Chapter 5 : The Baby Boomer’s Exercise Regimen

Everyone hates the word exercise, but it is a vitally important component to health and well being.  With so many people striving for improved health, there are gyms opening up everywhere.  On top of this, you’ll find countless opportunities to do simple exercise at home.

But, when we are talking about the health and wellness of the Baby Boomer, there is much more to it than just this.  In fact, it is essential that you install a plan of overall exercise that incorporates several key types of exercise and movement.

Why Does Exercise Have To Matter?

Since we were children, we were encouraged to get outside and play.  Today, the children that aren’t doing this are unhealthy and overweight.  Many have problems with learning and attention deficit problems.  Much of this can be blamed on the fact that they don’t get out there and play. 

As a Baby Boomer, it’s important for you to realize that exercise can do many things for your health and well being.  In fact exercise, when done correctly, will actually help you to look and feel younger.

Yes, this could be considered the anti aging tool of a century because it can be that powerful when done correctly.

Have you ever been the type of person that did exercise regularly?  If you ever went through a phase of going to the gym and working out, then you know that exercising does make you feel good.  It makes you healthier too.

  • You are stronger and therefore can accomplish more for longer periods of time.
  • Your muscles are lean and fit, which means that they are less prone to injury or pain.
  • Your body is working at optimal levels which help to keep the immune system working well.
  • Your heart is working hard and therefore becoming stronger with each workout that you do.
  • You are likely the right weight which means that you have less chance of heart attacks.

There are many ways that exercising makes a difference in the body and the Baby Boomer can not ignore these facts if he or she is going to improve their overall health and well being.

Now, what do you need to do to gain the benefits that exercise can offer to you?

There are actually three key parts of the exercise regimen that you want to install into your life as part of your regular program.  This is not a program that should be done only for a certain time period but over the course of your lifetime as long as your doctor approves of it.

By incorporating these key elements into your lifestyle, you will actually be building a healthier body that will live a longer and healthier life.

The three things that you must take into consideration include these:

  • Your Heart:  You need cardiovascular training that is centered on improving your heart’s function.
  • Your Muscles:  Strength training is necessary for you.  You need to improve the function of your muscles.
  • Your Joints:  Flexibility training increases the range of motion and discourages the onset of conditions such as arthritis.

If you don’t believe that it’s important to take into consideration any of these elements, consider these very frightening facts:

When you turn 60, you can look forward to having lost at least half of the strength you used to have.  You also won’t be able to count on not breaking a bone if you fall because your bones are much weaker.  In addition, your lungs can’t pump out nearly the amount of air as they used to.

But, if take the time to install an exercise regimen like the one we are encouraging you can completely wipe away these risks and improve your health and well being considerably.

How To Do It

First and foremost you should see your doctor before starting any type of exercise regimen.  This will insure that your body is healthy enough to handle what you are going to do to it.  Don’t worry; you won’t be hurting yourself unless you don’t take this first step.

Once you get the all clear from your doctor, you can begin at looking for solutions to your exercise needs.  First, start by working on your heart.

Improving Heart Function

To do this, you’ll want to take into consideration the aerobic exercises.  If you get in an aerobic exercise program, you will help improve your heart considerably.  During these workouts, you are pushing your heart to its limits.  As you do that, you are also encouraging it to strengthen.  Aerobic exercise improves your heart’s function.

How much aerobics do you need to get in?  For most people, it is necessary to do an aerobic exercise at least three times a week for at least 20 minutes per day.  That’s only one hour of your time that you are dedicating to aerobic exercise and you will see improvement.

But, for that improvement to happen, you do need to pay attention to what you are doing.  In order to see benefits, you need to get your heart pumping at the right speed.  To measure this, you will want to increase your exercise intensity to a level that is no more than 65 percent of your maximum heart rate.

To determine what that is, do this.  Start with 220 and take away your age.  Then, multiply that number by .65 (you can go as high as .75 if you are physically fit.)  You want to get your heart rate to that level for at least 20 minutes three times per week. 

Check out the web for ways to learn how to measure your heart rate.  Or, a better solution is to ask your doctor about what your maximum heart rate target should be.  When doing this level, it should be difficult to talk but not so bad that you feel exhausted.

Strength Training

While aerobic training is important, so is that of strength training.  Don’t worry; you don’t have to work out so that you have bulging muscles.  But, you do need to have some exercise regimen that incorporates building your muscle mass.

Strength training is actually the use of weights and movements that will increase the size and function of the muscles in your body.  Although some individuals only think of strength training as weight training, the two are completely different.  You don’t want to over develop your muscle groups, but you do want to increase them in the way of health.

Increasing your muscle mass is important for a number of reasons.  The key element will be to help you to maintain a healthy weight.  You see, lean muscle mass, which is the type of muscle that you develop through strength training, is actually better at burning through stored fat.  It also is helpful at burning calories faster.  The combination means that they can help you to get rid of stored fat that you have throughout your body. 

In technical terms, when you add additional muscle mass to your body, it is able to be more metabolically active than that of the fat that is stored in your body.

