How to Age Graciously?
How to Age Graciously?
What is your answer How to Age Graciously?
I am sure everyone has a different personal version and me too, that is, what I want share with you about how to age graciously and successfully.
Everyone likes to fulfill the common dream to look nicer, feel better, and live longer as much and long as possible. How? It is clear and simple as detailed in How to Excel and Succeed in Life – The Simplest and Clearest Realistic Formula, which consists of 5 ingredients as follows:
1. Eat, enjoy, and control foods, and don’t let foods control us;
3. Sleep well and sound for at least 6-8 hours, but preferably at night’
4. Meditate to reinforce spiritual and physical connection, and pray if religious’
5. Follow currently available, reasonable, realistic medical advice as needed.
Among these FIVEs, the #2 has surely played an indispensable role to allow us to look nice, feel better, and live longer by practicing a commonsensical saying and belief in Use it or Lose it. This is particularly important as we age and become seniors.
Now let us explore and discuss what and how Exercise can do for seniors with the following tips:
What is successful aging?
We all age, but want to live a healthy, long, and happy life. In the US, by 2030, there will be some 72 million people over age 65, that is, 19% of the population; by 2040, the seniors of >85 years old will reach some 14.1 million.
What happens to us as we age? Aging produces many undesirable effects to all tissues and organs of our body, notably manifesting in skin wrinkle, lean muscle loss, joints stiffness, balance impairment, obesity, etc. Fortunately, active regular exercise as proposed and described can slow down the process of all these unwanted changes.
What are the benefits of exercise to muscles as we age?
Known to us, Aging inevitably decreases our muscle mass slowly up to some 15% of our lean muscle mass, chiefly resulting from the aging-related slower metabolic rate. Exercise can help maintain muscle strength and mass, which in turn can help burn calories so to maintain a healthy, long, weight, strengthen bones, and restore balance.
When should we exercise?
Every day, and it is never too late to start exercising. Our body responds well to strength training despite aging, which can help reduce the symptoms of some common aging-related health issues like arthritis, diabetes, osteoporosis, obesity, back pain, and even depression.
Do I need to build big muscles so to keep strong?
You don’t have to. Just doing some weight lifting 2-3 times a week will surely help build lean muscle and increase strength. Many studies have confirmed this small amount of strength training can increase bone density, overall strength, and balance. which will naturally decrease the risk to falls leading to fractures at times. According to National Institutes of Health (NIH), more than 1/3 of people of >65 will all a year. Such unwanted falling may result in fracture notably hip fractures which are a major cause of surgeries and disability among the elderly. But the improved strength and balance can lower the risk of falling tremendously.
Besides, exercise can improve physical and mental endurance. The common ways to accomplish this are walking, swimming, cycling, dancing, and tennis.
How does exercise help flexibility as we age?
In addition to the benefits for maintaining muscle mass and endurance, it can ease aging-related physical rigidity so we become more nimble and flexible for the neck, shoulders, elbows, wrists, knees, and ankles.
Can Exercise Help Cognitive Function?
Yes, medical studies have repeatedly demonstrated regular physical exercise can slow the decline in memory and protect against dementia.
Can Physical Exercise Improve Mood/Emotion?
Of course, again, more and more studies confirmed physical exercise can improve the state of mood and emotion, and their related depression which is common to the elderly. As well, exercise may have an anti-depressant effect, by potentially increasing the serotonin in the brain so to make us have better mood and less depression.
Then, How Much Exercise Do We Need to Upkeep Our Health and Fitness?
There would be no definite answer to fit everyone. In fact, the amount of exercise should be tailored to individual healthy state. But some guidelines have recommended by the American College of Sports Medicine and the American Heart Association as follows:
- Aerobic Exercise (walking, jogging, dancing, biking, swimming, etc.: Older adults need moderate-intensity aerobic physical activity for a minimum of 30 minutes five days each week or vigorous intensity aerobic activity for a minimum of 20 minutes three days a week. (Moderate intensity is when you feel “warm and slightly out of breath.” and vigorous is when you feel “out of breath and sweaty.”
- Resistance Exercise (weight lifting, calisthenics: Older adults will benefit from preforming activities that maintain or increase muscular strength and endurance for a minimum of two days each week. It is recommended that eight to 10 exercises be performed on two or more nonconsecutive days per week using the major muscle groups.
- Flexibility Exercise: To maintain the flexibility necessary for regular physical activity and daily life, older adults should perform activities that maintain or increase flexibility at least two days each week or at least 10 minutes each day.
- Balance Exercise: To reduce risk of injury from falls, older adults with substantial risk of falls (for example, with frequent falls or mobility problems) should perform exercises that maintain or improve balance.
How Do We Start Exercise?
In general, it is good idea to talk with your doctors especially if having some active medical issues like those involving heart, lungs, obesity, etc. so to take any possible precautions. Of course, talking with doctors will not guarantee no exercise-related risk, but properly listening to our body so to timely adjust to meet what our body can take and tolerate; this common sense will help by starting slowly and gradually from 3-5 minutes to 5-10 or to 10-20 or 20-20 minutes.
It is a good idea to make weekly exercise plan. Bear in mind that there is no better to go and no one can do for us.
Physical exercise is indispensable to achieve a successful aging so we can look nicer, feel better, and live longer and can help:
- maintain an adequate free-flowing circulation to nourish all tissues and organs as good as possible,
- slow down the process of losing lean muscle mass and bone density,
- maintain physical strength, endurance, flexibility,
- improve mood and cognition,
- prevent depression and falls,
- decrease many adverse effects of falls like fractures and related disabilities.
Let’s Hear From You
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- Of course, if you have additional questions, please do not hesitate to reach me at 734-846-2699 or email@example.com. Further, if needing more help/support? You may set up a private personal counseling so to decide what would be most reasonable for you. Doing so will ease your unnecessary anxiety and fear. Don’t you like that? I am ready for you
James Chin-Ti Lin, M.D.
Certified urologist, award-winning author, and founder of www.ForMeFirst.com