It’s been said that most of what people call aging and dread about getting older is actually the natural decline or decay of our body. While we can’t do anything to stop aging, you actually can prevent decay. The trick is to keep signaling to your body and brain that they still need to grow.
Here’s how you do it.
Achieving a healthy, fulfilling life means getting daily exercise, maintaining good nutrition, having an emotional commitment and meaningful engagement in day to day life. The lynchpin in this equation is exercise.
Exercise is the single most powerful signal you can send your body. It isn’t complicated, but you do have to do it every day. The three components of exercise are aerobic training, balance training and strength training. “Aerobic training is the silver bullet,” says Jan Olson, fitness manager at Paradise Valley Estates. “Aim for 45 minutes, four days a week because aerobic exercise changes your blood chemistry.” There are infinite ways to get that exercise in on a recumbent or elliptical trainer, walking outdoors, hiking, walking on a treadmill, swimming, cycling.
Don’t forget to mix in some strength training, says Olson. “Strength conditioning offers you quality of life, so aim twice-weekly workouts in your gym or fitness center, or fitness class,” she advises.
Last but no least is balance training. It may not seem very consequential but balance work is fundamental. Practicing balance is a way to improve your coordination and sense of where you are in space. It’s a way to lower your risk of falling, a preventable cause of death and injury in older adults.
The bottom line is this. It’s not how you choose to be active, it’s that you choose to be active. If you don’t exercise, make it a point to start. You’re never too old for exercise that has the power to help your body feel young.