Monday, July 28th13.9°C
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Jan Hugens

Health & exercise versus age

As I was enjoying my morning breakfast with Global TV, Dr. Art Hister came on with his weekly health spiel. Oddly, it was exactly what I was writing about this week, health and exercise versus age.

As we get older we move slower and our metabolism slows. That doesn’t mean that we should slow down ourselves. It means we should try harder. A lot of things that we thought were just inherent to the aging process and were going to happen no matter what, don't really have to happen if you maintain an appropriate lifestyle.

Beginning when you are in your late 30s, maximal oxygen consumption decreases at a rate of at least 10% per decade (about 1% per year) in most people. This changes the heart rate, which decreases by about 5 to 10 beats per minute per decade. This reduction in aerobic capacity is one of the reasons to exercise when you are older.

Some types of muscle are lost more quickly than others. You'll lose more fast-twitch muscle which are muscles that you use less often. Slow twitch muscles are the ones that you use to do your daily life like walking. The plus side of this - even though aging adults have less muscle mass, their higher proportion of slow-twitch, fatigue-resistant muscle fibers can give them a leg up in endurance activities such as running or cycling.

With age, large, elastic arteries including the aorta (which shuttles blood from the heart) and the carotid artery (which feeds blood to the brain) get stiffer. As a result, blood pressure rises and the heart has to work that much harder. Exercising daily helps slow down the process.

Wear and tear builds up on the joints. Connective tissue becomes less elastic and lubricating fluids decline, making aging adults more injury-prone. Cross-training — doing a mix of high- and low-impact exercises such as weight training, yoga and cycling — works different muscle groups and can reduce the risk of orthopedic injuries from overuse. It is suggested that a lifelong exercise habit helps keep joints intact. In part, this could be because activity improves blood flow and other regenerative pathways and may activate stem cells that help the body repair itself.

Here is another one of the most important reasons that I exercise. Endorphins! Endorphins are among the brain chemicals known as neurotransmitters, which function to transmit electrical signals within the nervous system. These endorphins interact with the receptors in your brain that reduce your perception of pain. Endorphins also trigger a positive feeling in the body, similar to that of morphine. Exercise creates endorphins which help in decreasing depression and pain. Endorphins make you happy!

As for myself, I am starting to feel all these health issues less and less as I keep eating healthily and exercising with the greatest team out there……Team Castanet!!

So to all the "Zoomers" out there...the longer you want to live, the more you will exercise.

Have a great week and remember - eat well, sleep well, exercise and...be good to YOU!



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About the Author

Jan, the 411 Directory administrator for Castanet, has committed to being part of the Castanet team for the Global Fitness Get it Back, Give it Back 2013 fitness wellness challenge.  Her goal is to achieve "a healthier way of life!"

Here is Jan's story:

I used to be fit and very active when I was young - playing sports, hiking, rock climbing, biking - anything just because. I stayed active up until I was in my 30’s. After a number of bad injuries at work, kids, stress, bad relationships and life in general, I found myself at a life killing weight of 424 lbs! I could barely move and had no quality of life. Scary!! So, I moved to the Okanagan because this is where I was always happy and active, and a year and a half later I am down to a mere 300 lbs. and really ready to Get it Back ……life that is!

With the opportunity I have received from the “Get it Back Give it Back 2013”, I have started my upward climb to a better way of life….a healthier way of life! Follow me in my 12-week journey, through my new exercise regime, hopefully taking away good ideas and perhaps helping you through yours.




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The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet presents its columns "as is" and does not warrant the contents.


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