Forever young naturally exercise
Working the Body
. By strengthening muscles and bones as the body ages, exercise sustains good posture, bone density, and joint mobility, which in turn keeps you active and able to exercise a positive spiral. And by boosting the efficiency of the cardiovascular system (heart and lungs), exercise helps every part of the body function efficiently.
Working the Body How often
. Aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate physical activity most days of the week (at least five). To prevent weight gain, you might need to boost that time slot to 60 minutes. Two of those sessions should incorporate weight training. If you find it hard to make a full hour available, breaking sessions down into 10-minute time bands doesnít seem to reduce the health benefits.
Working the Body When not to exercise
. Consult your doctor before beginning an exercise program, especially if you have a medical condition, back, muscle or joint problems, mobility limitations, or are exercising for the first time. Always tell exercise instructors about health problems. If you feel under the weather, have a fever or are coming down with the flu donít exercise. After a cold or the flu allow time for recovery before returning to the gym, and take it easy for the first few sessions. Donít try to work through injury: reduce your level of training for a couple of weeks or until you see improvement.
Working the Body Work with your doctor
. Many family doctors prescribe exercise instead of medication as the first round of treatment for certain chronic health conditions. Ask your doctor about exercise programs run in association with a local gym or sports club.
Working the Body Build up slowly
. Harness the enthusiasm to become superfit when it strikes, but donít launch wholeheartedly into hardcore aerobics sessions right away. If you are new to exercise, it might be better to search out a class specifically designed for older people yoga or aqua fitness is a good place to start and to take things easy, working to a level at which you feel comfortable. You can train to run a marathon or learn to do a headstand, but build up to it slowly.
Working the Body Time to enjoy
. Some people like to jumpstart the day with a swim or early-bird yoga class. Others prefer to exercise in the late afternoon or early evening, when muscles are more supple, joints less creaky and coordination better. Find a time that suits you: the more you enjoy working out, the more likely it is that you will keep to your fitness resolutions.
Working the Body Work benefits
. Find out if your workplace offers fitness facilities or discounts on gym membership. Many employees fail to use these perks simply because they donít know about them.
Working the Body Active leisure
. Plan family time and business networking around physical activity. If you spend Saturday morning swimming or playing tennis with kids and one evening a week bowling or learning to dance with colleagues, everyone gains.
Working the Body Exercise outdoors
. It can be joyous to exercise outdoors a boost for spirit as well as body. The feel-good buzz after exercising in nature leaves you feeling exhilarated, yet grounded and calm. Whenever possible, find an excuse to walk a clifftop path, go jogging at dawn, swim in the ocean, or practice yoga in the yard (upwardfacing poses take on another dimension when you stare at the sky). Find a tíai chi class that practices regularly in a park: gain courage from numbers.
Working the Body Four stage workout
. For an effective workout make sure your exercise sessions include four main elements: a gentle warm-up followed by aerobic or cardiovascular exercise to work the heart and lungs, weight-bearing exercises to strengthen muscles and bones, and finally a cool down stretch and relaxation.
Working the Body Donít rush
. Donít be anxious to speed through to the part of an exercise program you believe does you most good: sit-ups perhaps or yoga backbends. It might be more useful for your muscles, joints, and commitment to spend time in relaxation at the start of a yoga class releasing tense parts of the body toward the floor, or to devote adequate time to warming up in preparation for cardio work.
Working the Body Take breaks
. If you exercise regularly, donít be afraid to take time out for vacations and illness. Make sure you have one day of rest each week. Sometimes having a break allows us insights into new ways of working, and builds up enthusiasm when we feel jaded. If you are training very hard, for a marathon perhaps, be aware that you run the risk of depleting your immune system. In one study people who ran the Los Angeles marathon were six times more susceptible to a cold or the flu than those who exercised regularly but didnít run the race.
Working the Body Keep hydrated
. Itís important to keep hydrated during exercise as you get older. Even if you drink the recommended eight glasses of water a day, drink more after taking sweaty exercise to replace lost fluids.
Working the Body When thereís no time
. If you feel you do not have enough time to exercise, try writing a schedule, blocking out time in your diary for fitness sessions as you would for a work meeting or doctorís appointment. Consider that time sacred and donít allow anything to eat into it. You owe it to yourself, your family, and your job to be good-natured, efficient, and focused, and exercise brings all these benefits.
Working the Body Warning signs
. Stop exercising and seek medical advice if you suffer any of the following symptoms:
back or pelvic pain
shortness of breath (mild breathlessness is good)
headaches and dizziness
muscle weakness or extreme fatigue
calf pain or swelling
. The most effective way to ensure you work out consistently is to choose activities that make you feel positive and confident about yourself, and to train in a place convenient to home or work. If you struggle to keep up with your class or you have to travel miles, you find you run out of the willpower you need to drag yourself off the sofa.
Which Exercise Taste first
. If you donít find a form of exercise that suits you, you wonít stick with it. Try a few taster sessions before signing up to a course of lessons.
Which Exercise Be daring
. Try a new activity once a month: if you enjoy dance, try a ballet workshop, or go for something completely not you, such as soccer. Dare yourself to try a sport you enjoy watching but have never plucked up courage to do surfing or skating, trampolining or climbing.
Which Exercise Go with the seasons
. Keep the mind alert by varying activities with the seasons. Enjoy outdoor exercise on light summer evenings: find a tennis partner or join a softball team. In winter, cosset yourself in a cozy yoga class or warm up with an intimate salsa session.
Which Exercise Dance for joie de vivre
. Bollywood to belly-dancing, samba to tango, line dancing to buttshaking street styles, dancing is the way to exercise without knowing youíre exercising. Learning and executing steps and working to complex rhythms exercises brain as well as muscles, and posture awareness becomes second nature.
Which Exercise Classes for company
. If you are the kind of person who can always find an excuse not to exercise, organized classes might suit you best. Having others ready to drag you along might also help organize a group from the office to attend classes so you canít opt out.
Which Exercise Tíai chi to oil the joints
. With its controlled, gentle, and continuous movements, tíai chi is particularly good if you arenít as mobile as you once were, since it builds muscle and bone strength without putting pressure on the joints. It benefits the brain and mood by focusing and calming mind and body, and its rebalancing breathing techniques offer insight into how we breathe when we move. Learn with a well-trained teacher.
Which Exercise Yoga for everyone
. Whatever your stage of life, yoga is the perfect form of exercise for mind and body, and itís never too late to start. As well as the obvious physical benefits (improving posture, boosting circulation, promoting balance and coordination, strengthening core muscles), yoga helps you stop and focus within, which is both stressbusting and energizing. It sheds light on other areas of life, such as emotions and relationships, that might need work. It also teaches breath-control techniques to calm, focus, and rebalance body and mind.
Which Exercise Choose your type
. Iyengar yoga is the best starting point if you would like a structured grounding in the poses with close teacher supervision. If you prefer a challenging cardio and strength workout, look for Ashtanga or power yoga, Bikram or hot yoga, or vinyasa classes that teach flowing sequences of poses. To explore the spiritual side of yoga, try Sivananda or Kundalini yoga. Hatha yoga classes often offer a mix of approaches.
Which Exercise Yoga as therapy
. Yoga may be effective for numerous health conditions, ranging from back pain and depression to carpal tunnel syndrome and arthritis. If you have a health condition, find a yoga therapy teacher who will set out a program of postures and breathing exercises specially tailored to your condition.
Which Exercise Try Pilates
. Pilates classes suit those who donít enjoy sweaty forms of exercise, people with injuries and those keen to maintain good posture with age. The movements are very low impact you might find them imperceptible at first and focus on strengthening core muscles in the center of the body that support the spine and pelvis. Breathing techniques enhance the moves. Pilates is effective at increasing mobility, developing core strength and flexibility, achieving good body alignment, and helping prevent back problems. It also instils a sense of discipline and understanding of how the body moves, ensuring flowing movement continues as we age.
Which Exercise Go swimming for mobility
. Supportive but resistant, relaxing yet energizing, water is the ideal medium in which to exercise safely the heart and lungs, muscles, and bones. Aim for a 20-minute swim 3Ė6 times a week. Water exercise is especially beneficial if you have aching joints: buoyant water supports body weight, reducing the strain on vulnerable areas such as knees and hips. Water resistance makes for effective toning and strengthening, especially of thigh and chest muscles. It also soothes puffy legs as water pressure encourages the movement of fluids back into the bloodstream, reducing swelling. Swimming promotes deep, controlled breathing and studies show that exercising in water boosts the immune system.
