Exercise: An Anti-Aging Activity

By: Gary Wells

Age is a state of mind, not a number, many people believe. But to make this maxim hold true, we must do all within our power to stay healthy and keep our bodies working as long and as efficiently as possible.

One of the best things than anyone can do to maintain good health is to follow a routine exercise plan, preferably one that includes 30 to 60 minutes of a daily workout. Ideally the program should be based on both aerobic and weight training exercises. A comprehensive workout tailored to your specific physical needs and abilities can help you get in shape and maintain a healthy body. Here are some tips to help you get started.

1. Check with your doctor. Get a physical examination to make sure your body is working as it should and able to support an exercise routine at this time. If you have an underlying condition, like diabetes or asthma, ask your doctor whether exercise could impact these conditions, and if so, what you should do to manage them. This is the time to report any new or changing symptoms as well, so these can be evaluated and treated, if necessary, to bring them under control. Ask your doctor to recommend an exercise program, or at least to set boundaries on what you should and should not attempt to do.

2. Choose a regular time. Some experts believe that morning exercise brings the best results, but activity at any type of day will help. Try to set aside a similar time slot each day so you can build a routine around it that will help you stay with the program and not miss sessions due to other commitments or interruptions. You may want to let family members and friends know you will be unavailable during this time, say between 6 and 7 p.m., most days of the week.

3. Start slow. Choose easy, light exercise activity to ease into a new routine. Walking around the neighborhood or on a treadmill is a terrific activity. Riding an exercise bike is another. You wonít need special clothes, either, except for comfortable tops and bottoms that will not restrict muscle movements. Swimming is another great way to have fun and burn calories while stretching muscles. Check your local YMCA or health spa for information about open pool hours or swim group programs.

4. Keep records. Write your starting weight, measurements, time, and activities, along with your resting heart rate. Each week, record updated information as well as your peak heart rate during your workout. Make sure you donít exceed recommended limits. If you stay with your program, you should begin to see positive changes that will make you feel great, mentally as well as physically.

Continue to modify your exercise plan as you get older. In some cases you can increase activity as your body gets in better shape. At other times you may need to decrease or adjust your rate of activity. Whatever happens, your sense of well being and your overall physical health are sure to improve.

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