We hope you enjoy reading this web content, however we do suggest you read our disclaimer.
All the material written in guide is provided for informational purposes only and is general in nature.
Every person is a unique individual and what has worked for some, or even many, may not work for you. Any information perceived as advice must be considered in light of your own particular set of circumstances.
The author or person sharing this information does not assume any responsibility for the accuracy or outcome of your use of the content.
Every attempt has been made to provide well researched and up to date content at the time of writing. Now all the legalities have been taken care of, please enjoy the content.
One of life’s many cruel realities is that we don’t get the rulebook or cheatsheet in advance. At every stage of our life, we can look back and say “wow, if only I’d known that beforehand”, but by then it often too late.
This does not only apply to our youthful years – there are many elderly who wish that as they aged they had taken action in specific areas of their lives.
These actions could have prevented or delayed the effects that are generally related to, or attributed to, growing older. These effects, or ‘conditions’ invariably lead to a diminishing of the joy of experiencing life, as is experienced through reduced mobility or impairment of the senses.
At the extreme, they also cause reduced longevity.
This ebook is not a dry ‘why is it so’ text. Although it will help you understand why and how our bodies react as we age, it is focused on practical ‘how-to’ instructions and advice, to help you stay younger, longer.
When you’re young you have plenty of agility, and you move easily, however, as you age, well that’s another story. Your muscles can become stiff, and you may find you’re not as flexible as you used to be.
You may feel aches and pains after simple exercise, that you never felt before. To counteract this, it’s important to stay flexible so that your mobility is not impaired.
To maintain your flexibility and mobility, you need to keep active through physical activities and exercise. While aerobic and strength exercises are important, stretching is one of the best things you can do.
If you stretch every day, and at least twice a day would be better, for ten minutes each time, you will be amazed at your results. You can start off small, but then develop routines that will improve your mobility even more.
Stretching relaxes your muscles and lubricates your joints to relieve pain and stiffness. You need to focus on your neck and spine to reverse your forward head movement, and to improve posture and balance.
Numerous neck and spine muscles are shortened or lengthened due to forward head posture. Plus, any muscle imbalance causes neck pain and back pain.
Neck stretches help improve your posture and the mobility of your neck and shoulders. You will notice the benefits from this stretch, especially when you’re driving. If your neck is more flexible, you will have a better range of vision as your neck will have better rotation.
Bring your chin towards your chest and then roll your head to the right. Hold the position for 15 seconds and then do the same to the left side. Continue doing this stretch at least ten times.
This stretch helps with the raising, lowering, and straightening of your arms. It improves the range of motion in your shoulders and strengthens your chest muscles, which helps correct your posture. It allows you to extend the function of your shoulder ligaments, tendons, and muscles. This increases your flexibility in your shoulder joints.
Sit with your back straight and your feet firmly on the floor. Put your hands behind your head and stretch your arms so that your shoulders roll up and back. As you do push your chest out and inhale deeply while stretching. Take three deep breaths before you release your clasp, and then continue repeating the stretch.
This exercise will strengthen your chest muscles and support good posture. If you slouch, it can cause neck and back pain. This is because you tend to stick out your chin as you hunch over.
To start this stretch, extend both your arms to the sides, palms facing forward. Move your palms backward, chest out, and stretch until you feel the tension on your chest and arms.
The hip stretch increases your mobility and loosens your hip muscles for better flexibility. With your feet together on the floor, put your hands on your waist. In a clockwise direction, circle your hips five times as wide as possible. Don’t move your head and shoulders while you elongate your spine and keep your stomach in. Do another five circles counterclockwise.
The back stretch aligns your spine to reduce lower back pain, reduce tension on your shoulders and neck, and improve your posture. Start with your feet shoulder-width apart on the floor. Interweave your hands at chest level about 6 inches away from your chest, with your palms facing outward and your elbows pointing out.
Keep your lower body stationary and your head in line with your torso, while twisting your upper body from side to side, leading with your elbows. Try not to move your hips and keep your gaze forward. Stretch to a mild tension 10 times doing this alternately left to right. When your spine is in better alignment, you will reduce stiffness and soreness.