Which Exercise Water fitness
. If you canít swim confidently but want to share the benefits of exercising supported by water, take a walk in a calm ocean or try an aqua aerobic class in the shallow end of a pool. In studies, women who exercise in water have reduced heart rates and blood pressure compared with those who exercise on land.
Which Exercise Walk for strength
. Walking is not just good for maintaining bone density, it can be as good for the heart as jogging, suggests a small study. Brisk walking, covering 1ĹĖ2 miles a week, can reduce the risk of developing cardiovascular disease. Aim for this modest distance when you start walking, building on it to gain even more health benefits as fitness and self-confidence increase.
Which Exercise Take a hike
. All you need for walking outdoors is a pair of walking boots. Walking off road brings extra benefits because as the terrain changes you have to adjust your posture and vary the muscles used, which also stimulates the brain. Warm up with slow strides then speed up gradually, pumping your arms. Once warm, alternate short steps and long strides, tackle inclines, and introduce interval training 10 steps jogging followed by 10 steps walking.
Which Exercise Train to run a marathon
. The average age for competitors in the London marathon is 39. Many older people embark upon a half or full marathon as an opportunity to prove to themselves and others that life truly does begin at 40, 50, or more. Completing the course is a great way to boost self-confidence when your peer group is struggling with midlife crises. If you are raising money for charity while you run, it makes your personal challenge all the more meaningful.
Which Exercise Rowing for good posture
. Working out on water can be a source of sheer pleasure, especially in the early morning. Seek out a rowing club or kayak classes at your local pool or reservoir. Rowing is great for building strength while the body is supported and insists on good posture, which conditions the core muscles and works the heart and lungs.
Which Exercise Racket sports for
. reaction times Tennis, badminton, and squash enhance coordination and reaction times and are a tonic for the brain, since itís disadvantageous to your game to zone out while playing. Aside from the obvious benefits for heart and lungs, agility, and strength, belonging to a sports club is a boost to your psychological health since most welcome members to a range of social activities.
Which Exercise Cycling to get around
. Exercise the heart and lungs while supporting the joints on a stationary bike as you watch TV or let your cycle be a means of transportation. Don a helmet, gloves and fluorescent clothing and appreciate how liberating it is to be freed from bus timetables and traffic jams. Donít worry about inhaling pollutantsóthe health benefits of cycling outweigh the risks.
Which Exercise Look into local
. fitness classes If you prefer to exercise with a teacher up front demonstrating what you need to do, join a fitness class at your local gym. Read the gym prospectus in advance to find out which classes suit your level of fitness: general toning classes for legs, butt and abs can be quite gentle, as can some classes involving fitness balls. Others, such as spinning, circuit training, boxing training, and cardio step, might require a good level of muscle strength and stamina. Itís a good idea to have a word with the instructor if you are not sure which class suits you.
Exercising the Brain
. From the mid 20s, brain function starts to decline, although you may not notice this until decades later. New learning experiences help stop the rot by strengthening and extending the connections (and networks) in the brain that enable us to store memories and stay sharp. However bad your memory is now, mental aerobics, good nutrition and moderate physical activity can improve thinking and memory skills.
Exercising the Brain Cook with sage
. Sage is traditionally associated with improving memory. Research has shown that people who take sage oil in capsule form before memory tests perform better than those who take a placebo. The purple variety is best use it to flavor roasts and sauces or make a cup of surprisingly drinkable tea.
Exercising the Brain Take ginkgo
. The herb Ginkgo biloba has earned its reputation as a brain tonic because it has a beneficial effect on the peripheral blood circulation, improving blood supply to the brain. (It helps with hemorrhoids and varicose veins for the same reason.) Gingko is prescribed to dementia patients in France and Germany. Take as a herbal extract or tincture as prescribed by your herbalist or following instructions on the pack. Avoid if taking other medication.
Exercising the Brain Switch hands
. Use your ďwrongĒ hand to manipulate the mouse, brush teeth and hair, and open doors. This expands the circuits in the part of the brain that processes that hand.
Exercising the Brain Everyday mental challenges
. Get into the habit of tackling a crossword or Sudoku puzzle most days. One study found that people who complete a crossword four times a week appeared to reduce their risk of dementia by 47 percent.
Exercising the Brain Rearrange familiar objects
. Move objects you habitually reach for without thinking in the morning: alarm clock, toothbrush, cutlery, breakfast cereal. This forces your brain to shift into gear early on and may make mornings more wakeful.
Exercising the Brain Become a lifelong student
. Continuing study through each new decade keeps the brain performing in a youthful way. Book an adult education course (to maintain interest make it a subject you feel passionate about), join a book group or local history society, a choir with a challenging and changing repertoire, or try something practical such as car maintenance. The group aspect is important because socializing keeps the memory sharp and brain agile.
Exercising the Brain Learn a language
. Enrol in a language school or invest in a course to follow in the car or on the train. Learning languages stimulates the frontal lobes, the part of the brain that functions less efficiently as we age. Book a vacation in a country that speaks your chosen language and download some local information. With a dictionary, pick through the weather report, arts reviews, and events guides.
Exercising the Brain Build up to daily meditation
. Find 10 to 20 minutes a day to sit quietly. Researchers found that daily meditation may slow agerelated brain deterioration by altering the physical structure of the brain. People who meditated for 40 minutes a day had a more dense cerebral cortex than people who did not. In other studies, practitioners of Transcendental Meditation demonstrated cognitive, perceptual and physical abilities equivalent to people up to 10 years their junior.
Exercising the Brain Holy fig tree pose
. Balancing postures in yoga require you to find a focus point and maintain concentration on it. This not only helps you find and explore your center of gravity to prevent falls, but also enhances memory skills.
1. Stand tall, feet hip-width apart. Step forward with your right foot. Straighten your left leg and lift it behind you, keeping your hips level.
2. If you feel steady, lift your right arm overhead, your fingers pulling upward and your shoulder dropping away from your ear.
3. Lift your left arm 45į to the side, stretching fingertips. Look forward, and visualize each limb stretching on its own plane. Repeat on other side.
Exercising the Brain Basic meditating
. Set an alarm to ring in five minutes. Sit with your spine upright, feet flat on the floor, palms resting on thighs. Relax your shoulders and jaw and switch off from everyday concerns. Close your eyes. Focus on your breath moving in and out. Let this steer you away from trains of thought. If it helps, breathe in to a count of three or four. Exhale to the same count. When distractions arise, focus on your counting or awareness of your flow of breath in and out. Return to regular breathing as the alarm rings and slowly open your eyes. Once you feel easy with the technique, increase meditation time in increments of 5 minutes.
Exercising the Brain Enjoy family and friends
. Make time to enjoy the company of friends and family. In one study of older people, those with emotional support from a strong social network were more likely to retain memory, abstract thinking and language skills, even if the relationships were testing!
Exercising the Brain Scent your day
. Perfume various times of day with different aromas to establish associations that trigger new neural pathways. Scent the car with 2 drops of essential oil of basil. Follow your morning shower with a distinctly scented body oil.
Exercising the Brain Vacation senses
. Choose a new scented soap for a vacation or weekend away. This will stimulate memories of your break when you use it again at home.
Exercising the Brain Eat greens
. Consume foods containing plant antioxidants, such as spinach and blueberries. An American study suggests this helps reverse mental decline as we age. Plants that are also rich in folate are even better: researchers found older men who ate folate-rich leafy greens and citrus fruit had significantly less age-related decline in memory and brain function over three years than those whose diets were low in folate.
Exercising the Brain Dine on fish
. Eating fish at least once a week can slow the rate of cognitive decline in older people by up to 13 percent per year, reports one study. Other research suggests omega-3 fatty acids in oily fish are vital for the functioning of brain-cell receptors. Eat different varieties mackerel, sardines, and organically farmed trout two or three times a week.
Exercising the Brain Include iron
. Anemia may cloud the memory with age because iron helps transport oxygen to the brain. For iron, eat red meat, poultry, fish, and eggs, and if vegetarian, plenty of legumes, nuts, seeds, and whole grains, dark leafy greens, apricots and dark chocolate. For maximum absorption, accompany with a source of vitamin C, such as freshly squeezed orange juice, and the B vitamins found in yeast extract.
