Keeping yourself active through exercise is one of the best ways to improve health. Being physically active can help reduce the risk of developing health problems and exercising regularly can benefit all people regardless of age and gender. Exercise helps in weight loss, stress management, and disease prevention and greatly improves one’s quality of life.
There are different types of exercise and it is important to keep several things in consideration when choosing the best exercise for you. Exercises can be mild, moderate, or heavy in intensity and you want to make sure that your body can take the level of exercise before you engage in a specific activity.
Exercise becomes even more important when a person ages as different body functions start to decline. Once a person hits the age of 40, the body loses much of its muscle and is replaced by fat. This in turn leads to a reduction in physical strength and coordination. Following an exercise program and proper nutrition can help build muscle bulk in the body to counter the natural physiologic process of aging in people aged 40 and above.
Physical Changes During Middle Adulthood and Late Adulthood:
An individual usually reaches the peak of his or her physical strength during his or her twenties. From then on, physical strength gradually declines. People from age 40 to 65 are considered to be in their middle adulthood. Reduction in physical strength is commonly noticeable once a person reaches the mid forties and motor responses also become slower. In late adulthood, changes in physical strength are more obvious although these are more commonly an effect of different health conditions. Physiologic changes as one ages are greatly variable and studies show that healthier lifestyles can actually help maintain good physical function even in old age.
Recommended Exercise for Individuals Over 40:
Given the changes that happen in the body during middle adulthood onwards, it is important to keep these in mind when choosing a type of exercise or program. Weight loss exercises can definitely keep the body fit which is important since the amount of fat in the body increases with aging. Fitness exercises can also help improve heart and lung function in adults, promoting better circulation in the body.
Adults actually need at least two and a half hours of moderate –intensity physical activity or an hour and fifteen minutes of high-intensity aerobic activity per week. In addition to this, there is also a need to engage in activities that strengthen the muscles in different body area including the arms, shoulders, chest, hips, legs, abdomen, and back for at least two days a week.
Two and a half hours of home exercises per week may seem like a lot but this can be broken down into smaller periods of 10 minutes of activity at a time. The important thing to remember is that the activity should be at least moderate to vigorous in intensity to get the intended health benefits of exercise. Even walking briskly for 10-minute periods three times a week for five days can give you the recommended moderate-intensity exercise for the week.
Best Exercise for People Over 40:
Regardless of whether you are looking for weight loss exercises or fitness exercises, the most important thing is that it should be an aerobic activity. Aerobic exercises makes you breathe harder and your heart beat faster. Brisk walking, riding a bike on level ground, water aerobics, and playing lawn tennis are examples of moderate-intensity aerobic activity. High-intensity exercises, on the other hand, include activities such as jogging, riding a bike on hills, and playing basketball.
You can easily switch from moderate-intensity activities to high-intensity ones as long as you do it gradually. You can also do exercises that combine these two levels of fitness exercises. If you haven’t been doing home exercises in a while, make sure that you slowly increase your activity level and that you are completely comfortable doing moderate-intensity exercise before moving on to more vigorous activity.
Muscle strengthening activities are also essential for adults. These activities should work all the major muscle groups in the body for at least two days per week. Some of the activities that strengthen muscles in the body include weightlifting, home exercises such as push-ups and sit-ups, and yoga.