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    the aging process

    How to Maintain Your Youthful Vigor and Slow the Aging Process

    Did you know that a 60-year-old who has been active can endure more physically challenging tasks than a 30-year-old who has been inactive? Like a magical elixir, regular workouts help revitalize your body and keep old-age symptoms at bay.

    Old is relative, defined as the advanced years of life when a person has reached the stage of considerably lowered activity due to fading vitality and muscular atrophy. Physiological age, however, affects how frequently and strenuously one should exercise rather than chronological age. A 60-year-old person who has been athletically active throughout his or her existence can endure more physically challenging tasks than a 30-year-old who has been athletically inactive.

    Until someone finally discovers the Fountain of Youth (that legendary spring sought in the New World by Ponce de Leon and other Spanish explorers) regular workouts remain the means for bringing about those near-miraculous, all-over improvements to the body. For like a magical elixir, regular workouts can help to revitalize the body and keep old-age symptoms at bay.

    Through extensive research, scientists have found many positive results from long-term consistent exercise. A regular exercise program leads to a higher fitness level which increases energy. This individual has less illnesses and health problems, a greater mental and emotional wellbeing and peace of mind.

    Moreover, a vigorous, healthy body aids in protecting one from lesser mishaps and may be a lifesaving factor in a crisis situation. Being able to respond quickly and decisively in a potentially dangerous situation may avert a physically debilitating outcome. This ability becomes exceedingly important in the degenerative middle-age period of life.

    Now, ideally, the human body should last about 120 years. But due mainly to inactivity and an unrestrained approach to experiencing la dolce vita, many hasten the aging process and reduce their age expectancy.

    For example, studies show that coronary-artery disease (affecting the arteries that transport blood to the heart muscle) is two times more prevalent among inactive than active people. Studies also show a connection between inactivity and such illnesses as diabetes, ulcers, high-blood pressure and emotional problems brought on by stress and anxiety.

    In some instances, a defective gene pool is responsible for serious illness and a shortened life span. Regrettably, hundreds of thousands of people are descendants of family stock susceptible to scores of garden-variety ailments as well as to one of the most frightening killers of our time: cancer.

    Consequently, these people must be especially careful about their health to prolong their normal biological ages. Early detection and treatment of cancer, or any one of countless other health-robbing diseases, can go a long way in bettering the quality and possibly extending the length of a person’s life.

    These days, with the proliferation of health and fitness books and magazines, more people than in the past know how invaluable regular workouts are for older persons. They know that strength, endurance, flexibility, coordination of movement and seemingly unlimited energy, all of which are taken for granted when we are young, gain ever greater importance as the years pass by if we wish to be self-reliant for as long as possible.

    Though these physical powers must now be worked for, the output from this work is well worth the effort; the bottom-line difference is one of leading either a productive or a non productive life.

    Nonetheless, assorted natural changes do take place in the body as it ages and these should be considered when planning workout programs. However, most of the limitations imposed by aging are more qualitative than quantitative. That is, one may not be able to perform some functions at the same high level he once did, but can do so with modifications.

    Regardless of age, many undesirable effects of aging can be postponed, reversed, or prevented through proper exercise. The body’s ability to receive and circulate oxygen decreases about one percent yearly after the age of 25; but diligently performing an aerobic activity, such as walking, assists in heightening the amount of oxygen the body uses, enhances the hearts’ working capability and, thereby, raises the blood supply. Others have found that along with improving their looks by delaying the effects of aging years, exercise also improves their mental faculties, as well as the capacity to put their bodies in motion – to get out of bed and move around unassisted.

    With advancing age comes some measure of stiffness in the muscles and joints. Joint structures injure more easily and muscles may get weaker and shorter. One must make the effort to maintain the range of motion in the joints and keep the muscles resilient. This requires dedication, determination, planning and work.

    Strength training, aerobics, stretching and a low-fat, low-cholesterol, low-sugar diet, will maximize physical and mental performances leaving a firm, slender, supple physique no matter what the chronological age.

    Specifically, weight workouts assist in preventing muscle and bone loss. On average, most individuals lose around 3 percent of bone mass annually. Weight-resistant workouts will help build muscles, tighten and tone the body, and increase strength as well as restore bone mass and density.

    Aerobic exercises (such as walking, running and swimming) are excellent for conditioning vital organs, burning unneeded calories and removing body fat. The combination of these exercises with a good stretching routine and a sensible approach to eating will aid in bringing about total-body fitness.

    Apply unwavering effort toward achieving goals by exercising for 20 to 60 minutes at least three times weekly. Adding variety to workouts helps maintain motivation by keeping exercise more interesting and thus lessening the odds of quitting. More importantly, alternating workouts lowers the risk of overuse injuries by emphasizing different muscle groups of the body at each training session. Variety adds to overall fitness and keeps workouts from becoming redundant and stale.

    NOTE: Before beginning any type of physical training, obtain a thorough medical examination, including your heart, lungs, blood pressure, muscles, and joints and a resting electrocardiogram (ECG). Your blood should be analyzed for cholesterol and triglycerides.

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