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Aging Well: Fitness - Health - Sex


Don Baker Libri


Let's face it: A 50- or 60-year-old body isn't the same as a 20-year-old one. You won't be able to do the same things -- nor should you. But exercise is key to your independence and a good quality of life as you age. So what do you need to think about to be healthy without hurting yourself?What Exercise Does? You lose muscle mass as you get older, and exercise can help you rebuild it. Muscles also burn more calories than fat, even at rest, which will offset your slowing metabolism. Exercise helps stop, delay, and sometimes improve serious illnesses like heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, stroke, Alzheimer's disease, arthritis, and osteoporosis. Cardio or aerobic exercise gets your heart rate up and makes you breathe harder, which builds your endurance and burns calories. Strength or weight training keeps your muscles ready for action. Flexibility exercises help you stay limber so you can have a full range of movement and avoid injury. Balance training becomes important after age 50, so you can prevent falls and stay active.Strength doesn't just involve building large muscles. Lifting weights just two or three times a week can increase strength by building lean muscle. Studies have shown that even this small an amount of strength training can increase bone density, overall strength, and balance. It can also reduce the risk of falls that can lead to fractures. Stronger musculature helps protect you from injury. It makes your bones denser.As we age, balance decreases and falls can lead to fractures. Balance and strength exercises can help maintain balance and reduce the risk of falling.Exercise can increase bone strength and density. Weight-bearing activity in particular is useful as this cause the bones to work harder. Strength training as well strengthens muscles and helps strengthen bones.Exercise helps with cognitive function. Studies have shown that regular physical activity can slow declines in memory and protect against dementia.Rheumatoid arthritis is the most common form of autoimmune arthritis. Exercise is considered the no. 1 non-drug treatment for people suffering from rheumatoid arthritis.In the United States, 10 million people have osteoporosis (80% of those are women), and 34 million are at risk for developing the disease due to low bone density.Here?s some good news. Most of the calories burning you do take no extra effort at all. About 60%-75% of the calories you torch through come from simply keeping your body operating. Like a machine that never turns off, your body is always working and it always needs fuel, whether you?re running a marathon or sleeping. The organs doing most of that extra work are the heart, brain, lungs, liver, and kidneys, which together make up about 80% of the total calories
 
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