The antidote to aging is activity. Lisa Gasior, exercise physiologist at Lake Regional Cardiopulmo- nary Rehab in Osage Beach, says no matter what the age is now, no matter how inactive a person has been, it’s still possible to increase your fitness. And while that may not lead to the fountain of youth, it at least is a step in the right direction. Whether you walk around your neighborhood or on a treadmill in your family room, whether you join a gym or swim with a friend, you can choose to make physical activity a priority in your life.
The payoff? Looking and feeling younger longer, not to mention staying healthy and energetic enough to enjoy each decade. If you’re not already active, consult your health care provider before you jump in. Then, give these tips a chance.
Build Strong Muscles and Good Posture
“As your metabolism slows, it gets easier to gain weight and harder to lose it,” Gasior says. “And, years of hunching over your desk or being a couch potato add up to bad posture habits that strain your neck and spinal muscles.”
TIP: Strength training is important. Although sedentary people lose lean muscle mass as they age, strength training builds muscle and boosts a flagging metabolism.
“You’ll burn more calories, even at rest,” says Gasior. Strength training promotes good posture and eases wear and tear on your joints. “The stronger your muscles are, the less you rely on your joints to keep you erect,” she says.
Focus on Flexibility
You get less flexible as you age.
“Joints, ligaments and the tissue surrounding muscle fibers become less elastic,” Gasior says.
TIP: To improve and maintain flexibility, make stretching a regular part of your daily activities. Consider a structured program, such as yoga or Pilates.
“Flexibility helps reduce muscle tension, improve coordination, prevent injuries, develop body awareness and even promote good circulation,” Gasior says.
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