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How to stay fit as you get older

STARTING OR maintaining a regular exercise routine can be a challenge as you get older. You may feel discouraged by illness, ongoing health problems, or concerns about injuries or falls. Or, if you’ve never exercised before, you may not know where to begin. Or perhaps you think you’re too old or frail, or that exercise is boring or simply not for you.

While these may seem like good reasons to slow down and take it easy as you age, they’re actually even better reasons to get moving.

They say that life starts at 40 and it is true, provided you take good care of yourself. The secret to healthy ageing is to maintain your shape by working out regularly and growing your muscle mass. You do not have to become a bodybuilder, but the more muscle you have, the better your body will perform and the fewer age related illnesses you will encounter.

MUSCLE

Why is muscle health important while ageing? Your muscle mass determines how elastic your joints are. However, as you grow older, not only do your joints become less flexible, you also begin losing muscle mass, leading to the common problem of creaky joints. Resistance training helps you avoid this issue by letting you grow back the muscle mass that you lose with age, letting you stay energetic and flexible for much longer.

Of course, fitness is key to healthy ageing but that does not mean you should aim to become a professional bodybuilder in your 50s. In fact, the key to healthy ageing is to accept that there are certain things you were able to do when you were 30 that you can no longer do at 40. Luckily, you do not have to do them in order to continue growing your muscle mass and even more moderate forms of fitness exercise can go a long way toward ageing gracefully and healthfully.

What kind of exercise can you do to grow your muscle mass? First of all, leave the 100lb. dumbbells on the floor. You can use moderate forms of fitness exercise such as walking, cycling or swimming. Low-impact exercise like elliptical trainers, swimming and yoga are also extremely popular.

In fact, if you are truly committed to healthy ageing, then it is important to combine resistance training and aerobic fitness exercise for maximum effect on your body. Try to separate your strength training days with evenings of aerobics, either going for a walk or spending some time on an elliptical trainer. Whatever schedule you choose, it is important to allow at least one day a week for your body to rest and recuperate. Remember that the key to using fitness as a tool of healthy aging is moderation.

One of the most important elements of healthy ageing is changing your lifestyle. As we grow older, our lifestyle becomes increasingly passive and if you do not change that, sore and creaky joints are sure to follow. It is important to fit as many physical activities into your daily life as you can. For example, try to set aside some time to go for a walk in the evening or visit a swimming pool several times a week. If you are serious about healthy ageing, some form of physical activity must become a daily part of your life. Also, remember to stretch. Limber tendons and muscles prevent any number of ailments.

MOTIVATE

Sometimes it can be very difficult to motivate oneself to leave the comfort of your house and go for a walk or a swim. A cure for this is finding a buddy who is as interested in healthy ageing as you are. Your buddy will push and nag you when you do not feel like working out, giving you all the motivation you need to commit some time to your fitness activities.

Ultimately, fitness is indispensable for healthy ageing. It can sometimes be difficult to get started and force yourself into a more physically active routine, but you will find that, after a while, the going will get easier and you will start looking forward to getting out of the office and going for a short walk or swim.

When that happens, you know that you are well on your way to healthy ageing success.

Reuben John is the author of the book on Staying Healthy And Fit As You Age. He has trained thousands in Fitness, Exercise, Diet and Nutrition. Discover more little known secrets to staying youthful and energetic at www.healthwealthtreasury.com

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