Strength for Life: The Fitness Plan for the Rest of Your Life

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Push ups can be varied to target different muscle groups more effectively; try a narrow hand width to focus on the triceps, or go wider for more emphasis on the chest.


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For progression, you can do plyometric push ups whereby you explode off the ground and clap before returning to repeat the movement, or even incorporate a weighted vest. For every 'push' exercise there must be a 'pull', and by far the number one pulling exercise is the pull up. Targeting your lats, biceps, forearms and abdominals, pull ups hit all the upper body muscle groups that the push up cannot.

Like push ups, pull ups can be varied in numerous ways. Use a wide, overhand grip to target the lats, or a narrow grip with palms inward for greater emphasis on the biceps. When you can do five sets of 12 on each grip, try using a weighted vest for an additional challenge. With these four exercises, you target every major muscle in the body, as displayed in the diagram below:. Now you have covered all bases in the gym, your final exercise will take you outdoors to seriously overhaul your body composition. There is no exercise that melts away fat quite like sprinting - which is why we have chosen it as our fifth and final exercise.

Future proof your body: 17 things you need to do now to be healthy in later life

Sprinting has also been shown to improve insulin sensitivity, meaning the carbohydrates you eat are less likely to be stored as fat. The best thing about sprinting? Almost anyone can do it. Whether it's on the running track, at the local park, on your bike or in the pool, there are no limits to where you can sprint. We do this delivering professional fitness and nutrition advice in a simple, clear and easy to understand format. In conjunction with the development of our own range of clean and certified sports supplements, this allows the individual to achieve the lifestyle balance, which is right for them.

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The Role of Exercise

Participants answered telephone questionnaires and went through milestone testing for a total of 16 years with a retention rate close to percent. The goal was to study changes in body composition and health over time, looking for factors that could reasonably predict levels of health later in life. A massive amount of data was collected, and researchers are now using that information as a jumping off point for additional scientific studies.

One thing we do know about the Health ABC Study is that the leg strength of participants at the start of the study was a predictor of the health they enjoyed later in the study.

Exercise: 7 benefits of regular physical activity

Other researchers have come up with the same results when studying predictors of reduced physical functioning late in life. One study utilized data from 1, adults aged 55 and older to determine that leg strength was the biggest predictor of physical functionality in the future.

Another study published in through the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that hemodialysis patients were less likely to die from cardiovascular disease or any other cause if they had adequate muscle mass in the lower thigh. If we go back to , there was an interesting study published in the Journal of Gerontology that found quadricep strength was an efficient predictor of mortality risk.

In , BMJ published research proving that low muscle strength in adolescence is a clear predictor of mortality in young adulthood. A study from also found that leg strength is a predictor of mortality in men with peripheral artery disease but not for women with the same disease. Perhaps future research will tell us with certainty what may serve as a stronger predictor for women.

For anyone trying to live as long as possible and make the most of those years, there are three things to learn from these studies:. This refers to the ability to receive information from your surrounding environment, process that information for meaning, and then either act on it immediately or store it for future use. This includes memory, processing speed and the ability to concentrate on one thing for a period of time.

7 Ways Strength Training Boosts Your Health and Fitness

One study published in a issue of Gerontology compared the leg strength and cognitive functioning of female twins over a year period to see if they could establish a protective connection when comparing data between each twin set. This research is groundbreaking because it eliminates a variety of genetic and environmental factors that may come into play when comparing unrelated study participants. When each twin was compared to her sister, the data showed that those with more leg strength at the beginning of the study were in better cognitive shape at the end of the study.

They also found that leg strength early in life can predict the amount of grey matter in the brain later on. Since we know that the development of grey matter declines with age and is connected to memory and other cognitive abilities, this study makes a strong argument that keeping the leg muscles strong can lead to more grey matter and thus improved cognitive abilities later in life. Another study published in a issue of Frontiers in Neuroscience used mice to prove that weight-bearing exercise is critical to the production of neural stem cells and the maintenance of muscle mass.

Researchers stopped mice from using their hind legs for 28 days, dramatically reducing their mobility and leg strength. The result was less muscle mass and a reduction in the number of neural stem cells in their brains. This study also proves that there is a protective relationship between the leg muscles and the brain. Something as simple as moving your legs more could keep your mind alive and your body in motion for decades to come.

Keep reading for some great ideas on how to do this efficiently and safely.

Take a Look At Your Own Habits

Regular exercise is also good for your mind, mood, and memory. Helps you maintain or lose weight. As metabolism naturally slows with age, maintaining a healthy weight is a challenge. Exercise helps increase metabolism and builds muscle mass, helping to burn more calories. Reduces the impact of illness and chronic disease.


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  7. Enhances mobility, flexibility, and balance. Exercise improves your strength, flexibility and posture, which in turn will help with balance, coordination, and reducing the risk of falls. Strength training also helps alleviate the symptoms of chronic conditions such as arthritis. Improves sleep. Quality sleep is vital for your overall health.

    Regular activity can help you fall asleep more quickly, sleep more deeply, and wake feeling more energetic and refreshed. Boosts mood and self-confidence. Exercise is a huge stress reliever and the endorphins produced can actually help reduce feelings of sadness, depression, or anxiety. Being active and feeling strong naturally helps you feel more self-confident. Does amazing things for the brain. Activities like Sudoku or crossword puzzles can help keep your brain active, but little comes close to the beneficial effects of exercise on the brain.

    It can help brain functions as diverse as multitasking and creativity and can help prevent memory loss, cognitive decline, and dementia. You may feel discouraged by health problems, aches and pains, or concerns about injuries or falls. Or maybe you just think that exercise is boring. Becoming more active can energize your mood, relieve stress, help you manage symptoms of illness and pain, and improve your overall sense of well-being. You can gain the benefits from adding more movement and activity to your life, even in small ways.

    Fact: Regular physical activity helps you look and feel younger and stay independent longer. And the mood benefits of exercise can be just as great at 70 or 80 as they were at 20 or Fact: Regular exercise, by building strength and stamina, prevents loss of bone mass and improves balance, actually reducing your risk of falling. The key is to set lifestyle goals that are appropriate for your age.

    And remember: a sedentary lifestyle takes a much greater toll on athletic ability than biological aging.

    Cost and fees

    In fact, adults who become active later in life often show greater physical and mental improvements than their younger counterparts. Just begin with gentle activities and build up from there. Fact: Chair-bound people face special challenges but can lift light weights, stretch, and do chair aerobics, chair yoga, and chair Tai Chi to increase their range of motion, improve muscle tone and flexibility, and promote cardiovascular health. Many swimming pools offer access to wheelchair users and there are adaptive exercise programs for wheelchair sports such as basketball.

    Many older people find that regular activity not only helps stem the decline in strength and vitality that comes with age, but actually improves it. The key is to start off gently. Think about activities that you enjoy and how you can incorporate them into an exercise routine:. Staying active is not a science. Just remember that mixing different types of physical activity helps both to keep your workouts interesting and improve your overall health. The key is to find activities that you enjoy—based on the four building blocks of fitness.

    These are:. Try yoga, Tai Chi, and posture exercises to gain confidence with balance. Also reduces risk of falling and fear of falls. What it is: Uses large muscle groups in rhythmic motions over a period of time. Cardio workouts get your heart pumping and you may even feel a little short of breath.

    Includes walking, stair climbing, swimming, hiking, cycling, rowing, tennis, and dancing.

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