We Should Never Retire From Fitness

March 26, 2011 · 2 comments

This is a guest post by Topher Lee.

What exactly do seniors need to do to stay fit? If you were to pay attention to the vastly prevalent stereotypes in typical American society, you would think that seniors need do nothing more than stroll down to the golf course and enjoy a few rounds in order to stay in pitch-perfect health. Unfortunately, this is not the case for most people entering their “twilight” years. It is true that, as the body ages, its metabolic processes tend to slow down. This means that most seniors need less food and less exercise than they did when they were younger. However, this does not mean that senior citizens can eliminate heart-pumping exercise and healthy eating habits from their lifestyles. Fitness is the one job from which we should never plan to retire. In order to stay in shape throughout the extent of your golden years, there are a couple of rules of thumb that you should follow.

First of all, you should try to perform the most strenuous exercise that is healthy and comfortable for you. This does not mean that you must run ten miles every morning with your teenage grandson, because many elderly people are simply not capable of partaking in anything that is overly taxing to the body. Evaluation is the key here. Due to varying health reasons and body conditions, you may not be able to exert yourself to the level that others might. Be sure to consult with your family doctor or health plan provider to assist you with the evaluation process. In the end, if you do find that your body is able to stand up to a bit of stress, then you should do your best to challenge it. Some people might benefit from taking a brisk walk that raises their heart rate. Others might enjoy activities such as boating or hiking that challenges several key muscle groups. If you are able to build your body’s strength with regular exercise, then you will be far less likely to experience muscle degeneration and loss of vitality as time goes on.

Another important component of senior fitness is the consumption of a well-rounded, healthy diet. There is no reason to skimp on your fruits and veggies in your elderly years; in fact, some researchers assert that this is the most important time of your life to consume as healthy a diet as possible. Seniors are in especial need of copious amounts of vitamin B6, folic acid, and fiber. A deficiency in any of these nutrients leads to an increased risk of several diseases such as diabetes or cancer. It is easier than you would think to integrate high amounts of these nutrients into your daily diet; you only have to ensure that you eat plenty of fruits, veggies, and whole grains on a regular basis. In light of this, some seniors take it upon themselves to learn to cook in their spare time, preparing tasty but healthy dishes that are the envy of the entire neighborhood.

Your senior years can be the best time of your life if you plan them out wisely. Now is the time to have new experiences and to try new things, not to let your fitness fall into disrepair. If you take care to receive the exercise and nutrition that your body requires every day, then you will be running circles around the grand kids in no time at all.

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Steven B. March 27, 2011 at 10:16 am

It’s also important, in my respectful view, to include resistance training as we age in our fitness regimen. Resistance training is excellent for maintaining bone density.

However, you need not use weights to do resistance training. Yoga, Pilates, and body-only workouts provide more than sufficient resistance to all parts of the body to maintain bone density and strength.

That said, your article is right on in that fitness in general is important regardless of our age.

TroyP March 29, 2011 at 6:13 pm

Use it or lose it - is so appropriate.

My dad has stayed ahead of his asthma by running at least 3 miles three times a week. It has been amazing and encouraging to see how active he has been able to stay.

Find ways to push your body now and don’t quit, never quit.

When I was doing some research on heart rate training zone I found out that the traditional decline in maximum heart rate can be offset by staying active. But like many things, if you quit and lose some capability for your heart to pump at faster rates you can not regain that capability. Use it or lose it.

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