by Andrew Pacholyk MS L.Ac ~

Physical fitness needs to be “sensible mild to moderate exercise” that you enjoy. It also works best when you “schedule” it into your day like every other routine that you do.  You eat breakfast, you go to work, you schedule a meeting…. you do the same with exercise!

Physical fitness needs to be “sensible mild to moderate exercise” that you enjoy. Stretching is important in aging successful.

Yoga is helpful, but people with aches and pains should avoid some of the more difficult poses. If an exercise or stretch causes pain, don’t continue. And checking in with your physician before embarking on a workout program is crucial.

In addition to aerobic exercise such as walking or swimming, strength training, whether at a fully equipped gym or at home with light weights and rubber exercise bands is very important. Weight training is increasingly important as we age. After the age of 30 we tend to lose one-third of a pound of muscle per year, and our bones become weaker as well if they aren’t subjected to weight-bearing exercise. Research has shown that weight training can triple overall muscle mass in elderly people and markedly improve all measures of health.

It’s important that beginners get instruction from someone who understands the needs of the person seeking exercise instruction; they should at least invest in a good exercise book.

For smokers, quitting is the single best thing they can do for their health at any age.

Only 10% to 15% of people over 65 exercise regularly, leading to an increased risk of osteoporosis, depression, and other health problems and an unnecessary loss of healthy years.

If you’re fit, you’re less likely to be chronically ill, disabled or dependent on others later in life.

Here’s a look at how exercise impacts disease, courtesy of the Mayo Clinic:

Coronary artery disease and high blood pressure: Being inactive approximately doubles your risk for coronary artery disease. In addition, people who exercise reduce or even eliminate blood pressure medications. Exercise also reduces LDL (bad) cholesterol and triglycerides (fat), while increasing HDL (good) cholesterol.
Diabetes: People who exercise are less likely to develop Type II diabetes, also known as noninsulin-dependent diabetes mellitus, or adult-onset diabetes. A long-term conditioning program may also significantly decrease your insulin dose.

Weight control: You can lose about five to 10 pounds a year merely by adding a one-mile daily walk to your lifestyle.

Cancer: Several studies show a decreasing risk of cancer with increasing activity.

Osteoporosis: Bone loss in older women and men can be slowed and possibly reversed with a combination of exercise and proper diet.

Arthritis: Pain and stiffness of arthritis may discourage you from activity, but using joints during regular, appropriate exercise may actually reduce pain and risk of joint problems. [57].

Research On Exercise

Researchers divided 235 sedentary men and women into two groups. One group did traditional structured exercise 20-60 minutes continuously. The other group incorporated into their day brisk walks, stair climbing and other moderate-intensity lifestyle activities. After 6 months, both groups had similar improvements in blood cholesterol, blood pressure and percentage of body fat. The structured exercisers gained more cardiovascular fitness. But the point is, the moderate- intensity folks did benefit. [58].

A group of sedentary, obese women lost 17 to 23 pounds over a period of 20 weeks by walking for ten minutes 5 days a week. At first, they walked twice a day, then worked up to four times a day. If you are not overweight, lifestyle activities probably won’t help you shed pounds. But they may help you convert fat to lean muscle.

Structured exercise in longer sessions is better for you. But something is better than nothing. For sedentary people, those who are physically inactive, lifestyle activity can still give you some of the same cardiovascular benefits of exercise. Served up in small amounts, it’s easier to fit into your day.

How to do it

By increasing lifestyle activities each day, try doing four 10-minute increases at least five days a week. The idea is to just do more of what you are already doing. Here are some great ideas on getting motivated:

*Walk, don’t drive.

*Take the stairs at the office, not the elevator.

*Play with your kids instead of watching them play.

*Bike to the store.

*Stretch while you watch TV.

*Get up from the sofa to change the channel. Channel surfers get
quite a workout.

*Park at the opposite end of the mall from where you’re headed.

*If you’ve got an exercise bike at home, peddle away for 5 minutes
while you’re talking on the phone or waiting for the washing machine
to finish.

*Walk the treadmill while watching a favorite TV program.

*Listen to music and dance your way through housecleaning.

*Start slow, a few minutes at first. Then, pick up the pace and go

*Workout clothes are not necessary, but wear good walking shoes.

*Don’t let missing a few days become your excuse to quit.

*Even if you miss a few days, you won’t lose all the benefits you’ve

*Be flexible. Do what you can when you can.

*Take advantage of opportunities. If you’re watching your child’s
soccer game, walk around the field.

*Playing golf? Skip the cart.

*Find a partner. Climbing stairs at the office will be far more
interesting if you chat away the minutes with a co-worker.

*Instead of building your life around exercise, build exercise around
your life. [59].

