Don’t waste your life, letting your ability to live life and move freely slowly disappear as you get older.
Physical deterioration can be minimized by the use of correct aerobic, strength, flexibility and mobility training. If you exercise correctly you will stay fit for life.
Whatever your age, take it carefully when starting a new exercise program. Remember that you will get fitter over time. It won’t happen all at once just because you want it to.
Staying mobile is perhaps the most important thing you can do as you get older. Your flexibility is limited by several body tissues which should never be stretched: your bones, your connective tissues such as ligaments or the capsule around the joints, your tendons, and your skin.
Stretching these tissues often causes microtears, the formation of scar tissue, and ultimately a loss of flexibility and an increase in the potential for injury. Only stretch them if your doctor or physiotherapist advises it.
You should stretch your muscles. In general, concentrate the center of force of the stretch in the middle of the belly of the muscle being stretched. This will maximize flexibility gains, and reduce the chance of injury to associated soft tissues.
For example, when you stretch your hamstrings on the back of your thigh, you should feel the stretch about 20cm above the back of your knee, up near your buttocks.
If you feel a stretch any lower you are stretching the long hamstring tendons. If you feel the stretch around the knee joint, you are damaging the ligaments around the knee, not increasing your flexibility.
Of course, there are some factors which will tend to cause you to lose flexibility. If you don’t maintain healthy activity as you get older, your body calcify, atrophy, and increase in fibrosis.
Injuries can lead to a loss of flexibility through the formation of scar tissue, and calcification. If you keep pushing your body to the point where it is damaged (the old “no pain no gain” syndrome), you could injure, or cause fibrosis in soft tissue.
This also leads to solidifying of your body and a loss of flexibility and mobility. Even that common occurrence of sore muscles the day after exercise can lead to long-term damage if it occurs regularly!
Soft exercises such as stretching, relaxation, yoga, or Tai Chi will minimize these problems. Stretch after every activity, and at least once per day just for the heck of it: watching TV, sitting in a chair,or even while reading the paper on a Sunday morning.
Fitness is activity specific, so being fit for one activity well not always mean you are fit for other activities. When trying a new activity, spend time adapting to the new demands on your body, no matter how fit, tough, or invincible you think you are.
Take care of your body and it will serve you well for many, many years with just an occasional hiccup.
Over the last six months you have had the opportunity to collect all the information you need to design and implement your own home exercise program, with nothing required except a small carpeted area and the will to improve your body’s fitness. And it doesn’t have to cost you anything!
Using the information, you can now design a program to target one particular aspect of fitness, such as reducing body fat or increasing muscle tone. Or you could design composite program that includes several aspects of fitness in the one workout.
You have the information to put together a plan of attack, so that you don’t get discouraged or lose your way, with your fitness activities slowly fading away and disappearing like the grinning Cheshire cat in Alice in Wonderland.
You can also design a safe and effective exercise program. Each time you exercise you can prepare your body, work it out, recover it, and then give it enough rest and nutrition to allow it to make fitness adaptations.
All you need is to get started. Go to it.
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