Exercising the Brain Zinc for thinking
. Zinc helps us think (find it in meat, poultry, fish, nuts, seeds, whole grains, and onions). Absorption is blocked by a large intake of iron so monitor your zinc intake diligently if you have an iron-rich diet.
Exercising the Brain Care about choline
. In a study of adults over 50, a fiveweek supplement of choline halved memory lapse. This mineral aids the absorption and use of good fats, vital for cell membranes, and helps the transmission of signals across nerve endings in the brainís networks. Add meat, nuts, and eggs into your diet daily.
Exercising the Brain Try stimulating teas
. Incorporate new herbal teas into your day. Lemon balm seems to help the brain store and retrieve information. Green and black tea are associated with preventing memory loss with age. Peppermint tea stimulates the brain, promoting concentration and alertness.
Exercising the Brain Unplug the phone
. The constant ping of emails and interruption of phone calls can cause IQ to drop by 10 points found a study commissioned by Hewlett-Packard, leading to loss of concentration and problem-solving skills. Unplug the phone and resist the temptation to check emails for two-hour runs when you need to achieve results. Get up and walk across the office to talk to people instead, which also counts toward your daily activity quotient.
Exercising the Brain Play games
. Games such as chess and checkers that force you to think ahead, plan alternative strategies, and preguess othersí moves are very valuable. They also advance spatial awareness (useful for reading maps).
Exercising the Brain Change tack
. Get outdoors for a walk to boost circulation to the brain when you have a problem to solve. Switch off and turn your focus to your surroundings with your nose, ears, and sense of touch. Walk backward and sideways to forge new circuits in the brain. After 15 minutes, start your return journey. Now ponder potential solutions.
Exercising the Brain Mall strolling
. Research with older adults shows that brisk walking in indoor malls is a valuable addition to the 30 minutes a day exercise rule. See if a mall near you runs a walking program for year-round socializing to keep the brain sharp.
. Getting outfitted with the right pair of shoes or specialized equipment for your chosen activity helps you relax and feel comfortable. This helps boost your motivation to keep exercising, and so raise the amount of physical activity in your daily life, leading to more muscle, denser bones, healthier organs, and increased energy.
Exercise Essentials Comfortable clothes
. Choose garments loose enough to permit a good range of movement (in particular avoid restrictive waistbands, shoulder straps, and underwire bras), yet not so baggy that they catch on limbs or fall off when you bend over. Women engaging in jogging and other jerky movements might feel more comfortable in a sports bra. Layers are vital for sports in which you start cold then get hot. Choose pure wool base layers for dryness and comfort.
Exercise Essentials The right shoes are essential
. You need the right shoes for whichever activity you choose. For activities involving jogging, running, or jumping, choose cross-training shoes with cushioning and other built-in features to support the spine (some shoes have cushioning specially positioned for beginning runners). Ask advice at a sporting goods store (rather than a fashion sneaker store); even better, shop at a gym selling sports equipment.
Exercise Essentials Suitable socks
. Appropriate socks are important: some running socks have mesh sections for air circulation and are seam-free to prevent blisters. Try outdoors or extreme-sports stores for socks with cushioning and in a range of performance fabrics.
Exercise Essentials Changing room courage
. If communal changing rooms make you feel anxious, put on exercise gear beneath regular clothes before you go or choose sessions at a quiet time of day. Do a tour of all the local sports centers to find a place where you feel comfortable. As you become more addicted to the endorphin high that follows a good exercise session you might feel less concerned.
Exercise Essentials Love your yoga mat
. Buy a real yoga mat (not a camping mat) with a sticky finish to prevent palms and soles from slipping away from each other in postures such as downward dog and triangle-based legwork. Support should be so effortless that you forget youíre on a mat. Mats that retain the outline of feet when you step away are useful for checking alignment. Make sure the mat can be machine washed without disintegrating. Choose a color you love: the more attached you are to your yoga mat, the more youíll want to put in practice hours.
Exercise Essentials Take a towel
. If youíre prone to perspiring, take a towel along to your exercise class. Use it to wipe brow and hands (to prevent slipping) or as a hygienic layer if you have to lie on shared mats. A rolled-up towel can be useful to cushion bony parts of the body when working on a yoga mat, or to provide support beneath sitting bones or heels in certain postures.
Exercise Essentials Blocks and bolsters
. Yoga foam or, even better, cork blocks help you into poses you could not otherwise achieve. They are used in some types of yoga not only by beginners, but by experienced practitioners to achieve lift, opening, or support that allows a student to extend farther, reach higher, or sink more effectively. Donít buy them before you start a class; see what the teacher advises (various schools of yoga have different thoughts about their use) and try a selection of thicknesses and shapes in class to see which you prefer. Some poses call for the cushioning of a firm bolster.
Exercise Essentials Fitness balls
. Some forms of fitness training are based around a large inflated ball. Sit on it to practice balancing, lie over it prone or supine for sit-ups, back extensions, and push-ups. Or lie on the floor raising legs against the ball to isolate action in one set of muscles and prevent larger, more often used muscle groups from taking over. Do attend a class to learn the basics with a trained instructor, since balls are fun but can be challenging to stay on.
Exercise Essentials Bands and belts
. Flexible bands might be called for in toning classes in place of hand weights to provide enough resistance for an effective bicep curl or side raise. Donít buy your own until youíve tested them out in class and know how they work. Buckled fabric belts are used in yoga to help students into poses, for instance, when unable to reach toes or keep legs in a crossed position. They are extremely effective.
Exercise Essentials Blankets
. Always take a blanket to yoga. Itís useful to cushion ankles, knees, and hips in sitting and prone postures and is essential for final relaxation, when you lie on your back without moving for up to 10 minutes. The body cools quickly when motionless, so covering yourself with a blanket is vital in winter and in cold studios. Being covered up adds to the sense of retreating within to find inner calm you may find you donít want to emerge at the end of the session.
. If you arenít naturally sporty you may find the lure of the TV, bathtub, or bar too strong to keep up an effective exercise regime. A range of actions may help, from recruiting a friend to accompany you on jogging sessions or fitness classes to plotting your progress in a diary.
Keeping Motivated Enlist a friend
. Working out with a buddy is one of the best ways of maintaining motivation, but donít let your relationship become competitive. Each of us has a different exercise history, body type, and levels of mental and physical stamina. We also all have differing requirements and expectations of an exercise regime. If you find your exercise partner is making you feel disheartened because she can stretch farther or hit harder than you, then it is probably time to find a new partner.
Keeping Motivated Solitary thought
. Some people prefer to exercise alone, so they are better able to switch off and enjoy exercise almost as a form of meditation. If that applies to you, you might prefer jogging or swimming, walking or Mysore-style self-practice yoga rather than a cheery group of badminton players.
Keeping Motivated Women only sessions
. Seek out women-only mornings or evenings to avoid having to face rows of sweaty young muscle men in the gym (unless thatís part of the attraction). Being surrounded by people like you rather than young exercise fiends in tight-fitting lycra can prevent motivation from slipping away. Women-only evenings also often offer attractive add-ons, such as free use of the sauna or steam room or a complimentary swim.
Keeping Motivated Set realistic goals
. Donít expect to see impressive results instantly. Although it can help motivation to choose an activity in which you can see progression relatively quickly, itís good to keep fitness expectations realistic. Talk to gym staff about drawing up personal fitness targets, and ask for help in monitoring them. If you join an exercise class with fewer than 10 members and a regular teacher, the teacher should be able to push you toward a path thatís right for you. If you donít feel youíre getting results, splurge on a session with a personal trainer to discuss and establish realistic expectations.
Keeping Motivated Keep an exercise diary
. To chart progress, fill in an exercise diary. Donít try to see progression with every exercise session this can be too dispiriting but every month make a list of the things you can do that you werenít able to before. Each small change signals a more youthful you.
Keeping Motivated Online communities
. It can help to join an online community of exercisers, especially if you are training for a national event, such as a charity fun run or a marathon. Online youíll find progressive training plans, troubleshooting tips, and advice from expert coaches, and youíll be able to moan to, enthuse, and egg on fellow exercisers on message boards.
Keeping Motivated Think yourself active
. If you think of yourself as an active person who exercises you are more likely to become one, a study suggests. If youíve lived a largely sedentary life until now, this mindshift may take some getting used to. It can help to join a club of active people, who naturally include you in their fitness activities. Affirmations are helpful, too: start repeating to yourself ďI am active and fit.Ē
Keeping Motivated Expect to succeed
. Those who expect health to decline with age are less likely to be physically active researchers have found. Keep your expectations of good health high and you are more likely to stay active and mobile regardless of age.
