Just because we are chronologically growing older, does not mean our bodies and minds need to align with our physical age. Science continually conducts tests proving the benefits of physical activity stave off physical deterioration. We are so accustomed to anticipating our physical decline with age we haven’t spent enough time trying to challenge conventional wisdom.
Can you imagine if the benefits of physical activity could decrease blood pressure, lessen the risk of Alzheimer’s Disease, diabetes, cancer, heart disease, and osteoporosis? Would you even consider NOT working out?! Well, it’s entirely possible, so let’s all commit to adding regular physical activity into our lives. In fact, it is so essential to maintain physical health I’ve even begun rescheduling meetings around my fitness classes, and I no longer feel guilty about it.
All of this great news does not mean we should be training for triathlons. It does say we need to do age-appropriate exercises for our bodies, which includes the following:
Low to Medium Impact
Most perennial women engage in low to medium impact sports as they are gentler on muscles and joints and therefore avoid injury. Aging, can cause muscle cells to shrink, and this results in loss of strength. Additionally, following training, it takes longer for muscles to recover. Therefore, to retain fitness and prevent loss of muscular strength, the following activities are recommended:
- Elliptical machine workouts
Almost a third of strength is lost as a result of the aging process between the ages of 50-70 years, while simultaneously shedding up to a fifth of bone density in the 5-7 years after menopause. This puts older women at an increased risk of osteoporosis and generalized loss of strength.
Resistance training is an excellent way to combat the aging process, and as an extra benefit, it’s low impact too. Using your muscles to work against resistance strengthens bones and slows the loss in density. In some cases, it can even add bone density, making it invaluable for women of all ages, but especially Perennials. Some examples include:
- Weight training
- Circuit training
- Heavy gardening
Flexibility is often underrated when it comes to staying fit, but it’s crucial, especially for us women hitting our middle years. Staying flexible means there’s less risk of injury to the joints when we exercise. This is because it helps the bones retain a greater range of motion. Poor flexibility can impact balance, thus increasing the likelihood of falls and making simple daily activities feel much more arduous. Exercises such as yoga provide further benefits offering some protection against high blood pressure and cardiovascular disease. Some of the best options for flexibility include:
- Foam roller massage
Bonus Good News
There are additional benefits of physical activity that go beyond disease prevention and maintaining vitality such as stress relief, better mood, and increased energy. Physical activity actually releases different chemicals in the brain such as endorphins and norepinephrine, which can help to neutralize all of these conditions. Runners talk about the “high” they feel after a run which typically kicks in after a few miles. With all of these incredible benefits of physical activity, let’s get moving!