As we age we gain wisdom, but each passing birthday also brings a progressive loss of muscle strength, muscle mass, and aerobic capacity. We’ve known for some time that strength training can help preserve, or even rebuild, muscle mass and strength, but now a new study shows that aerobic activities, like walking, swimming or biking, can also help. Canadian scientists recruited over 70 men and women who were either inactive or highly active from three different age groups: 20-39; 40-64; and 65-86. Researchers put each group through a series of tests, and found that compared to the sedentary adults, those who regularly engaged in aerobic exercise performed better on evaluations of grip and muscle strength. The take home message is: just get moving. While this study doesn’t mean strength training isn’t necessary, it does support the old “move it or lose it” principle, and demonstrates that regularly getting your heart…
I have two cats, and I envy their ability to s-t-r-e-t-c-h oh so luxuriously. A good stretch feels wonderful. But it’s also good for your health. Stretching, and other forms of flexibility training, offer numerous wellness benefits, including: Reducing the overall feeling of stiffness in your body Improving the range of motion of your joints, which allows you to perform everyday activities more easily, such as getting in and out of bed, lifting packages, or bending to tie your shoes Opening up your circulation Improving your posture Stress relief, especially because stretching relaxes tight, tense muscles Improving your balance and coordination Reducing your risk of injuries Helping you stay active as you age Stretching essentially involves carefully and gently elongating your muscles in order to make them more pliable. According to the American College of Sports Medicine, stretching or flexibility activities should be performed at least two or three days…
Once you’ve comfortably settled into a cardio program, when it feels like a normal part of your lifestyle, I highly recommend adding a strength training component to your fitness routine.In a nutshell, strength training involves using a muscle, or more than one muscle, to resist or overcome a force of some kind. To create resistance, you can use a number of things, including: free weights (dumbbells or barbells); resistance bands or balls, or your own body weight (push ups, crunches, etc.).The benefits of strength training are numerous. This important piece of the fitness puzzle: Reduces your risk of developing type 2 diabetes Helps control your blood sugar levels Prevents or manages arthritis Helps control weight by preserving calorie-burning muscle Keeps your bones strong and healthy Reduces low back pain Cuts your chances of falling by improving your strength, balance and coordination Reduces stress Improves sleep better quality Helps you stay…
I am a huge fan of walking. For numerous reasons, I believe it’s a perfect form of exercise (check out this post about the top 10 reasons to fall in love with walking). When I’m out there, moving my feet and swinging my arms, walking doesn’t feel like a chore. In fact, it’s just the opposite. Walking feels natural and, well, for lack of a better word, it just feels right!Walking is also a no hassle form of exercise, because the only “equipment” it requires is a good pair of shoes. If you’re in the market for a new pair, the number of choices can be overwhelming. To streamline your options, consider this simple checklist:Find the most comfortable fit for the length and width of your feet that accommodates your foot’s arch type.Once you find a pair that feels comfy, make sure they give you enough cushioning and allow your…
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