Keeping Motivated Motivation tip
. Although older people tend to get exhausted more quickly by physical tasks than people in their 20s and 30s, researchers have found that older people who exercise regularly increase their fitness levels more quickly than younger co-exercisers.
Build Exercise into Life
. If exercising at the gym is just another chore you donít have the energy or enthusiasm to keep up, squeeze opportunities for exercise into your home and work life. Walk donít drive, use stairs instead of elevators, and take a brisk stroll at lunchtime. Spend weekends working in the yard. Harness the urge to spring clean or clutter-clear, scrubbing floors and painting walls to keep fit, and enjoy the feel-good mood that comes when endorphins are released by exercise.
Build Exercise into Life Stand up
. Simply stand more to gain health benefits: researchers at the Mayo Clinic found that obese people sit for two and a half hours longer a day than those who are leaner.
Build Exercise into Life Toothbrush pliť
. Think about how you can build exercises into your daily routines. For example, hereís how to work the thighs and buttocks by doing a pliť while brushing your teeth. Take a good step to the side, angling your feet outward. Hold the basin lightly for support and balance, if necessary. As you exhale, draw your tummy muscles toward your spine. As you inhale, lengthen your torso. On the next exhalation bend your knees over your toes. Hold for a few seconds, pulling up your pelvic floor muscles. Inhaling, straighten your legs back to the starting position. Repeat up to 12 times. Build up to three sets.
Build Exercise into Life Walking the dog
. If you are a dog owner, you have no choice but to exercise every day. Dog walking is a great antiaging tonic, since it also involves socializing with other owners.
Build Exercise into Life Active commuting
. Get off your bus or train one stop early and walk the rest of the trip. When the walk becomes easily do-able (as fitness levels improve), get off a stop earlier. Over a few weeks build up to a 20-minute walk before reaching work.
Build Exercise into Life Travel meditation
. In Zen Buddhism zazen, ďjust sitting,Ē is a form of meditation in itself. Try it on the train or bus. Sit upright, palms on thighs. Soften your gaze, looking forward and down. Focus inside and follow your breath. Watch thoughts and sensations as an observer, aware of but disinterested in them.
Build Exercise into Life Make the most of lunchtime
. Get outdoors every day for a brisk lunchtime stroll. A Canadian study suggests people who walk for 30 minutes at a time burn more fat and have lower tension levels than those who exercise in shorter bursts.
Build Exercise into Life Up your pace
. Increase your pace when walking. Award yourself a point for every person you overtake and deduct one for anyone who overtakes you. Within reason, set yourself a higher tally target each week.
Build Exercise into Life Using stairs
. When you first walk up the stairs at work, in department stores, and in subways notice how your heart and breathing race. After using stairs regularly for a few weeks, chart your progress your breathing will be less ragged and your heart will pound less.
Build Exercise into Life Start fidgeting
. Research shows that fidgeters who move around a great deal, tapping toes, walking to the water cooler, and pacing while they think tend to lead more active lives and are leaner as a result. Cultivate a few fidgets.
Build Exercise into Life Chores as exercise
. Energetic car washing forms a valuable part of a home exercise regime. Work at a continual pace until slightly out of breath, stretching, scrubbing, carrying, and pitching buckets of water. Vacuuming adds value when sustained over 10 minutes or more. Use the pectoral muscles in your chest when maneuvering upright cleaners, paying attention to good posture and engaging core abdominal muscles.
Build Exercise into Life Creating space
. Set aside a dedicated space at home for exercise and meditation. Choose a quiet sanctuary where you feel comfortable and confident. Clear away clutter, then sweep or mopó add 2Ė3 drops of essential oil of lemon grass or eucalyptus to final rinse water to quicken the senses.
Build Exercise into Life Gardening for fitness
. Half an hourís vigorous yardwork digging, mowing, carrying watering cans, forking sacks of manure counts as one exercise session.
Build Exercise into Life Turn off the TV
. On average people spend four hours daily in front of the TV. Aim to employ your leisure time more actively to contribute to your daily 30 minutesí exercise. At home declare non-TV days throw a cover over the set if needs be.
Build Exercise into Life Ad break squat
. Strengthen abdominals and thighs by standing with head, shoulders, and buttocks pressed against a wall, feet a foot or so in front, hip-width apart. Bend your knees and slide down the wall a little. Exhaling, contract your abdominal muscles and tilt your pelvis so your lower back presses against the wall. If you canít see your knees when you look down, exhale and descend until you can. Aim to hold, breathing evenly, until the end of the ad break.
Build Exercise into Life Door jamb stretch
. If you habitually hunch forward, collapsing the chest, you prevent a full intake of antiaging oxygen with each in-breath. As an antidote, stand in a doorway. Place your palms and forearms on the door jamb on each side. Without moving your arms, push your chest forward, and step one foot through the door arch. Feel an energizing stretch across the chest.
Active in the Office
. Muscles that stay in the same position for long hours as they do when you work at a desk without a break eventually weaken and become prone to injury as the body ages. Stretching at your desk helps keep the muscles limber and boosts your productivity by increasing circulation to the brain for a wake-up effect and a shot of feel-good hormones.
Active in the Office Sticky reminder
. Stick a note on your desk or computer, reminding you to take a break every 20 minutes. Take a few minutes to walk around and stretch.
Active in the Office Wrist recovery
. After a period of mouse use, circle your wrists inward, then outward. Try to keep the rest of your forearm stationary. Holding your left fingers with your right palm, left palm facing upward, stretch your left arm away, pushing through the wrist and pulling your fingers toward your elbow. Repeat on the other arm.
Active in the Office Shoulder rolls
. When neck and shoulders feel tense, for instance, after holding a phone in the crook of your neck, scrunch your shoulders up to your ears. Squeeze tightly and hold. Exhaling, let everything go, sighing. Repeat three or four times, then roll your shoulders very slowly up, back, and down. Reverse the action.
Active in the Office Lunchtime rest
. Take every opportunity to lie on your front if you work at a desk. Go to the park at lunchtime and lie with legs hip-width apart. Bend your arms and rest your forehead on your hands. If you can, let your heels flop inward. Consciously release tension in the lower back. Imagine the pelvic area becoming warm, heavy, and sinking into soft sand, aches and pains dissolving. Feel your breath in your belly, pressing against the support of the ground.
Active in the Office Desk roll down
. To release tension in the neck, shoulders and lower back, sit tall with feet flat on the floor, arms dangling from the shoulder joints. Exhaling, let the weight of your head bring your chin toward your chest. Keep rolling down extremely slowly, allowing your shoulders to droop forward. Come to rest with eyes on knees, arms hanging heavily, palms on the floor. Roll up very slowly on inhalations.
Active in the Office After work release
. Lie on your back, legs hip-width apart, knees bent, feet flat on the floor, arms by your side. Lift your toes, splay, then replace. Inhaling, imagine breathing into the back of your pelvis. Feel everything soften. Exhale and relax your pelvis toward the floor. Inhaling, feel your upper back widen and soften. Exhaling, let your shoulder blades melt into the floor. Lengthen the back of the neck. Feel your head, pelvis and feet supported by the floor.
Active in the Office Seated side bend
. The sides of the torso rarely lengthen in everyday activities yet need to do so to maintain good posture. Sit tall on a supportive chair, feet flat on the floor, tailbone weighted heavily on the chair. Exhaling, draw your abdominal muscles toward your lower back. Inhaling, slowly lengthen your left side, growing out of the pelvis and into your underarm. Let your right arm and shoulder drop toward the floor. When you feel your lower back engage stop. Inhaling, come back to center and repeat on the other side.
Active in the Office Seated rotation
. To slow loss of spinal mobility with age, rotate the spine daily. It recharges vital energy, helping to relieve lower back pain and digestive ills. Sit tall facing forward, feet flat on the floor. Exhaling, turn your entire trunk to face left. Anchor in your right buttock to keep the pelvis facing forward. When you have twisted as far as comfort allows, turn your head to look over your left shoulder. With each inhalation let your spine grow up from its base to the crown of your head. With exhalations, see if you can gently turn farther from the base of the spine. Come back to center on an inhalation. Rotate to the other side.
