Fitness tips for people over age 50
General Health & Wellness on June 15, 2011. Last modified on April 14, 2020. Read disclaimer.
Good news! Life expectancy is continuing to rise. In the United States, people live an average of 78.37 years and in Canada, 81.38 years. What will you do with that extra time? Spend it enjoying all that life has to offer - or suffering from ailments and conditions many associate with aging? To a certain degree, the choice is up to you. The lifestyle you choose today may in large part determine your lifestyle and independence tomorrow.
What's one major contributing factor to continued good health? Physical activity.
Physical activity boasts health benefits for people of all ages and fitness levels. It's never too late to reap the benefits of exercise. In fact, people who are physically active at least seven hours per week have a 40% less chance of dying prematurely than those who are active 30 minutes per week. Other benefits range from improvements in heart health to improvements in mood and mental health. Bottom line: for a healthy life, you need to move! According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), physical activity can help:
- Increase your chances of living longer
- Control your weight
- Reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease
- Reduce your risk for type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome
- Reduce your risk of some cancers
- Strengthen your bones and muscles
- Improve your mental health and mood
- Improve your ability to do daily activities and prevent falls, if you're an older adult
With all the benefits of physical activity, what are you waiting for? Get started today!
How much exercise is enough?
The most recent Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans recommends at least 2 hours and 30 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise a week and muscle strengthening exercise twice a week. Or, you can do 1 hour and 15 minutes of vigorous intensity aerobic exercise a week and muscle strengthening exercise twice a week. But these are just minimum recommendations. For even more health benefits, increase your activity!
Aerobic exercise consists of activity that gets you breathing harder and your heart pumping. Walking, biking, dancing and even mowing your lawn count as aerobic exercise. Strength training exercises can include lifting weights, using a resistance band, or doing exercises that use your body weight for resistance such as push-ups and sit-ups.
Play it safe
Before beginning any exercise program, consult your healthcare provider. Also, keep these safety tips in mind:
- If you haven't been active in a while, start slowly and build up. Even 10 minutes of exercise several times throughout the day can help boost your health.
- Choose activities that are appropriate for your fitness level.
- Use proper safety gear and sports equipment.
- Warm up before beginning your activity.
- Drink plenty of water while exercising.
- If you are at risk for falling, add balance exercises into your fitness routine.
- If you have a chronic condition or disability, you can still gain the benefits of exercise. Work with your healthcare provider to develop a program that works for you.
From the Salt Lake City family health desk...
Understanding differences in how women and men communicate
Studies show that men and women have different brain structures and use their brains differently.
Using brain-imaging technology that captures blood flow to "working" parts of the brain, researchers analyzed how men and women process language. All subjects listened to a novel being read. When males listened, only left hemispheres of their brains were activated. The brains of the female subjects showed activity on both the left and right hemispheres.
That may explain why women want to talk in "stories;" there is more brain area dedicated to language. A woman wants to talk at length, giving painstaking detail. Women will analyze everything that was said, going over it time and time again, exploring every word, expression and gesture for subtle differences of meaning, considering every possible outcome.
Men will communicate quickly and efficiently, with as little content as possible. Additionally, because they process language with the left hemisphere, which is the logical/rational side of the brain, men tend to approach communication more often with a task-oriented "let's fix the problem" state of mind.
When a woman talks she is wanting to express her "feelings" about the problem.
There are other interesting facts on communication differences. Women speak on average 250 words per minute and men speak 125. This equates to quite a difference in a given day. A women will have spoken 25,000 words compared to a man who only uses 12,000, according to Gary Smalley, author of "Making Love Last Forever."
Understanding how men and women differ when it comes to conversation styles will give everyone a little more consideration when it comes time to discuss emotional issues.