As we age, our bodies begin to break down and start to function inadequately. Our endurance to do small things decreases. We start to lack strength to perform certain tasks we could once do with ease. Our balance becomes unstable and our bodies grow stiff, lacking flexibility, leaving us feeling uncertain of our abilities to prevent falls or injuries.
The key to slowing down the aging process is to become more physically active in our daily lives. When our bodies feel pain or discomfort, we tend to become more sedentary, which in turn worsens our conditions. Learning the importance of actively incorporating endurance, strength and flexibility, as well as balance exercises, into your daily life will help you live a more fulfilling, mobile and pain-free life.
The first pillar that should be a part of your physical activity regimen is endurance. It plays a crucial role on the cardiovascular system as well as the muscular fibers in the body. When we live a sedentary lifestyle, our endurance starts to decline over time. The longer we live that kind of lifestyle, the harder it becomes to rebuild. Regularly performed endurance exercises such as walking up and down stairs, bike riding, or swimming can create refinements in your muscular system. Some of the benefits include physical capabilities of being able to perform a task for an extended period of time and increasing respiratory capacity of the slow and fast twitch muscle fibers.
The second pillar needed in your weekly regimen is strength training. There are countless benefits that include increasing muscle mass, increasing bone and heart health, and enhancing brain health. These are just some of the many reasons to make strength training a priority.
The third pillar is flexibility. Tighter and less pliable muscles lead to higher chances of injuries. Some reasons for flexibility include improved posture, better balance, increased range of motion, and reduction in muscular tension — all of which can lead to less chance of injuries and improve your overall quality of life.
Finally, the fourth pillar is balance. Unfortunately, as we age, we tend not to include balancing exercises in our routines and then fall into the cliché expression of “use it or lose it.” Everyday tasks such as walking across a room, walking down the stairs, rising from a chair, or carrying an object to and from one place to another require good balance. If our balance slips to the wayside, we increase our chances of potentially disabling falls and increase our chances of serious injuries. In order to remain upright and steady, our daily tasks should include some activities that test our balance. Some examples include standing on one foot when you brush your teeth, stepping up on a bench with one foot, and single leg lifting while standing erect.
In closing, having a well-rounded physical activity regimen that includes these four pillars will improve your quality of life and overall well-being.
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