. Good posture is the essence of a young-looking body. Aligning the joints dissolves tension in the shoulders and lower back, allows your spine to find its full range of motion, promotes easier breathing and defines your figure, helping you look trimmer and more self-confident. Good posture also prevents neck problems, exercises the abdominal and pelvic muscles, protects your back as you lift and carry, and makes fitness workouts more effective.
Maintaining Posture Check yourself
. Poor posture can lead to backache and a stiff neck and shoulders, not to mention a stooped profile. Stiff areas arenít used and so become stiffer, other body parts taking over to compensate, leading to imbalances and problems with flexibility and strength. Check your posture at regular intervals, perhaps when you stop at a red light or on the hourly news report. Stretch, shake out tension, and restack the vertebrae.
Maintaining Posture Sitting posture
. On a chair, imagine your tailbone is dropping heavily onto the seat behind you. This helps bring your spine into neutral. Let the crown of your head float toward the ceiling; tuck the chin in slightly to keep the neck long. Visualize space between each vertebra.
Maintaining Posture Against the wall
. Sit cross-legged with your lower back touching a wall. Anchor your legs and buttocks to the floor. Inhaling, feel your spine grow out of your hips. Breathing out, draw your abdominal muscles back. On your next inhalation, rest both shoulder blades against the wall. Visualize the crown of your head growing taller.
Maintaining Posture Adjust your chair
. Choose an adjustable office chair. Move the seat until both feet are flat on the floor, legs hip-width apart, knees over ankles, backs of thighs well supported. Adjust the back of the seat to support your lower back with shoulders balanced over hips, ears aligned with the shoulders. Position the monitor so that you face forward. Keep elbows at right angles to upper arms, shoulders relaxed.
Maintaining Posture Look in the mirror
. Look at how youíre standing. Does one hip jut forward? Is all your body weight balanced on one foot? Is one ma inta ining postur e 67 shoulder higher or does your head tilt to one side? Which parts of your body look tense? How are your shoulders, jaw, chest and stomach?
Maintaining Posture While you wait
. Practice standing well at the supermarket checkout, while waiting for a bus, or at the water cooler. Stand with feet hip-width apart, outside edges parallel. Shift your bodyweight so it is equal between both feet: sway from side to side and forward and back to test your balance. Center your hips over your knees. Draw your abdominal muscles back and bring your buttocks together without gripping. Extend from hips to armpits equally on both sides. Broaden your chest, relax your shoulders, keeping them centered over your hips, and lift through the back of the neck.
Maintaining Posture Walking tall
. To improve your posture as you walk, lift your gaze from the ground and look a good way in front of you, fixing your eyes on objects at eye level. Think about your weight staying behind you, so your back foot is heavy and front foot light. As you walk imagine objects coming toward you rather than you moving toward them, as if standing on a moving walkway at an airport.
Maintaining Posture Imagine a balloon Ö
. Whenever you feel old and saggy, imagine a helium-filled balloon is tied to the crown of your head. Feel it elongating the vertebrae at the back of the neck. Look forward.
Maintaining Posture Pilates neutral pelvis
. Finding a neutral (natural) position for the pelvis is one of the first lessons of Pilates. Lie on your back with knees bent, in line with your hips, feet flat on the floor a comfortable distance from your buttocks. Place the heels of your hands on your hip bones, fingers on your pubic bone. Tilt your pelvis up, so your lower back presses into the ground. Then roll your pelvis under so your lower back arches away from the floor. Now try to find a middle place, between flexion and extension, where your hip and pubic bones (and hands) are level. This is neutral. Practice lying, standing, and sitting in neutral.
Maintaining Posture Try the Alexander
. Technique This therapy reeducates the body away from mental and physical habits that over time can lead to back pain and aggravate stress-related symptoms, repetitive strain and other injuries. Work with a teacher to learn the precise instructions and experience a subtle, hands-on manipulation and balanceadjustment that helps you feel lighter, move more easily and elegantly, and look slimmer.
Maintaining Posture Pelvic lift
. Pelvic muscles weaken with age, especially after menopause. To guard against stress incontinence, do pelvic floor, or Kegel, exercises (see No. 350) daily for the rest of your life. This is vital if you have had children (especially after three or more vaginal deliveries).
Maintaining Posture Locating core muscles
. Muscles deep within the abdomen and pelvis support the spine against gravity like a corset, stabilizing and protecting youthful posture. To locate these core muscles, sit upright, feet flat on the floor. Exhaling, draw your abdominal muscles back, as if taking your navel toward your lower back. Feel a slight scooping, hollowing or zipping up. Donít hold your breath or squeeze tightly. Release. Now pull up your pelvic floor muscles. Release. Breathing evenly, engage both sets of internal muscles, keeping your stomach and buttocks soft. Engage your core during everyday tasks: this gives particularly good support while driving.
Maintaining Posture Safe lifting
. To safeguard the spine and joints in age, remember the rules of lifting and carrying: keep heavy loads close to your center of gravity, distribute weight evenly on right and left feet, and when picking up and putting down bend your legs, not your spine. Consciously engage your core muscles and inhale as you lift, exhale as you put down. If you have to carry heavy bags frequently, invest in a backpack with padded shoulder straps, safer for the spine than carrying loads over one shoulder.
Maintaining Posture Improve your stroke
. Look for a swimming stroke master class to ensure bad posture doesnít hinder efficiency in the pool. Being aware of good posture in each stroke streamlines and coordinates leg and arm movements, protects the back, neck, and joints, and expands lung capacity. You will notice improved stamina and power in the water, too. Teachers trained in the Shaw Method, which applies the skills of the Alexander Technique to swimming, report remarkable improvements in older swimmers.
. Deep breathing slows the heart rate, regulates blood pressure, dissipates muscular tension and restores mental and emotional equanimity. It also cleanses the body and makes exercising more effective.
Breathing Essentials Check your breathing
. Rest one palm on your chest, the other on your abdomen. Close your eyes and watch what happens as you breathe normally. Which hand moves? If it is the upper hand you are breathing shallowly, restricting the flow of rejuvenating oxygen. On your next inhalation imagine the breath dropping into the bottom hand, bypassing your chest. Feel your belly swell with the in-breath and draw back slightly with each out-breath.
Breathing Essentials Rebalancing breath
. Sit upright, either on a chair or cross-legged, with hands resting palm upward on your thighs, elbows and shoulders relaxed. Watch your breathing. Placing the tips of your right thumb and fingers together, take a breath in through your nose. At the same time imagine a flow of energy moving in through your left hand and up the left side of your body. Open your right hand and close the left hand, breathing out. Feel energy sweeping down the right side of your body and out through the hand. Now breathe in through the right side, close the right hand, open the left hand, and breathe out. Repeat, alternating hands.
Breathing Essentials Fill your lungs
. Sit quietly with your eyes closed. Breathe into the bottom third of the lungs, then stop. Now breathe into the middle part of the lungs, widening the ribs, then stop. Finally, fill the top part of the lungs. Breathe out in a slow, controlled way, from the top down.
Breathing Essentials Expand your ribs
. Pilates teachers encourage full use of the lungs by asking you to imagine the rib cage expanding sideways as you inhale. Place your palms on your ribs, fingers facing forward. Inhaling, feel your rib cage expand to the side. Exhaling, feel the ribs contract. Swivel your hands so your fingers lie over your back ribs. Breathing in, feel these expand, then contract as you exhale. Remove your hands and repeat, picturing the ribs widening at front and back.
Breathing Essentials Breathing into the back
. Sit with your buttocks resting on your heels. Keeping your weight anchored in your buttocks, bend forward gradually, so that your chest rests on your thighs, forehead on the floor, and arms by your sides, hands resting by your toes. Breathing in, feel your lower back and ribs expand. Notice the contraction on the out-breath. Repeat for 3 minutes.
Breathing Essentials Keep counting
. If it helps you to focus in any of the breathing exercises, count as you breathe in and out, choosing a number, such as three or four, that you can complete easily, without gasping for breath.
. Aerobic exercise that challenges the heart and lungs by using large numbers of muscle groups continually for at least 20 minutes improves the functioning of these vital organs even if youíre in your 60s and have never exercised before, according to a US study into aging.
