Exercise for Health and Longevity

HB Treatments

INFORMATION AND SECTIONS IN THIS ARTICLE
  • How Exercise Helps Combat the Physical Effects of Ageing
  • Planning your exercise programme. How much? What kind is best for you?
  • Important Points to remember
  • What is fitness?
  • Determining your fitness level and heart rate
  • Is walking your workout? Tips on walking:
    After age thirty, each of us experiences a decline in functional capacity of 0.75 percent to 1.0 percent per year. However, exercise is an intervention that will help maintain and enhance functional ability as chronological age increases. Without exercise, however, the ageing process can take a terrible toll, most especially for those whose lifestyles can be considered “sedentary.” A sedentary lifestyle only places extra strain on your body, increasing risk for cardiovascular problems, cancer diabetes, and many other diseases.

  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Chest pain or tightness
  • Excessive fatigue during or after exercise
  • Pain in the neck or jaw area
  • Shortness of breath
  • Severe, unrelenting pain in muscles and joints
  • Dizziness or faintness

WHAT IS FITNESS?

There are many components of physical fitness. Health-related components include cardiovascular endurance, muscular strength and endurance, muscular flexibility, and body composition. Skill-related components include agility, balance, coordination, power, reaction time and speed. It is very important to gradually work on all of these areas in order to achieve the anti-ageing benefits of exercise as well as all around physical conditioning. There are different types of exercise, each of which brings its own benefits, each with its own demands. Therefore, as you begin your exercise programme, it is important that you experiment with different ways of moving, different types of exercise.

The Six Aspects of Fitness 1.Endurance and cardio-respiratory function: brisk walking, hiking, jogging, running, bicycling, aerobics classes, cross-country skiing, swimming, rowing, and jumping on a trampoline. 2.Strength and muscular development: weight training, sprinting, swimming, rowing, tennis, yoga, isometrics, martial arts, squash, and basketball.
3.Speed and reaction time: sprinting, tennis, Ping-Pong, racquetball, baseball, handball, martial arts, Frisbee throwing and football.
4.Coordination and balance: dancing, golf, squash, sailing, tennis, jumping on a trampoline, bowling, horseback riding, baseball, tai chi, basketball, football, badminton, billiards, skating martial arts, and yoga
5.Flexibility: dancing, stretching, tai chi, meditation and yoga 6.Neuromuscular relaxation: gardening, golf, Frisbee throwing, kite flying, martial arts, tai chi, and yoga
Find a way of working different types of physical activity into your week, as well as choosing an exercise that affords more than one fitness benefit. For example, you might jog or walk briskly four times a week for a half hour, followed by a session of light, strength-oriented weight training. On the weekend you might go dancing, throw around a Frisbee, or play a game of golf.
Swimming and other water exercises are excellent starters because they don’t place a lot of stress on the joints. Similarly, stationary cycling places less stress on the joints than other activities and is recommended for beginners over outdoor cycling because of the hazards of the road. You’ll see that many exercises contribute toward two or three different aspects of fitness.
Alternatively, try combining different exercises for even better all over body conditioning. For example, if your favorite exercise if jogging, try something completely different like yoga to trigger head-to-toe relaxation. Do both workouts and you get the yin and the yang (opposites) of exercise benefits: a strong heart and a limber body combined with a calmer outlook. Another combination might be to look on popular hobbies such as gardening and bicycling as part of your workout. The options are so endless that you could literally turn the great outdoors into your own personal gymnasium.

DETERMINING YOUR LEVEL OF FITNESS AND HEART RATE

Before beginning a regular exercise programme, we recommend the following tests to determine your level of fitness and heart rate. However, if you’re over age thirty-five, haven’t exercised for a year or more, or have any type of heart trouble, be sure to consult your physician before giving yourself this test.

Test #1: The Step Test

1.find or build a step that is eight inches high.
2.Practice until you can step up and then down with each foot—two “up down” cycles—in five seconds. (You might want a partner to help time you.)
3.For three minutes, step up and down with alternate feet, at a rate of two cycles per five seconds. Then wait thirty seconds and take your pulse for thirty seconds.

4.Check the following table to find out how to rate yourself.

Classification Age 20-29 30-39 40-49 50-59
Men Number of beats/30 seconds
Excellent 34-36 35-38 37-39 37-40
Good 37-40 39-41 40-42 41-43
Average 41-42 42-43 43-44 44-45
Fair 43-47 44-47 45-49 46-49
Poor 48-59 48-59 50-60 50-62
Women Number of beats/30 seconds
Excellent 39-42 39-42 41-43 41-44
Good 43-44 43-45 44-45 45-47
Average 45-46 46-47 46-47 48-49
Fair 47-52 48-53 48-54 50-55
Poor 53-66 54-66 55-67 56-66
Score Poor or Fair: You are at increased risk for cardiovascular disease and need an aerobic exercise programme. Find the exercise that best fits your lifestyle or seek out a personal trainer. Remember; always start at a beginning level. Average: You need to exercise more regularly to gain the full anti-ageing benefits. Make sure you exercise for at least twenty minutes a day three times a week.

