*****Happy New Year!!!*****
The secret to a healthy body is simple and actually not too difficult, but all the same it does take daily discipline. In addition, it doesn’t need to cost you a lot of money. There are five areas of focus that will keep your body in shape, healthy, flexible, and strong. This article will outline the 5 areas to work on and will include a sample weekly workout regimen that you can start using today.
1. Aerobic Exercise. The simplest way to meet this need is walking. Walking is the one of the best exercises for your body. The wear and tear on your joints is lower than jogging. Be sure to start off slower to warm up and increase speed slowly after about 3-5 minutes. To increase the intensity, simply lengthen your stride a bit and speed up your pace. The other strategy for increasing intensity is to increase your speed for short bursts of time. (see workout below) If you prefer, jogging is also good if it doesn’t bother your knees. Just know that walking is just as good if you go fast enough. No big investment needed. All you need is your sneakers, and maybe not even that if you walk on the beach. 30 minutes per day every day has been shown to be the optimal amount of exercise. If you don’t have time all at once, the same benefits are derived even if you break it up into 3 X 10 minute or 2 X 15 minute sessions.
2. Stretching. An important age marker is your level of flexibility. Yoga is a terrific way to keep your body flexible. If you don’t have time for a full yoga session, try to make sure you do 5 minutes of stretching each day after your aerobic exercise. To ensure you get most areas of your body, try a sun salutation, some seated twists, and a hip opener.
3. Balancing. Balance, along with flexibility, is something that we lose with age. Practice this a little bit every day and you’ll be less likely to lose it. Yoga, again, is another great way to build and maintain balance. There are several yoga poses you could use to increase balance. Try one each day. A simple one you can do is to stand on one leg and grab the foot of the other leg to stretch the hamstring in the front of the thigh. As you build your balance over time try to touch your toes with your other hand while maintaining balance. It is helpful to keep your eyes focused on one point. Do this for 15-60 seconds on each leg.
4. Strength Building. You can certainly join a gym and lift weights. But another less expensive option, which is just as good, is simply using the weight of your own body for resistance. The easiest way to do this is to do an hour of yoga a few times per week. A yoga class is great, but to save money, I recommend buying a few different yoga tapes and rotate them. Check out tapes from your local library first to see if you like them before buying, or go to Amazon and check out the reviews to find ones that are highly rated. If you don’t want to do yoga, you can do pilates or try the free online workout regimen prescribed by Dr. Roizen and Dr. Oz of “YOU: The Owner’s Manual.”
5. Deep Breathing. This is very important and here’s why. Your lymph system relies on the contraction of muscles and breathing to move the fluids of the lymph system around the body. Why is this so important? The lymph system “has three interrelated functions: (1) removal of excess fluids from body tissues, (2) absorption of fatty acids and subsequent transport of fat, as chyle, to the circulatory system and, (3) production of immune cells.” So, how do you get your daily dose? Aerobic exercise, yoga, and/or try The Deep Breathing Exercise 2-3 times per day. Here’s how:
- Empty your lungs completely by pulling in your stomach while you exhale.
- Take a deep breath in.
- Hold for twice as long as it took to breathe it in.
- Exhale for 4 times as long as it took to breath it in.
- Do this 10 times.
- Enjoy the rejuvenation!