Older Americans Should Focus on These 3 Areas When Working Out

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Aging doesn’t have to mean slowing down, especially if you maintain good mental and physical health. But, how should you go about doing that? Experts recommend focusing on three main areas to maintain optimum health and maximize your workout’s effectiveness: cardio, balance and flexibility training. By gradually improving each, you’ll reap numerous benefits that will make you and your doctor happy.

Cardio

Keeping your heart healthy serves as the basis for all the other health initiatives. The most common heart problems are caused by plaque buildup along the artery walls, usually caused by habits we can fix.

Smoking, eating a poor diet, overlooking exercise, and carrying excess weight all contribute to heart disease. Cardio exercise is any exercise that increases your heart rate. Treadmills and recumbent bikes are great options because you can increase intensity as you become more physically fit. Ideally, you should include 150 minutes of moderate exercise every week, extended over five half-hour sessions. Alternately, perform three 25-minute sessions of intense cardio exercise every week.

Balance

Falling can cause injuries that take longer to heal as we age, and improving balance can help prevent these accidents. A number of exercises can help improve your balance, and you can use some equipment to help if you’re having a hard time.

Walking heel to toe improves leg strength, balancing one-legged while holding onto a steady chair can increase stability, and performing back leg raises assists balance. A balance disc is a simple instrument that leads to great results. You can stand on it, do plank-style exercises on it, or use it as a seat cushion.

Its cousin, a balance pad, offers the opportunity to increase strength and balance by slightly shifting your standing surface. Small movements help improve your strength and stability without stressing joints.

Flexibility Training

In conjunction with balance, flexibility training can help increase mobility and prevent falls. As with any fitness routine, start slowly. Shake off stiffness and tension by reaching carefully for the ceiling and gently bending to the side.

Sit on the floor or a straight chair, and extend one leg, slowly bending over until you feel resistance. Don’t force yourself too far and risk tearing any muscles. Many yoga studios offer classes specifically designed for seniors if you want more personalized instruction.

Keeping fit as you age gives you the freedom to enjoy life fully each day. Your workouts don’t have to be all-consuming. Target these key areas to improve your heart, balance, and flexibility, and relish the increased energy and overall feeling of well-being.

Trying to decide which kind of exercise you want to try? Take a look at these ideas: Cycling or Running: Which Is Better for Your Health?

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