Good: you are in good shape, but there is still room for improvement. Increase the intensity or duration of your aerobic workouts.

Excellent: Congratulations! You’re in the top of your class based on age range. Your time is best spent focusing on body contouring and increasing your flexibility and balance. There is always room for improvement.

Test #2: Determine Your Target Heart Rate Generally, you should aim for raising your heart rate during exercise to about 70 to 85 percent of its maximum capacity. Subtract your age from 220 and multiply the result by.70 (or 70 percent), then also multiply the result by .85 (85 percent). This is your target heart rate zone, which will give you the greatest benefits available while not straining your heart or depleting the life energy necessary for maintaining your system. For example, if you are forty years old, your maximum rate is 220 minus 40, which equals, 180. Your target heart rate zone, then, is 70 to 85 percent of 180, or 126 to 153. Approximate Target Heart Rate Zones by Age Age Beats Per Minute Age Beats perMinute 20 140-170 50 119-145 25 137-166 55 116-140 30 133-166 60 112-136 35 130-157 65 109-132 40 126-153 70 105-128 45 126-153

Approximate Target Heart Rate Zones by Age

Age Beats Per Minute Age Beats Per Minute50-59
20 140-170 50 119-145
25 137-166 55 116-140
30 133-166 60 112-136
35 130-157 65 109-132
40 126-153 70 105-128
45 126-153
You should aim for raising your heart to its target rate and keeping it there for thirty minutes at a time, for a minimum of about two hours a week. In other words, you’re looking for four half-hour sessions of vigorous exercise per week.

IS WALKING YOUR WORKOUT? TIPS ON WALKING

Walking is an excellent exercise in itself. It not only improves health and aerobic fitness, but is also one of the safest ways to exercise. Studies have shown that walking decreases risk of coronary heart disease by raising HDL cholesterol levels and increases maximal oxygen consumption. It is the perfect initial step for the beginning exerciser, which can eventually lead to other higher endurance exercises. Don’t underestimate the power of walking though, as very fast walking can actually be more beneficial aerobically than jogging or slow running at the same speed.

1. Try to walk at least once every day

2. Walk to your favorite music. Many studies have shown that when people exercise to music, they exercise harder, longer, and better.

3. Walk faster, farther, and more frequently, and those extra calories will start to burn off.

4. Walk wherever and whenever you can. Don’t sit when you can stand or walk around.

5. Keep a walking journal. Jot down not only what you eat, but also each mile you walk. This will help you chart your progress and give you an idea of how many calories you are using.

6. Set goals for yourself, both short and long term. Goals give us something to shoot for and keep our motivation high.

7. Reward yourself with non-food rewards for making these goals—a new piece of clothing for a small goal, or a weekend trip when you complete a long term goal.

8. Walk with a friend. The support is not only comforting, but it also helps people stay focused and motivated.

9. Practice moderation. Exercise should be enjoyable, not an obsession. If you can’t walk one day, don’t punish yourself. There’s always tomorrow.

10. Practice positive thinking during your walks. Use walking time as personal time for yourself. Meditate. Think about how good you feel when you exercise, and about how much healthier you are mentally and physically. You’ll end your walk with a positive and upbeat attitude

More and more, scientists are finding that an adequate exercise programme coupled with a healthy diet, can help you to recapture your youthful vitality by slowing or reversing many of the physiological changes that are associated with ageing.
People who are physically fit, eat a healthy, balanced diet, and take nutritional supplements can measure out to be ten to twenty years biologically younger than their chronological age, which means that their body systems, organs and metabolism function younger.

HOW EXERCISE HELPS COMBAT THE PHYSICAL EFFECTS OF AGEING

EXERCISE AND THE AGEING METABOLISM

An ageing metabolism is less able to use fatty acids properly, thus burdening your body systems, depressing your immune system, and possibly leading to atherosclerosis. Exercise uses fatty acids for 80 percent of the calories needed to complete an activity, essentially converting them to energy.

AGEING AND MUSCLE STRENGTH

Not only does ageing result in a reduced ability to function physically, but also the less muscle you have, the less energy you burn while you’re resting (your metabolic rate). Therefore, as your metabolic rate and your activity level go down, you need fewer and fewer calories to maintain your body weight. But most people don’t decrease their calorie intake to match their declining needs. They just buy new clothing when they gain weight.