By increasing your muscle mass, you increase your metabolism as well.  That means that your body remains lean and trim, which is ideal for heart health as well as overall organ health.

But, what if you don’t have weight to lose?  Even when you do drop to your ideal weight or if you are already there, it is still quite important for you to take care of this aspects for other health reasons.

Lean muscle mass is important for optimum health.  Your body, especially your muscles, are trim and they can then pump blood easier.  In addition, they are less likely to be injured or to develop problems later in life.  The longer that your muscle groups are healthy, the longer that the rest of your body does well.

If you end up being in a seditary lifestyle because of injuries and just lack of energy (something else that is a benefit from strength training) you can end up with countless health conditions that go along with it.

In addition to all of this, strength training also aids in keeping the heart strong.  With the right training, you can increase the pumping power of the heart.

How much strength training you do depends on your needs for weight loss and your current muscle condition.  One of the best things to do to gain both this type of exercise as well as aerobic is to join a gym or visit your local recreation center where you can work out weekly. 

Again, with strength training like that of aerobic training, a regimen of three times per week is ideal for weight benefit and muscle training benefits.

Keeping each of these functions of your body healthy is something that you absolutely need to do.  But, even with aerobic training as well as strength training, there is more that you’ll need to tackle to complete the entire exercise package.

Flexibility Training

Believe it or not, you have to do your stretching.  Stretching is yet another key function of improving your health and well being.  One of the key reasons that you need to use flexibility training is that of keeping your joints healthy.

Did you know that the onset of arthritis can start any time after the age of 25 (even younger sometimes)?

The arthritis that you feel now is only going to get worse and since it is a degenerative disease, it is likely to leave you with deformed, disabled joints.  But, with the help of flexibility training now, you can avoid these conditions all together.

Flexibility training keeps you moving right.  By stretching, you help your muscles to stretch and therefore keep them from getting hurt.  Your muscles become lithe and limber.  You can move like you did when you were in your 20’s, accomplishing the things that you want and need to do.  When you increase your body’s ability to move in all directions, you feel younger and your body is actually improving in age, too.

Stretching and toning your muscles and joints is an important part of improving your overall health.  With this type of training, you can keep your joints working optimally and you reduce your risk of strains, pulls and sprains significantly. 

One of the most common complaints today from the Baby Boomer age is that of back pain.  No matter what you may have done to it or what you think is wrong with it, back pain is a very common condition that happens more and more as you age.

But, when you add in a strength training workout to your exercise regimen, you improve the quality of those muscles and increase your spinal’s movement and flexibility.  You actually reduce the pain that you may be in and even prevent further injuries from happening to your back or hips, yet another common pain location for the Baby Boomers today.

A flexibility training regimen should be done at least 3 times per week for 20 minutes at a time.  If you want to see rapid improvement here, you should try to do some form of stretching each morning and each evening.  Just a few minutes of doing this will increase your body’s tone and flexibility and it’s a great way to start and end the day!

Pulling It All Together

Now, does all of that sound like it is just too much to do?  It doesn’t have to be.

In fact, really all you need is just 1 hour three times per week.  Or, you can break apart these workouts to give yourself less of a lump of time commitment.  You need:

  • 20 minutes of aerobic training for heart health three times per week.
  • 20 minutes of strength training for muscle improvement three times per week.
  • 20 minutes of flexibility training for movement and joint improvement, three times per week.

A great way to gain these benefits is to invest in a membership to a gym.  To help you to get started, work with a personal trainer, telling them what your goals are.  You don’t have to continue working with them but after a month or so of training, you’ll be able to do your workout routine on your own.  Just don’t falter from it or you’ll have to start all over again.

For flexibility training, consider taking in a yoga class or another type of easy movement training.  This too is something that you can learn and then do on your own if you would like to.

When you do these things, you get to transform your life in so many ways.  Consider the people that you know that are over the age of 60.  When you meet John and he shakes your hand, do you feel how weak and frail it is?  Do you feel his bones and realize that this once very large and tough man is now frail and very weak.  You may even feel like you could break his hand if you hold onto it too hard.

Is that the type of handshake that you want to give?  Or, do you want to be able to firmly grasp someone’s hand and feel the strength coming through?  When you incorporate an exercise regimen like this, you can gain those benefits and so much more.

In addition to this, exercise can actually help to improve your age.  Aerobic training as well as strength training helps to stimulate your body to produce growth hormone.  This hormone is a key ingredient to improving the health of your individual cells.  If you remember, improving each of your cells is important in keeping yourself healthy longer. 

Therefore, when your body produces more growth hormone, it can actually reverse the aging that your body has already gone through.  That’s because growth hormone actually can restore the health and the youth of each of your cells. 

One important thing to realize from this is that through exercising, you can improve much if not all of the damage that you’ve done to your body over the years.  You can restore your youth to a degree and then maintain it for some time to come.

Exercise simply must be a part of your life.  The Baby Boomer requires this type of movement for benefits that come later on in life, too.

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