Hand and finger stretches make your joints strong and flexible. You can either stand or sit-down, whichever is comfortable for you. Stretch both arms forward with your palms facing outward. Pretend there’s a wall in front of you, then walk your hands up until they reach above your head.
Keeping your hands above your head, wiggle your fingers for 10 seconds and then walk your hands back down.
If you have medical conditions, such as arthritis or back pain, ask your doctor if there are specific stretching exercises you should, or should not be doing. They know your history, so they can make modifications if necessary.
Do a 5 to 10-minute warm-up before stretching. You may think your stretches are a warm-up, however, start small and then stretch further. Your warm-up may include walking or gentle overhead arm circles.
Practice belly breathing by slowly inhaling and exhaling while stretching. Every deep breath fills the body with oxygen and helps improve blood circulation, which relaxes your muscles. If you hold your breath, it causes your muscles to tighten and makes any stretching exercise more difficult.
Stretch until you feel a mild tension in your muscles. Hold it for 15 to 30 seconds and don’t overextend. If you feel any pain, it means you are putting too much pressure and strain into your routine, which may cause joint or muscle injury. Also, avoid bouncing, as this can damage your muscles or connective tissue.
There are some obvious and some not so obvious changes in your body as you age. The not so obvious ones are things like muscles that have lost their strength and mass and flexibility, and your reaction time diminishes.
You may begin to move slower, take shorter steps when walking, and be extra careful so you don’t fall. Falling is something many seniors are afraid of. Getting off balance and taking a fall can mean a fracture or broken hip.
Physical factors that can create instability and throw you off balance include:
- Carrying excess weight
- Inactivity and poor mobility
- Eating an unhealthy diet, causing deficiencies of essential vitamins and minerals
- Health conditions and medications.
Here are some tips to keep you on your feet:
- Maintain a healthy weight
- Build your diet based on your nutritional requirements
- Get plenty of quality sleep
- Drink plenty of water
- Stretch every day.
Last but not least, exercise, exercise, exercise! You might be worried about the type and length of your exercise routines, so please consult your doctor first, especially if you have a previous or present medical condition. If you do have a medical condition, don’t think you shouldn’t exercise, it’s vital for health, and to maintain your balance and mobility.
Exercise and physical activities can improve not only your balance but many illnesses, as exercise is part of many disease management programs. Therefore, keep moving to strengthen your body.
Here are some recommended exercises for you to improve your balance and coordination:
This is a simple exercise which helps keep your legs and back strong and stable. Start in an upright position, both your feet close together and firmly on the floor.
Place your right foot in front of your left so they are aligned with your right heel in front of your left toes. Move your foot in such a way that you’re putting the weight on your heel.
You can repeat the process with your left and alternate making the steps with both of your feet until you make 20 steps. To have a bit of fun, imagine walking like a model, or walking on a tight rope. Keep one foot in front of the other, heel to toe, heel to toe, and allow your hips to swing from side to side to exert a little mild pressure on your spine.
This exercise builds the muscles in your calves, legs, and thighs and strengthens the joints of your knees and toes. Stand in front of a bench top or counter, or a sturdy chair and put your hands on it for support. Don’t lean forward. Raise up on your toes as far as you can go then lower yourself slowly. Repeat the process 20 times.
Side leg raises strengthen your hip muscles and joints and corrects your posture. It strengthens the groin muscles too. Stand and take your position behind a counter or a sturdy chair for support. Place your feet slightly apart and keep your back straight.
Slowly raise one leg out to the side, your toes pointing forward. Keep your other leg slightly bent at the knee, so you don’t put undue pressure on the knee. Alternate with the other leg 10 to 15 times and repeat the process.
While doing these exercises, it’s important to remember to breathe deeply. Deep breathing delivers oxygen to your muscles and helps increase your lung capacity. Plus, you make your workout and post-workout recovery faster.
