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Exercise for Life

Exercise for life
By Joanne Elliott

As your body grows older, it becomes increasing important to incorporate physical activities in your daily life. Repetitive rhythmic actions are best for the circulatory system, starting at low intensity, and progressing gradually.
Although this may sound hideous, exercise does not necessary have to be a hardship.
Here's why ...

The Uncertain Beginners: "I've always hated exercise, so why should I start now?"

If you're dubious about exercise then the best way to cope is to try to make it fun. Remember, it doesn't have to be an eight-mile jog in the snow with a huge wagon wheel strapped to your back! Every little helps, and there are relatively easy ways to 'kid yourself' into enjoying, (or not really realizing that you even are), being active.

* Always stand up when you're on the telephone.
* Throw away the remote control.
* Play your favourite music, something that motivates you.
* Stretch and squat to reach things to increase mobility when you do your housework.
* Park further away from where you're going than you need to, or better yet, walk.
* If you go to the beach, sit up instead of lying, go paddling or walk across the shore.
* Dance - take lessons if you need to!

The Intermediate Group: "I'll do it when I've got time, ...or if I can be bothered!"

So far, you're doing relatively well in the exercise stakes, but if you're really honest with yourself, you could do more. You just need a little bit more encouragement, and/or pressure! Plan your exercise times as you would an important business meeting, and stick to it. Why not find an exercise partner so that you can help each other, and enjoy a social occasion at the same time?

* Do some light gardening; mowing, raking and digging are ideal. You don't need to start trying to hack trees down by hand!
* Go for short walks. Start at 10-15 minutes, and then slowly build up to around 30 minutes.
* Walk the dog in scenic areas. By introducing variety in your route, you'll not get bored (and your pooch will be happier too)!
* Always take the stairs rather than the lift.
* If you go on holiday, try to stay at hotels with pools or fitness centers so that your good habits don't start to slip.

The Master Class: "Let me at it!!"

First of all, it's great that you're so enthusiastic, but please don't be tempted to over-do it! Remember, taking things relatively easy doesn't reflect badly on you; even when you were younger you would still damage your body if you pushed it too far.

Here are some quick ideas for more 'energetic' exercise:

* Go sightseeing by walking jogging or cycling.
* Plan family outings which require physical activity like hiking, or swimming, or playing sports in the park.
* If you're a golfing fan, always walk around the course rather than sitting in a mobile golf buggy.
* Play singles racket sports rather than doubles.
* You could even form a sports team with like-minded people to raise money for charity events. Then everybody will be winning!

A few quick points to note:

Before planning your exercise program, get checked out by the doctor. This is particularly important if you have a family history of heart disease. Take time to warm up and cool down as your muscular adaptation and elasticity slows with age. Your sense of thirst also decreases, so try to drink water around about every fifteen minutes.

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