AGEING AND BONE MASS

At age 35 there is also a decline in total bone mass of up to 1 percent per year. Women going through menopause may begin to lose their bone density at an even higher rate of up to 3 percent per year. With low bone density, there is an increased risk of breakage and of developing osteoporosis. Victims of osteoporosis have brittle, porous bones that fracture easily and can result in such deformities as the curved spine, known as a “dowager’s hump”. These conditions are not only debilitating but can also be fatal. Weight-bearing exercise is the key to building maximum bone mass before age forty and in retarding the gradual loss of bone mass after age forty.

AGEING AND FLEXIBILITY Flexibility is yet another factor that diminishes with age. Older people are more prone to stiffness and orthopedic injury than younger people because of physical inactivity. Over time, muscles become stiffer and joints degenerate, producing less joint-lubricating synovial fluid. Connective tissues gradually lose their elasticity and muscle fibers shorten. This loss in flexibility can make common daily tasks, such as bending over, a chore and fool the mind and body into thinking that it is unable to embark on any exercise. However, about eighty percent of all lower back pain results from poorly conditioned muscles. A simple exercise programme can help strengthen the back and eliminate most of these pains, even after a few weeks. By strengthening these joints and muscles, you may eventually be able to participate in other activities and reduce your risk of injury.

BENEFITS OF EXERCISE FOR MENTAL ACUITY AND HEALTH

Recent studies have shown that exercise may also fight mental ageing as well as physical ageing. Tests revealed that highly aerobically fit adults tend to have higher cognitive abilities than sedentary people who are not particularly fit; they seem to process information more quickly and more easily than their inactive counterparts. Researchers speculate that this is because exercise has a beneficial effect on the circulation of blood to the brain, on certain brain chemicals, on the neuroendocrine system (involved in information processing), and on the ability to get restorative sleep.

Because exercise helps normalize brain chemistry and restore mental equilibrium, studies are pointing to regular physical activity as an effective alternative or counterpart to psychotherapy for people who suffer from mild to moderate depression. And unlike many medications, exercise delivers positive side effects. Physical activity calms the nerves of people who feel anxious and agitated, and invigorates those who feel lethargic and tired. It can also improve appetite for people who don’t feel like eating, and reduce food cravings in those prone to overeating.

EXERCISE AND DIETING According to the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, exercising while you diet, not only improves your mood and self-confidence, but also may actually help you stick to you regimen. Researchers found that obese women who exercise forty-five minutes per day; three times per week during a twelve-week diet, programme lost an average of 19.3 pounds of fat, while non-exercisers only lost an average of 13.4 pound of fat. Those who exercised also reported reductions in anxiety and depression, and an increase in positive feelings.

USE IT OR LOSE IT

As studies have shown again and again, older people begin to lose certain physical and mental abilities because they are not using them. In fact, scientists believe that the decline in strength and muscular endurance is due more to disuse of the neuromuscular system than to ageing. Small, gradual decreases in strength take place because of a loss in muscle fiber until about age sixty, when a more marked decline occurs. Yet, elderly people who are put on a programme of strength training, produce increases in strength, and suffer a loss of strength with age that is considered “hardly noticeable.”

PLANNING YOUR EXERCISE PROGRAMME

HOW MUCH?

WHAT KIND IS BEST FOR YOU?

FITTING IT IN YOUR SHCEDULE AND LIFE STYLE

When you think about exercise that will prolong life and health, your goal should be to find vigorous, demanding physical activity—but not overly intense, highly competitive, or physically abusive patterns of exercise, which can create negative stress, generate excess adrenaline, or divert energy from the body’s normal maintenance processes.

Vigorous exercise creates lactic acid, which can greatly benefit the heart, as well as bind and remove toxic metals that accumulate in our bodies. Excess lactic acid, however, can also make our muscles stiff and sore. Therefore, our goal in exercise, as in all aspects of anti-ageing is balance—enough exercise to win the enormous benefits to your health, but not so much as to put undue strain on our bodies or our spirits.

If you’re a sedentary person, any regular exercise of moderate intensity even if it’s gardening, or climbing the stairs—will allow you to live longer. Even if you’re sixty or seventy, it’s important to realise that it’s never too late.

You don’t have to carve out a big block of time to exercise. People who have busy schedules often have to exercise intermittently. Aim for 30 minutes or more of exercise most days of the week. This can be done all at once or accumulated through the day---for example, a 10-minute walk in the morning, 10 minutes of climbing stairs in the afternoon and another 10 minute walk after dinner. The Journal of the American Medical Association lists brisk walking, cycling, swimming or calisthenics, racket sports, golf (if you pull your cart or carry your clubs), housecleaning and raking leaves as some of the options of moderate-intensity physical activities. Thirty minutes a day of exercise is what is recommended for a significant improvement in life expectancy.