Are you over 50 and considering hitting the gym to lift a few weights? If so, good for you! It’s never too late to start regardless of your age. It’s actually very beneficial if you do.
There are many physical health benefits if you start resistance training or weight training, and there are mental health benefits too. For one, if you join a gym, you’ll have the opportunity to socialize!
Here are just a few of the advantages of exercising with weights, or even your own body weight.
Improves ligament flexibility, muscle strength, and muscle mass.
Your muscles and ligaments are made up of different proteins. The predominant one is collagen, which provides structure and strength. There is also elastin which allows your muscles to snap back into shape after being stretched (for ligaments) or contracted (for muscles).
By using weights or resistance techniques, you work your tissues against a force which gradually makes them stronger. The ligaments extend to their full length, which helps increase your range in motion. The flexibility gained in your joints improves your balance, which helps against falls and improves your mobility. The last thing you want as you age is to lose your ability to move freely.
Regular resistance training makes your muscles contract to increase strength and muscle mass. If you have strong muscles, instead of atrophied, weak muscles, your skeleton can stand strong, which means improved bone and joint health.
Remember that muscle strength is more important than muscle mass, so focus on the intensity and progression of your exercising. When you increase the repetitions and the amount of weight, you will be increasing the demand on your muscles. This helps gain strength, size, endurance, and increase muscle functionality.
Another benefit is that if you are eating a healthy diet, your body will begin to burn stored body fat for energy as you work out. Therefore, you will lose fat in the process and become a lean machine!
It is recommended that you do weight resistance exercises at least twice a week if you’re a beginner in order to achieve maximum benefits. Since you have likely lost muscle mass as you have aged, because of reduced physical activity, you will need to work hard to regain it.
Resistance training slows or reverses the process of aging. It can slow or even stop the decline in muscle mass, bone density, and strength. That statement alone is worth getting started right now!
Manage blood pressure, blood sugar, and blood cholesterol levels.
Studies show that when your body mass index or BMI – the indicator of body fat – increases, there’s a corresponding increase in your blood pressure. Elevated blood pressure levels are a risk factor for cardiovascular disease and stroke.
Another problem with an increase in weight and age is that you may develop higher triglyceride, cholesterol, and blood sugar levels. They increase your risk of heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and kidney problems. If you have any of these conditions or are extremely unfit or overweight, consult your doctor before undergoing resistance training.
However! You can benefit from weight training if you have these conditions.
Both moderate-intensity dynamic resistance training and low-intensity isometric resistance training induce a significant decrease in blood pressure levels. Plus, there are favorable effects, in the reduction of triglyceride levels. Training can also prevent and control type 2 diabetes by increasing insulin sensitivity, which leads to lower blood sugar levels.
Good for your cognitive functions and awareness.
Cognitive decline is a major health concern among seniors, specifically dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. If you lead an active life throughout your youth and senior years, you may prevent these degenerative diseases, improve your memory, enhance your thinking skills, and stimulate your brain cells to grow. Your mind will stay alert and healthy.
If you couple your resistance training with aerobic exercises such as swimming, jogging or walking, it can increase the size of your hippocampus which is responsible for learning and verbal memory.
Help reduce pain and stress.
Resistance training is helpful if you have arthritis or spinal osteoporosis, so don’t go thinking you can’t do weights! It increases bone density and improves the muscles surrounding the afflicted area. This helps reduce pain and maintain your coordination and agility. After a while, you may find yourself climbing the stairs with ease, whereas once it was painful and almost a non-event.
Another benefit after exercise is you may notice you feel good. You may notice you are in a better mood and have a happier disposition. When you do resistance training, your brain releases endorphins. These hormones have an analgesic effect, minimizing discomfort during your workout, so you feel good. Plus, one of the hormones, dopamine, is your ‘happy hormone’ so you feel more upbeat.
Therefore, you relieve stress and pain, which is good not only for your body but for your mind as well. Weight training or resistance training has so many benefits as you age. What a great way to maintain your youthful body and general well-being.