exercising control group saw their balance deteriorate. (Journal of American Geriatrics Society, 2000, 48 (2), 131)

Are people more likely to die during strenuous exertion?

Exercise and Risk of Death

Never mind all those horror stories about collapsing on the treadmill. The risk of middle-aged people dying during exertion (including exercise, heavy yard work, snow shoveling, etc.) is very low: 1 in about 1.5 million sessions. According to aging and exercise studies, risk is lower when the individual exercises regularly.

If I work out will I avoid age-related weight gain?

Working Harder to Stay Slim

Just maintaining fitness is not enough to stop the slow weight gain that happens in middle age, but improving fitness may do it. A 1- minute improvement in treadmill time during an exercise test decreased weight gain by 1.3 pounds in a recent study.

Can any exercise improve concentration ability?

Improving Concentration

Walking at least 45 minutes 3 times a week improves oxygen flow to the brain, and thus improves concentration and reaction time of seniors, according to a recent study in the journal Nature. The study used walking, but other aerobic exercise should work, too.

How can I improve my balance?

Balance Training

Falling can be dangerous for older people, and fear of falling can cause people to restrict their activities. Strength training can help prevent falls. Tai chi and some yoga can improve balance, and there are also specific balance exercises, some using exercise balls. Exercise training is specific so you have to do balance training on your feet. Chair exercises won't do it.

How does a walking program affect longevity?

Walk for Longevity

Older men who walked less than one mile per day were at almost twice the risk of dying as those who walked more than two miles per day, according to a recent study. The more you walk, the better for your longevity, so get started walking now, or start going farther if you do walk.

How can I, as a senior, get fit without formal exercise?

Social Benefits

For many people, their social network contributes to their sense of well being, which is part of good health. Exercising in a group setting can add another facet to the social network, which may be good for retired people who don't get as much social interaction as they used to. Besides group exercise at health clubs, you can find groups through your local parks and recreation department or health clinic. Look for walking or hiking groups, sports teams, or ballroom dancing organizations, all of which can give you good and enjoyable exercise.

Will I lose muscle just because I get older?

Losing Muscle

It is true, as you may have read, that you lose muscle mass with age, but you can slow that loss with weight training. You may even be able to gain muscle, depending on your initial fitness and how hard you work out. Maintaining muscle goes along with maintaining the strength necessary to perform the activities of daily living and stay independent.

Will I get much out of walking if my legs are weak?

Strength First

If you don't work out, or have a job requiring physical labor, you may lose a lot of strength as you get older. (Everybody loses some.) When considering exercise, think about doing some strength training before starting an aerobic exercise program. Many older exercisers can walk faster and farther after strength training because their legs are stronger.

Does exercise help maintain mental ability?

Cognitive Benefits from Exercise

Elderly exercisers have shown cognitive benefits on aging and exercise studies, while non-exercising control subjects have difficulty concentrating and remembering. Exercise, especially aerobic exercise, helps retain or improve mental acuity as we age.

Another way to gain beneficial cognitive benefits from exercise is to really stress the arm/leg/side of the body that is weaker. The more difficult something is to do (not in regards to weight, but in regards to motion), the more the brain has to work to send the proper signals to the muscles to perform the movement properly. This then makes our brain work harder, teaching our brain something new as well as our muscles. This same thinking can be used in daily life; whether you are picking up a hot cup of coffee/tea or opening a door, try and use your opposite arm/hand to perform the motion. This too makes your brain work in conjunction with your muscles, stressing and exercising you cognitively. Wonderful.

Can seniors gain strength on one workout a week?

Workout Frequency

Some research has indicated exercisers over 60 can make gains by working out with weights only once a week. However, it may be difficult for either the body or the mind to learn the exercises with such a regimen. You may be able to maintain your fitness on one workout a week for a while, but it's better to work out two or three times a week to improve your fitness.

Is it worth starting aerobic training in your 60s?

Adapting to Aerobic Exercise

It's never too late to start exercise, though if you are older or deconditioned, you have to start more slowly. There are people running marathons in their 70s and 80s who didn't even start running until they were in their 60s. You don't have to be a marathoner to get benefits such as weight control, lower blood pressure, and improved lipid profile. The important thing is to find an exercise, or exercises, you like to do, and do it consistently.

Should older people exercise on hot days?

Seniors and Heat Injury

Senior athletes are more susceptible to heat injury during exercise because of decreased ability to regulate temperature and feel thirst, as well as the effect of some medications. Excercise can help regulate body temperature, but problems may still arise. Discuss the issue of heat injury during exercise with a sports medicine physician if you think you might be affected.

How do I improve my balance and keep from falling?

Tai Chi for Balance

Tai chi is popular with seniors. It can be done on some level by almost everyone. It can help control blood pressure, as well as improving flexibility and balance. This can prevent falls for seniors, as has been shown by scientific studies. Look for a tai chi class, as it is hard to learn from books or videos, though these can be good for reference.

What pills are best for keeping young?

Anti-aging Without Pills

Many supplements are touted as anti-aging aids as they are supposed to raise levels of certain hormones that are thought to decline with age. These may or may not be effective, and may have side effects. Don't take any such supplements without consulting your doctor. If you want a different approach, try exercise, which raises growth hormone and testosterone, and/or meditation, which increases DHEA. You'll save money, too.

How do I maintain any kind of fitness when I get older?

Fitness Benefits

Aerobic capacity, maximum heart rate, and recovery time all decline with age. The rate of decline can be slowed by exercise training, however. Maintaining fitness contributes greatly to quality of life.

How old is too old to start weight training?

Strength and Muscle

Research on aging and exercise has shown that people in their 90s can improve both strength and muscle mass with weight training. You don't have to wait until you're 90 to start, though. The sooner you get going, the better.

What can I do to avoid hip surgery when I get older?

Stretch Your Hips

Stretching tight hips may help you avoid hip replacement surgery. Chris Verna, in The Complete Idiot's Guide to Healthy Stretching, says some of his clients have had the symptoms, but, with a stretching program, did not have to have the surgery. There's no guarantee, but it's worth a try, and it will help you retain mobility.

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