Fifty-year-olds should strive to be as active as possible and exercise most days of the week. An active lifestyle can improve your chances of remaining less dependent on outside help as you age. Physical activity and aerobic exercise reduce the risk of heart disease and Type 2 diabetes and maintain a healthy body weight. Strength training can maintain muscle mass, stretching positions improve flexibility and balance exercises support coordination.
Physical Activity and Aerobic Exercise
Physical activity can include anything that gets your body up and moving, while exercise is a predetermined activity designed to gain or maintain health benefits. Housework, yard work and walking while shopping are basic physical activities that most people do regularly. Adding 150 minutes of aerobic exercise to your weekly physical activities can maintain a healthy body weight while strengthening your heart and lungs. Aerobics classes provide a social element to aerobic exercise, while walking, running or bicycling can be done alone or with groups. Regular physical activity and aerobic exercise can also improve your mood and general feeling of well-being.
Strength training two days a week can reduce the symptoms of arthritis, diabetes, osteoporosis, obesity and back pain. While physical activity and aerobic exercise maintain cardiovascular fitness and endurance, strength training develops and maintains strong muscles. Strength training should focus on the major muscle groups of the back, shoulders, biceps, triceps, lower body and abdominals. The resistance generated by gym machines, hand weights, exercise bands or your own body weight stimulates muscle growth and strength that diminishes with age. Warm up with 15 minutes of light aerobic activity before strength training to prevent injury and cool down with slow stretching positions to reduce muscle soreness after strength training.
Stretching is an instinctive activity that most people do after long periods of inactivity. Stretching as an exercise increases flexibility by elongating muscles and increasing blood flow. Muscles tighten and range of motion decreases as you age. Stretching two times a week can maintain a full range of motion as well as prevent muscle strain and injury. Stretching positions should focus on the calves, thighs, hips, lower back, neck and shoulders.
Balance exercises are especially important for preventing falls and remaining independent as you age. Balance and coordination affect nearly every movement you make while on your feet. Daily practice of balance exercises can improve and maintain mobility, gait and self-esteem. Balance exercises can be as simple as standing on one foot while waiting in line or lifting yourself up and out of a chair without using your hands. Regular exercise and a well-rounded exercise routine can keep you happy, healthy and active as you age.
Pamela Crouch is a professional writer who has produced informational articles for “Freelance Writing by Mike” and various websites. Crouch received personal training certification from Interactive Fitness Trainers of America and is pursuing an Associate of Arts in liberal arts from J. Sergeant Reynolds Community College.