Aerobic Workout Never too late
. Take heart from remarkable studies showing that people aged 85 could improve their aerobic capacity by as much as 20 percent by following a 12Ė16 week program of exercise in which the heart rate reached more than 75 percent of its maximum aerobic capacity. For optimum results, aim for an hourís exercise a day: women in their 70s who did so in a study at a US university demonstrated aerobic abilities of women 30 years younger.
Aerobic Workout Buy a pedometer
. Track exactly how many steps you take per day. Guidelines suggest a minimum daily target of 5,000 steps (about 2Ĺ miles/4 km), usually achievable through incidental everyday activity. Any less and you lead a sedentary life. To move into the active category, step up to 10,000 steps or more by adding in extra walks before work, at lunchtime, or in the evening and using stairs instead of elevators.
Aerobic Workout Warming up
. As we age, joints lose mobility, tendons stiffen, and muscles shrink. As muscle fibers decrease, they can take longer to respond to stimulus, making injury more likely. Warm up and cool down every time you exercise to reduce risk. Before exercising, spend 7Ė10 minutes warming large muscles and lubricating joints: shrug and roll your shoulders; circle hips, wrists, and ankles. Bend and straighten your legs a few times. Then add in larger movements that raise the pulse and increase circulation to muscles. March on the spot, swinging your arms, for example.
Aerobic Workout Warm up games
. Add in coordination tasks to your warm-up, such as walking along a balance beam and raising opposite arms and legs. Write your name in space using different parts of the body hips, shoulder, elbow or follow imaginary paths around a room that twist and turn.
Aerobic Workout Think tall
. Before starting a movement, think tall, engage the core muscles in your abdomen and pelvic floor and think about maintaining space between each vertebra. Move the crown of your head toward the sky and let this lift your torso. As you breathe in imagine your chest widening, like opening a book from its spine.
Aerobic Workout Move like a crab
. Try side-to-side movements, such as sideways galloping, grapevine steps, and side lunges. These are challenging for body and brain and so demand greater care and intensity (and burn more calories).
Aerobic Workout Working aerobically
. After warming up, spend 20 minutes on more strenuous exercise. Take a power walk or jog; step up and down using a stair or fitness step (change the lead foot every minute); cycle at moderate intensity; swim laps; bounce on a mini trampoline; put on music and dance. If at any time you feel pain, faintness, or are uncomfortably out of breath, ease off and start to cool down.
Aerobic Workout Lost in music
. Listening to music while you exercise helps give you the enthusiasm to keep up the intensity for the full 20 minutes. Download appropriate tunes on your iPod: choose a lightweight version with an armband or belt clip so you donít have to carry it. Alternatively, make yourself an exercise tape or CD. Choose beats you can move in sync with studies suggest this makes exercisers train at higher intensity and vary the tempo for warming up, high impact work, cooling down and chilling out. During the aerobic section, take the tempo up and down rather than starting slow and getting faster.
Aerobic Workout Calculating intensity
. For cardio work to be effective you must work at a level of intensity higher than when the body is at rest for at least 20 minutes three times a week. Aim to stay at around 60Ė75 percent of your maximum heart rate. To calculate your heart rate, buy a monitor or exercise your brain by counting your pulse. Find your pulse at the side of your neck with your first two fingers. Count the beats over six seconds. Multiply by 10 to find out how many beats per minute (BPM). This is your heart rate. A typical 35 year old should keep her heart rate during 20 minutes cardio work between 111 and 138 BPM. This drops to 102Ė127 BPM by age 50 and to 93Ė115 BPM by 65.
Aerobic Workout Take the talk test
. If you canít talk while exercising, youíre training too hard. When youíre working at your hardest, count out loud to keep within an effective training zone. This is not an excuse for chatting!
Aerobic Workout Jumping rope
. This is great for concentration and coordination, and for keeping bones strong. Alternate the leading foot, switch to jumping with both feet and turn the rope forward and back. Look ahead, not at the floor. When you feel confident, experiment with fancy footwork. Try jumping rope with children to learn the coolest tricks and rhymes.
Aerobic Workout Challenge yourself
. Being able to work out intensely may be a key to long life. One study established that people who could achieve a high level of intensity during cardiovascular exercise tended to have increased longevity when compared with exercisers who merely ambled along. Bear this in mind when you feel like giving up.
Aerobic Workout Interval training
. Boost your capacity for aerobic exertion (and longevity) by breaking up your regular cardiovascular work with short bursts of intense activity. Vary jogging with sprinting, run in place in the pool, interrupt brisk walking with 30 seconds of jumping jacks, or find a hill to cycle up. When walking, add in expansive skipping movements, bringing knees to hip height and exaggerating the movement forward and back of alternate arms. This augments your lung capacity and expands the chest, enabling more youthful breathing.
Working with Weights
. Beyond the age of 40 shrinking muscle tissue means loss of strength. Regular muscle-building exercise may slow or even reverse this decline and help maintain a more youthful metabolism suggests research in The Journals of Gerontology. It preserves bone mass, too.
Working with Weights How heavy
. Start with a weight you can lift comfortably 10Ė15 times (one set of repetitions). Make sure you can achieve the same full range of movement in the muscle with the weight as you can without. You should be able to guide the weight down in as controlled a manner as when you lift it. When, after practice, the action starts to feel easy (for example, you could lift 20 times without noticing) progress to the next level of weight. Start with 3 lb (1.5 kg) weights and progress to 5 lb (2.5 kg); men can start with the higher weight and move up to 10 lb (4 kg).
Working with Weights How often
. Aim for three 10-minute sessions with weights every week, with a dayís rest between each routine. If you stick with this youíll see results quickly you will look toned and firm and feel fitter which fosters motivation.
Working with Weights Short sessions
. If you lack time for a full weights workout, donít miss out completely. A study reported in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society suggested older people who completed a reduced set of strengthtraining exercises still improved in muscle strength and the ability to perform physical tasks although those who did the full complement saw greater benefits.
Working with Weights Get advice
. Donít start working out with free weights or on fixed-weight machines until you have completed an induction with a trainer at a gym. For your first few sessions, donít muddle through ask a coach for advice and to help monitor your initial work.
Working with Weights Adding sets
. Start with one set of repetitions (10Ė15 lifts of the weight), then take a break. If your muscles feel sufficiently overloaded, stop the exercise there and move onto the next movement. If not, work up to three sets of repetitions, taking a short break between each set to stretch out the muscles worked. You know best how far to push yourself.
Working with Weights Cans and bags
. Lifting and walking with heavy objects counts as weight-bearing exercise. Try using cans of food and work up to bags of potatoes. Look for weights opportunities in everyday life, too: wheelbarrow loads, cans of paint, watering cans and shopping bags.
Working with Weights Handheld weights
. With a set of dumbbells you can do weights work any time, whenever the urge strikes or you have 10 minutes free. Itís essential to learn how to use them safely, monitoring your posture throughout and making sure your lower back is protected. Start practicing with very light weights under the guidance of an instructor or in front of a mirror until you can feel as well as see the correct form and have gained the stamina to progress.
Working with Weights Using machines
. at the gym Weights machines in gyms are great for beginners because you donít have to worry about your posture and coordination, your lower back is well supported, and the movement is isolated in the muscle groups you plan to work. Ask an instructor to monitor your first few sessions if you feel uneasy or forget what to do.
Working with Weights Lifting with style
. Fast, jerky movements with hand weights and on weights machines risk injuring muscle and connective tissue, so aim for a smooth, flowing technique, and donít forget to breathe as you work. When lifting and lowering, try counting to four or six and use the same count on the way down. As you master lifting the weight, you can reduce the count to two or three.
Working with Weights Ad breaks
. Keep light hand weights or weights straps handy when watching TV. Every time thereís an ad break, grab your weights, sit upright or stand, and complete a set of biceps curls. Try to work opposing muscle groups during one break.
Working with Weights Using bodyweight
. If you donít want to use weights, your body may provide enough resistance for a weights workout, for instance, in push-ups, triceps dips on a chair, and in many yoga postures. In water workouts enjoy the resistance offered by the water. You might also enjoy high impact sports, and exercises that stretch and contract muscles, such as rowing.
Working with Weights When to stop
. Mild discomfort is to be expected (and enjoyed as a sign of muscles working hard) but stop weights work and take a breather, stretching out, if at any point you find it hard to catch your breath, the muscles start to burn, you feel sudden pain, or you canít maintain good posture. Move down a weight size and try again or come back to the exercise when you feel stronger, perhaps in a couple of weeksí time.
