When you're in your 20s it all seems so far away--you're just active enough not to notice that you ARE getting older. In your 30s you start to notice--I am getting older. Then in your 40s & 50s you start to feel I'm getting older and in a way that makes you know you must improve your health, your diet, your physical lifestyle.
What's a Body to Do
Recently there has been a societal shift toward a youth-oriented culture that has led to a desire to look as young as we can for as long as we can. But as we grow older we realize its not enough to look good we need and must feel good in our efforts to keep pace in our ever changing world. Because of this, calendar age has become unimportant. The number of years we have been alive, our chronological age, is not as important as our biological age which includes changes in the physical structure and shape of our bodies, basically changes in how we look, feel, and move.
The good news is we can combat aging with exercise because exercise has age-stopping powers--with exercise you can dip into the 'fountain of youth'. So here's the tip--whatever age you start at the aging process starts to slow down and in some cases appears to stop. Exercise is preventative medicine!
Figure Out What Works for You
So how do you get started and stay motivated? I tell people of all ages exercise doesn't have to be boring, you don't have to hate it--you can find a workout routine and quick fun alternatives that can keep you healthy and in shape. Start with what works for you by recognizing what works for you. Would you prefer to go it alone on some days (walking or running), or prefer a social setting on other days (group classes),or how about mixing it up (solitude one day, group setting the next--outdoor one day indoors the next).
If you are just starting out or returning after an absence you will want and find it necessary to work with a trainer in order to learn proper form and movement thus avoiding unnecessary pain and injury.
Anaerobic or Aerobic
There are two types of exercise: aerobic and anaerobic (cardio-example jogging & bicycling, and resistance-example weights). The best types of exercise combine 3 elements: Stamina, Strength, and Suppleness. Cardio builds stamina, resistence builds strength, and stretching leads to suppleness.
What I find fun, and can offer an overall workout is the exercise ball; it can be done in a group setting, or in the privacy of your home. Shape-up exercising on the go is an added way of increasing your fitness level and shapeing up when there's little time to spend at the gym. It's a mindset of always being on the lookout for opportunities to dip into a squat or a lung (shapes butt and legs), or looking for a wall to do push-ups against (strengthens upper & lower body). Push up and down on your toes (shapes calves) or alternate lifting legs high in marching style (works core and lower back). These little techniques can be carried out all day by intertwining them into the usual mundane activites or chores of your day.
Go for It
Along with a good diet and fitness, you can have beauty and style starting in your 20s that last into your 60s and beyond; if you make the time, and be consistent, you will look and feel amazing at any age. Start now!
-Article by Peggie Walker
Similar version of this article by Peggie Walker appeared on Spa Week Daily Blog on June 20, 2012