Be creative. Although certain conditions may prevent you from doing certain activities, almost everyone can participate in some form of physical activity. For example, if you have arthritis, you may do well with pool or water exercise. And exercise can include many common household chores and lifestyle activities, such as walking the dog, washing the car or raking the yard. Talk with your doctor about what will work best for you.

It takes twelve weeks of regular exercise to become “fit”—meaning that your oxygen capacity has improved. However, it only takes one brisk walk, to improve your health. That is, to lower indicators such as blood pressure, blood sugar, and triglycerides. Exercise reduces the risk for stroke, lowers LDL cholesterol and raises HDL, cholesterol, lowers the risk for sleep disorders improves mood, boosts creativity, preserves mental acuity, and maintains muscular strength, flexibility and balance Regular stimulation of the immune system may have a cumulative effect.
Remember, even if you were once physically active in your younger years; if you’re not currently engaged in a physical activity programme on a regular basis, your body is not receiving the innumerable health- related benefits of exercise.

IF WALKING IS YOUR PREFERERED FORM OF EXERCISE, SEE THE SECTION WITH TIPS ON WALKING AT THE END OF THIS ARTICLE.

IMPORTANT POINTS TO REMEMBER

Consider a checkup first: When pursuing any kind of physical fitness, always obtain medical clearance from your doctor, especially if you have preexisting cardiovascular disease or cardiac problems, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (emphysema, asthma, chronic bronchitis), uncontrolled diabetes, osteoporosis, or arthritis. Always start out slowly and increase your level of exercise gradually. You should never feel any strange discomfort. It’s also a good idea, especially for those with osteoporosis or arthritis, to exercise on a mat or padded floor to protect against serious injury.

Start slowly, work up gradually, and pace yourself: Try not to overdo it -- exercising too long or too intensely -- when starting out. When you feel stronger, gradually increase the amount or intensity of your exercise. To determine your level of vigor, try talking while exercising. If you’re so out of breath that you can’t talk, you’re working too hard. Slow down. You should be breathing hard or be slightly out of breath but still be able to engage in conversation. And don’t start with half-hour workout sessions—try ten or even five minutes at first—until your stamina increases.

For more information see the section titled “Determining Your Fitness Level and Heart Rate” further on in this article.

Enjoy your exercise: Pick something you enjoy doing and have fun. Vary your exercise programme or include a friend to keep it exciting. Take your exercise outside if the weather is agreeable. If possible, though, try to exercise at least four times a week, even if for only five minutes at a time. Repeated attempts at exercise will build up your muscles as well as strengthen your heart and lungs. The more often you exercise, the more easily exercise will come to you.

Don’t get discouraged: Although building your strength and stamina is a gradual process, most people experience fitness as a series of quantum leaps. One day you can barely drag yourself around the block—the next day, jogging seems so easy and natural, you feel like you’re floating. Exercise, can also vary so that after that “floating” day, you may again experience one or two days of difficulty before moving back up to your new, higher plateau. You’ll soon find that regular, appropriate exercise will help you create a new sense of power and well-being that is well worth any times of difficulty or frustration.

Warm up: It is very important to warm up before embarking on any physical activity to lessen the chances of pulling a muscle, ligament, or tendon. The warm up can be compared to a balanced breakfast that fuels your body and mind in the morning, preparing it for a hard day of work. A proper warm up will take a good ten to fifteen minutes and will loosen muscles that, left tight, can cause injury. An easy way to warm up is to mimic the exercise you are planning to engage in. For example, low-level walking may be the precursor leading to more demanding brisk walking. Slow, light stretching of the arms over the head and to the sides can eventually lead into a vigorous game of tennis. Never overexert yourself during the warm up since it can cause fatigue by building up an oxygen debt. This is called an anaerobic state, which can end up tiring you out before you’ve even begun to really exercise. Remember; treat the warm up like a slow-motion exercise, a light, essential step that can make planned exercise a safer and more enjoyable activity. If you’ve been inactive for a long time, however, we recommend beginning with just daily light stretching exercise to help you regain functional range of motion in certain joints and to avoid risk of injury.

Cool down: All exercise programmes no matter how light or hard, need an adequate cool down period that includes stretching and relaxation. Not doing so can cause discomfort and in some cases, cardiac abnormalities. The cool-down allows the body to return to a resting state. Take at least five minutes to walk around at a slow pace, swinging your arms back and forth. Breathe deeply and release everything from your mind, except for how good you feel from exercising.

Stay hydrated: Older people have a low percentage of body water and are more susceptible to dehydration. Therefore, it is important to drink water regularly before, during, and after exercise.