Honing Problem Areas
. Some parts of the body age more quickly than others. Exercises that target features such as a sagging butt, droopy breasts, excess skin around the stomach and upper arms will increase muscle tone but be realistic about results.
Honing Problem Areas Pelvic floor lift
. Stave off problems with incontinence, which are often associated with a weakened pelvic floor, with these exercises. Draw up the muscles around your vagina and anus, as if trying to stop yourself from going to the bathroom. Hold for 10 seconds (breathing, and keeping the stomach, legs, and buttocks soft). Rest and repeat up to 10 times. Squeeze and release quickly 10 times. Then lift the muscles in stages, as if going up in an elevator. Hold at the top then relax down in stages. Repeat five times. Work for five minutes 3Ė10 times daily.
Honing Problem Areas Wall push up
. To tone your chest and arms, try this. Stand a pace or so in front of a wall, legs hip-width apart, arms wider than shoulder distance apart, palms to the wall. Exhaling, bend your elbows to bring your body forward, elbows in line with shoulders, heels on the floor. Inhaling, push back to the starting position. Build up to three sets of 12 reps whenever you get the chance.
Honing Problem Areas Bust benefits
. Working the muscles around the chest and upper arms helps to keep the breasts perky. Build up over time to three sets of 12. If you find this exercise easy, place your hands farther apart or point your fingertips toward each other.
1. Lie on your front. Place your palms beneath your shoulders, legs hip-width apart. Push on your hands lifting your body, to straighten your arms and come up onto your hands and knees.
2. Breathing out, draw your stomach muscles toward your lower back. Bend your elbows to take your chest nearer the floor. Look down and slightly forward to keep your spine long. Hold. Breathing in, return to the starting position.
Honing Problem Areas Waist whittler
. Lie on your back with knees bent and hip-width apart, feet flat on the floor. Bend up your leg, so your right ankle rests on your left knee. Place your hands beside your ears and tuck in your chin slightly. Breathing out, draw your abdominal muscles toward your lower back and lift your left arm and shoulder toward your right knee, keeping your chest broad. Donít try to lift too high. Breathing in, return your elbow to the floor and repeat 8Ė12 times. Repeat on the other side. Work up to three sets on each side.
Honing Problem Areas Top thigh toner
. Lie on your front, with your brow resting on your hands, feet together, with a medium-sized ball placed between your thighs. Breathing in, draw your stomach muscles toward your spine. Feel a hollowing beneath your stomach: imagine a strawberry is placed there and you do not want to crush it. Breathing out, squeeze your inner thighs and heels toward each other without engaging your buttocks. Hold for one full breath in and out. Release and repeat 8Ė12 times. Work up to three sets, keeping your abdominal muscles engaged throughout. Push on your palms to take your buttocks to your heels, arms stretching forward. Rest here for two minutes.
Honing Problem Areas Best butt exercise
. This exercise helps to combat sagging muscles around the buttocks and thighs. For extra work, draw the knees closer together or hold at the top of the lift for a number of full breaths in and out. Work up to three sets in total.
1. Lie on your back, knees bent and hip-width apart, feet flat on the floor, outside edges parallel, arms by your side with palms facing down. Draw your abdominal muscles toward your back throughout the movement.
2. Breathing in, engage the muscles in the buttocks and back of the thighs and raise the pelvis away from the floor. Hold at the top for one breath in and out. Roll down with the out-breath in a controlled manner. Repeat 12 times.
Honing Problem Areas Absolute arm improver
. Sit on the front of a chair, feet hipwidth apart. Ease yourself forward and place your hands on the edge of the seat on either side of your buttocks. Support your bodyweight with straight arms (donít lock your elbows), knees bent. Breathing out, bend your elbows to lower your torso until your shoulders are in line with them. Breathing in, push on your hands to return smoothly to the starting position. Work up to 12 repetitions.
Honing Problem Areas Fab ab exercise
. Keeping the core muscles that support the torso in good alignment helps you retain a youthful silhouette. In this lift donít come up too high. As soon as the stomach bulges outward come down a little. Work up to three sets.
1. Lie on your back with knees bent and hip-width apart, feet flat on the floor. Place your hands beside your ears, relaxing the elbows on the floor, if possible. Tuck in your chin slightly to lengthen the back of your neck.
2. Breathing out, draw your abdominal muscles toward your lower back and lift your head, arms, shoulders and upper back. Hold, taking a breath in and out. Breathing in, lower your upper body back to the floor. Repeat 8Ė12 times.
. At the end of an exercise session, leave enough time to cool down to bring your heart rate, breathing, and temperature nearer normal (failure to do so can lead to dizziness, cramps, and soreness next day). As we age, muscles lose moisture, making them stiffer. Stretching stimulates lubrication of the tissue, and stretching out muscles while warm increases their length and flexibility, reducing risk of injury and keeping the spine, pelvis, and hips mobile.
Cooling Down Slowing heart rate
. Bring body temperature back to normal by walking around the room for 5 minutes, gradually making your movements slower as your heart rate returns to normal. This helps return blood circulation to the organs and brain, guarding against fainting and dizziness. When you no longer feel sweaty or out of breath, move on to stretching.
Cooling Down Stretch your legs
. Stand facing a wall, one foot a good step behind the other. Press into the wall, front knee bent, and feel a stretch through the back heel. Place the ball and toes of the front foot on the wall and bend that knee to stretch the lower calf. Take the same foot to its buttock and hold, knees together. Turn your back to the wall, extend the same leg forward (toes raised), bend the standing leg and pivot forward to feel stretch at the back of the thigh. Repeat on the other leg.
Cooling Down Extend your arms
. Interlinking fingers, turn your palms to face front and extend your arms forward, feeling the shoulder blades open. Raise your hands overhead and hold. Release and bend your left arm. Placing your right hand below your left elbow, guide the arm backward, taking the left palm toward the shoulder blade. Repeat on the other arm. Interlink your fingers beside your buttocks and raise the arms up and back; feel the chest opening.
Cooling Down Relaxing forward
. Kneel with feet together, buttocks on your heels, palms resting on your thighs. Sit tall for a few breath cycles. Open your knees wide. Exhaling, hinge forward from the hips, place your hands on the floor and ease forward, leading with the crown. Focus on your breathing for up to three minutes, releasing tension with every exhalation. Come up slowly, head last.
Cooling Down Elongating front and back
. Lie on your back with legs outstretched and arms extending behind your head. Stretch the front of the body by extending from toes to palms. Imagine touching both sides of the room. Now press through your heels and up to your fingernails, drawing your abdominal muscles toward the floor. Feel the stretch along the back of the body. Sense the difference between front and back.
Cooling Down Imagine the stretch
. In a study reported in the Journal of Sports Sciences, people who visualized muscles elongating as they engaged in stretching exercises found flexibility came more easily. Another study found that people who imaged doing push-ups increased their push-up strength half as much as those who actually did the push-ups. As you stretch, picture the muscles you are working lengthening and becoming more dense and youthfully juicy.
Cooling Down Motivation visualization
. Sit quietly after an exercise session and close your eyes. Notice how you feel: you might feel clean or as if youíve grown two inches. Does your skin seem flushed with health? Do your spine or fingertips tingle with energy? Memorize the sensations. When you next doubt you have time to exercise, sit quietly, close your eyes and bring yourself back to this exquisite feeling.
Cooling Down Just float
. After water exercise, relax completely by floating. Lie back, immersing the back of your head in the water, and let everything go. Widen your limbs to form a star, bring the soles of your feet together or stretch arms and legs away. Slow the inhalation to fill every part of your lungs and help you float. Let go, trusting the water and your breath.
Cooling Down Total relaxation
. At the end of a session, lie on your back on a rug or mat with palms facing upward. Your face should be comfortably parallel to the floor; if it isnít, place a small cushion beneath your head. Check through your body to see if you are tense anywhere. It is usually helpful to take the legs and arms wider apart until you feel the joints and muscles release. Let go of your jaw and mouth, and feel as if your face is without expression as the skin softens. Relax your eyelids and look inside yourself. Breathe into that inner space and let any thoughts drift through your mind without catching hold of them. Rest here for 10Ė20 minutes.
Hand and Foot Mobility
. Keeping your wrists and ankles mobile as the decades pass means movements of the hands and feet remain easy, and independent life becomes more likely into old age. You can perform exercises to help maintain mobility at your desk or in the car as well as in the exercise studio.
