By Laurel Sterling Prisco, MS, RD, CDN
Part 5 of 5
Aging gracefully…that is what we all would like, right? A healthy eating and exercise plan should be at our foundation for staving off the effects of the natural aging process. Exercise, working out, fitness, physical activity, or whatever you want to call it is crucial. We need to move our bodies regularly! Now I’m not just talking daily activities such as: up and down the stairs with laundry, gardening, or walking to your car. I am referring to a bit more intensive body movement. If you are limited in specific ways or have certain conditions, then be sure to consult with your practitioner first, who may recommend you to a physical therapist or exercise physiologist. Just do the best you can with what you’ve got. Also remember if you have not been working out in quite some time, start small and slowly build your way up.
Because we used to have to run and forage long distances to get our food, humans used to move a lot more in day-to-day living. Now, our food is just a pizza delivery away! We also have more sedentary jobs behind computer screens. In other words, we are nearly “forced” to get in some physical activity. Try these tips to make your journey towards more movement in your life an enjoyable one:
• Approach your regime realistically
• Find activities you would like to do and that will be easy for you to maintain
• Gradually increase the amount of time you are exercising
• Vary your intensity
• Focus on being consistent and regular to make it a lifelong habit
Exercise has numerous benefits to our body in addition to assisting in the anti-aging process. It is important to include in your regime some cardiovascular, strength training, and stretching. If you need some motivation, take a glimpse at all of the benefits you can reap from exercising!
• You can increase endurance, muscle tone, strength, and flexibility, resulting in fewer joint problems and a greater ability to build bones.
• You will bring blood, nutrients, and oxygen to every cell in the body, which means that:
1. Cellular wastes are moved for better elimination through kidneys, bowels, and skin, which will result in bowel regularity and increased disease resistance
2. There will be improvement in digestion, absorption, and metabolism of food, which can help to lower total cholesterol, LDL, and triglycerides (while increasing HDL), lower blood-sugar levels, and make insulin more effective for muscle and fat cells
3. The increased oxygen intake aids the brain and complexion, which can help:
a. Alleviate irritability, anxiety, and depression
b. Create a feeling of centeredness due to the release of natural mood elevators (endorphins)
c. Increase energy
d. Relieve tiredness
e. Enhance a more restful sleep
4. Arteries become more resilient and the lungs and heart become stronger, which can help to lower blood pressure
• You can lose weight not only due to burning calories, but also because exercise helps with appetite control.
Considering all of these reasons…let’s get movin’!!