Optimum Fitness for Middle Age – Part 2
With all exercise programs mentioned in this section, and part one, you should exercise smart, not hard, and you should never push any joint to lock out. By exercising for longevity you want to maintain your body, prevent injury, and take care of any previous injuries.
Pilates is a modern “cousin” to Yoga and has received much well deserved publicity, in the past decade. Many Pilates exercises are similar to Yoga practice. The founder, Joseph Pilates, was a practitioner of Yoga, martial arts, and other fitness systems. He was an innovator, inventing physical rehabilitation equipment during World War I, and a health maintenance system that honors his name.
Much like Yoga, movement is generally low impact, slow, safe, and thorough. Although Pilates is well known for toning the core muscles, it is a complete health maintenance system for the body. There is no meditation practice, in a traditional Pilates class, but focus on breath is a “corner stone” of Pilates practice.
Walking has so many benefits, for a simple low impact exercise, and yet it is often ignored. The average walker will live longer due to the fact they have less problems with stroke, diabetes, heart disease, cancer, and other life threatening conditions.
Like many other forms of exercise, walking is subject to many studies. It has been found that walking two miles per day contributes to longevity. In the January 8, 1998 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine, there was an article about a Honolulu Heart Study with 8,000 male participants. This study took 12-years and it was found that walking two miles per day reduced the chance of death by nearly half. That study alone makes walking an exercise worth participating in, whether you choose to walk indoors or outside.
Cycling is a good, low impact, and aerobic workout. You can also build strength, in your legs, with a little intensity. Depending on the level of intensity you can burn 250-400 calories per hour or more. Just like walking, you can cycle indoors or outside, but there are safety guidelines to be aware of, for outdoor cycling. If you do bike outside, be cautious, observe the rules of the road, wear safety gear, and use bike trails when possible. Stay aware, at all times, when you are biking outdoors.
Dieting and nutrition are major factors in fitness. Your meals should be moderate in size, and spread out over the course of the day. You should make it a point to eat nutritionally dense meals, take a good vitamin / mineral supplement, and drink plenty of water every day.
Habits to avoid are eating too much takeout food, eating at restaurants, eating large portions, and unconscious eating. So, make it a point to carry fresh fruit, vegetables, and healthy snacks with you. This will stop you from impulse buying at the next drive-thru, and over consumption of food, at a single sitting.
In the next and last article of this series, we will discuss more nutritional tips and more low impact exercise options.