Hand and Foot Mobility Ball squeeze
. Keep a small rubber ball on your desk or beside the bed. Squeeze it in your palm for up to a minute twice a day to exercise your hands.
Hand and Foot Mobility Finger mobility
. Using the palm of one hand, gently press the back of the fingers of the other hand toward the inner arm and hold. Opening the palm, draw the fingers back, trying to take them toward the forearm. Repeat with the thumb. Repeat on the other hand.
Hand and Foot Mobility Wrist mobilizer
. Place your palms together in front of your chest, thumbs touching your sternum. Bring them down until you feel a stretch behind the wrist and can no longer keep the palms pressed together. Work to keep the finger pairs lengthening upward and the palms touching.
Hand and Foot Mobility Foot reviver
. Start by kneeling, then tuck the toes of your right foot under. Step forward with your left foot and gradually take your bottom toward your right heel, increasing the stretch on the back toes. Repeat on the other side. Try this for stiff, tired feet, but if you find this exercise uncomfortable, exert pressure very gently.
Hand and Foot Mobility Spread your toes
. Remove your shoes and socks. Look at your toes. Lift them and try to stretch each digit away from its neighbors. Aim for a gap between each toe. It can help to spread the fingers wide as you practice.
Hand and Foot Mobility Stay grounded
. Stand with feet parallel and hipwidth apart. Spread your toes. Close your eyes if you want to. Imagine the soles of your feet sinking slightly into soft earth and growing roots. Now feel whether there is equal weight on both feet. Do you have more weight on the heels or the toes? (For a clue look at the heels of your shoes.) Visualize your stance like a mountain, broad and strong. Breathe.
Hand and Foot Mobility Pencil pickup
. With bare feet, practice trying to pick up pencils with your toes only.
Hand and Foot Mobility Ankle circling
. Holding a wall with your right hand, bend your left knee to lift the leg slightly. Imagine your big toe is a pen and draw a circle the size of a plate on the floor without moving the rest of your leg. Isolate the movement in the ankle joint. Work in the other direction, making the circle as wide as possible. Repeat on the other leg.
Hand and Foot Mobility Golf ball roll
. Roll a golf ball under your foot for two minutes. This provides the sole of the foot with a great massage and is particularly good if you have foot cramps or arch strain.
Hand and Foot Mobility Tennis ball flex
. To improve balance as well as flexibility in knees, ankles, and toes, stand side on to a wall and place a small ball, such as a tennis ball, between your ankles. Breathing out, bend your knees and sink your hips, keeping the ball secure and heels down. Inhaling, come back to standing. On your next inhalation rise onto tiptoes, keeping the ball wedged between your ankles. Exhaling, come back to the starting position. Repeat a few times.
Hand and Foot Mobility Feldenkrais arm circling
. Use this exercise after work to release tension and mobilize the muscles in your shoulders and upper back. Keep your shoulders soft and heavy. When you meet areas of resistance, move extremely slowly to ease out stiffness.
1. Lie on one side with your knees bent up easily and your arms stretched out in front of you at shoulder height, palms together. Support your head with a small cushion, if you find this more comfortable.
2. Breathing naturally, extend the top arm up over your head and around behind your back in a clockwise circle until it rejoins the other arm. Repeat in a counterclockwise direction. Roll over and repeat on the other side.
. Donít neglect the face in your daily exercise routine. Targeted, precise movements of the 91 facial muscles can keep face and eyes feeling youthfully energized. Aging brings a gradual loss of tone and flexibility in the eye muscles, and signs of stress and tiredness show quickly here. Rejuvenating eye exercises to perform at your desk also demand brain-enhancing concentration.
Facial Exercises Clock eye exercise
. Keeping your neck long and head still, open your eyes wide and look up. Hold, then look down. Look left, hold, then right. Look to the top left, hold, then bottom right. Look top right, then bottom left. Let your eyes circle an imaginary clock face, first one way, then the other, very slowly and without moving your head.
Facial Exercises Blink as you work
. Eyes dry out during work at a computer screen because we lose the urge to blink. Cultivate a habit of blinking every time you check your emails. Drink plenty of water.
Facial Exercises Wide gazing
. Hold your index finger a little way in front of your face. Stare at the finger. Now widen your eyes so the finger blurs. Drop your finger and try to maintain the blurred wide gaze, without blinking. When it slips, replace your finger and repeat.
Facial Exercises Eye cupping
. Rub your palms together briskly until they tingle. Quickly cup the face and feel energy transfer to your cheeks, forehead, and eye area. Donít press on your eyelids. Bring your fingers together, open your eyes, and stare into the darkness of your palms without blinking while taking long, deep breaths.
Facial Exercises Get an eye test
. It is natural for eyes to change with age and for eyesight to deteriorate. If you notice eyesight changes it becomes more difficult to read small print or your night vision seems reduced, for instance book an examination with an optometrist immediately. Even if you donít have any problems with your eyesight, after the age of 40 book an appointment every one or two years to look for common agerelated ailments; annually over 60.
Facial Exercises Face dancing
. Put on a short piece of music and dance along to it with your face only. If you can record moving images, make a film of yourself to make you laugh later. Try different pieces of music: Vivaldi works well, but mix in John Coltrane,Tammy Wynette, or classic rock, to match your mood.
Facial Exercises Forehead workout
. Frown and try to bring the corners of your eyebrows together. Hold, then relax. Looking forward with relaxed eyes, lift your eyebrows toward your hairline, without moving your head. Hold. Let the eyebrows go, closing your eyes and feeling your upper eyelashes weighted on your cheeks.
Facial Exercises Neck lift
. Roll your shoulders up, back, and down to release tension. Then repeat, moving in the opposite direction. Keeping your shoulders immobile, press your chin forward, hold for a moment, and draw back. Gently tilt your chin to point at the ceiling (donít do this if you have neck problems). Donít allow your head to flop backward. Bring your back teeth together to stretch the neck. Without moving your chin, swallow seven times to stimulate the thyroid gland. This action may take some time. Gently lower the head. Tuck your chin in slightly and take it toward your chest. Hold this position for a moment, then pivot back to center.
Facial Exercises Energizing facial yoga
. When your face feels tired or ďsetĒ after a period of concentration, open your eyes wide, open your mouth and stick out your tongue to touch your chin. Hold for a few seconds, roaring like a lion if it helps.
Facial Exercises Combating tiredness
. When your face looks and feels overtired, heed the warning signs and use them as a prompt for you to slow down and take a break. Rearrange social plans and rethink overtime commitments. Then relax in a warm bath, apply a face pack, and place cooled damp green tea bags over your eyes. When finished, go straight to bed.
Facial Exercises Mouth and cheek toning
. Improve muscle tone and skin elasticity by spending just a few short minutes a day doing these exercises. Practice in front of a mirror at first to ensure that you are not screwing up your eyes.
1. Open your mouth in an ďOĒ shape. Drop your jaw downward very slowly to make an oval. Hold, feeling the stretch in your cheeks.
2. With your teeth together, draw the sides of your mouth outward, as if saying ďeee.Ē Hold without wrinkling the skin around your eyes.
3. Pull the sides of your mouth upward into a wide smile. Hold, then pull them farther up. Hold, then release. Repeat 5 times.
. Human circadian rhythms, or our internal body clock, govern different times of day, regulated by complementary drives: the urge for wakefulness and toward sleep. Energy patterns vary also according to the seasons, adapting to suit the long, dark winter nights and long, light summer days. Natural energy comes from tuning into and adapting life to fit in with shifting internal and external energy patterns.
Building Energy Seasonal living
. Occasionally try to bypass the artificial rhythms of the clock. If commitments allow, sleep late in winter, waking only when the sun rises. Let your body clock shift backward through springtime, so that by the summer you are waking and getting up and about early, again following the sun. Make the most of extra time on summer mornings by meditating and doing yoga exercises.
Building Energy Energy scan
. Close your eyes and scan your body to check your energy levels on waking and at bedtime, before work and exercise, and when lying, standing, and sitting. Where do you feel energy tingling and a sense of wakefulness? Notice areas of stiffness. Which areas fail to respond as you tune in? How do your fingers and toes feel? What about your neck, forehead, and abdomen? Does your heart feel heavy or light? Donít judge yourself, just make a mental note of the patterns. After exercising, meditation, or yoga, repeat the scan. Do you feel more connected, have areas of tension dissipated, are new parts tingling with a new vibrancy?