1. Aerobics: The word aerobic literally means “with oxygen” or “in the presence of oxygen.” Aerobic exercise is any activity that uses large muscle groups, can be maintained continuously for a long period of time and is rhythmic in nature. Aerobic activity trains the heart, lungs and cardiovascular system to process and deliver oxygen more quickly and efficiently to every part of the body. As the heart muscle becomes stronger and more efficient, a larger amount of blood can be pumped with each stroke. Fewer strokes are then required to rapidly transport oxygen to all parts of the body. An aerobically fit individual can work longer, more vigorously and achieve a quicker recovery at the end of the aerobic session.

2. Mind Quieting: A disciplined mind is a free mind. Gain control over your thoughts and you maintain control over your life. Retrain your mind and you regain your freedom. Calming the mind is a behavioral technique used to interupt, minimize and eliminate “psychological noise”. Obsessive, repeatitive thoughts, anxiety and fears are all apart of negative, self-destructive patterns that can benefit from the power of music and mind quieting.

3. Breathing : Breath is life! Exchange of electrons. Flow of energy. Air is the primary nutrient. Survival without it is measured in minutes. It is so important that you do it without thinking. Your breathing is the voice of your spirit. It’s depth, smoothness, sound, and rate reflect your mood. If you become aware of your breath and breathe the way you do when you are calm you will become calm. Practicing regular, mindful breathing can be calming and energizing. With the addition of music and it’s rhythm, the “musical breath” can even help stress-related health problems ranging from panic attacks to digestive disorders. Fall into the rhythm of the music and breathe. Focus on your breathing and the music.

4. Weight Bearing : exercise stimulates tissue growth in bone and muscles, strengthening the body’s structure. A stronger skeleton reduces the risk of osteoporosis, arthritic joint pain and other bone conditions. Also known as resistance training, weight-bearing exercise can be any activity that involves carrying, lifting or pushing a heavy object. Walking is considered to be weight bearing, as muscles and the skeleton support body weight. You do not need to “pump iron” to benefit from this form of exercise.

5. Yoga : Many different types of yoga workouts exist. But many times in our quest for fitness and a hard body, At some point it becomes just a workout and not yoga. If you come to this path with fitness in mind that is important, but Yoga is extremely powerful. If you try to rush it, you will only slow yourself down. Yoga is not mind over body. It is harmony between them. In yoga, the mind is used to perceive (diagnose) and guide (heal) the body. Not to “control” it and never to force it.

6. Stretching : Just as there are different types of flexibility, there are also different types of stretching. Stretches are either dynamic (meaning they involve motion) or static (meaning they involve no motion). Dynamic stretches affect dynamic flexibility and static stretches affect static flexibility (and dynamic flexibility to some degree).

7. Power Walking : Studies have suggested a link between increased physical activity and a decreased chance for developing disease in general. Exercise of any kind trims your odds by improving the body’s sensitivity to insulin-a hormone, helps control cholesterol, weight, and blood pressure, which further guards you from adult-onset of disease.

8. Swimming :It’s hard to beat swimming when it comes to a sport that builds the body, soothes the mind, regulates breathing, stimulates circulation, and puts no stress on the joints. That’s why it’s an ideal exercise for just about everyone — old people, overweight people, young people, people with hip, knee and ankle problems, and active people with no health problems at all. Plus, swimming has a calorie-burning potential of 350-420 calories per hour. No wonder it’s one of the most popular fitness sports around.

9. Tai Chi, Qi Gong, Aikido :TaiChi, QiGong, Aikido : these Asian art forms have been practiced for centuries. QiQong is one of the four pillars of traditional Chinese medicine: Acupuncture, Massage, Herbal Medicines and Qigong. Of these, Qigong is the one that can be most easily self initiated. Both massage and herbal remedies can also be done as self care, however, Qigong is the mother of Chinese self healing. Patients who use Qigong faithfully need less medication, less acupuncture and heal faster.

Tai Chi is a martial arts form that enhances balance and body awareness through slow, graceful, and precise body movements, can significantly cut the risk of falls among older people and may be beneficial in maintaining gains made by people age 70 and older who undergo other types of balance and strength training.

Aikido is a Japanese martial art developed by Morihei Ueshiba (often referred to by his title ‘O Sensei’ or ‘Great Teacher’). On a purely physical level it is an art involving some throws and joint locks that are derived from Jujitsu and some throws and other techniques derived from Kenjutsu. Aikido focuses not on punching or kicking opponents, but rather on using their own energy to gain control of them or to throw them away from you.

10. Elastic Bands : Resistance training is the benefit of elastic bands or tubing. As long as we have gravity, we can challenge our muscles effectively. Doing a push-up is one example of a resistance exercise. Instead of using weight from another source, you’re using your body weight to challenge your chest and arm muscles, and you will get toned up just as well as you would using a pec deck or a bench press. Elastic tubing and bands are great for those who want to get the benefits of weight training without using traditional weights.

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