Exercise and Longevity
The link between exercise and longevity is clear. I am always amazed by the stories I read about the very old. Like the 90 some year old woman still chopping her own wood at her home in rural Europe or the charming marathon runner who at age 101, despite his drinking and smoking, still completes marathons in England.
We all know we need to exercise of course. Scientific American recently had an article on one more reason to work out: it makes you smarter. This should not be too much of a shock really. Exercise improves the blood flow bringing more oxygen and supplies more nutrients to the brain. The mind is sharper as a result.
Russian chess champions have known this secret for decades if not longer. Their routines include vigorous physical exercise along with serious study of the game make them formidable challengers.
You donʼt need to be a chess champion to benefit mentally from exercise.
You can achieve better health and vitality through exercise. The legendary Jack LaLanne is an excellent example that you benefit from strength training at any age. I have had the privilege of meeting him on several occasions while I was living in California. He works out two hours a day and has outlived most of his doctors. He is 95.
Flexibility and Anti-Aging
Flexibility as a measure of health and vitality is a very useful tool. Most of us become stiffer and more rigid as we age. It does not have to be this way. Consider yoga and stretching exercises as part of your normal exercise routines.
There is no reason that you should not be able to easily touch your toes at age 90 as you could when you were 5. Many might cringe to read that but watch some older folks practice Tai Chi or yoga in the park sometime. I was in the Chinatown area of SanFrancisco on a warm summer day. Hundreds were practicing slowly and deliberately. Truly amazing. They have flexibility that I am envious of.
The Benefits of Exercise at Any Age
There are clear benefits of exercise at any age and at any skill level.
It would be self defeating to say, "oh, I am too out of shape to do anything about ... "(fill in the blank with - my muscle tone, my waist, my flexibility, my energy level, my dexterity, my physical skill level, etc.).
The point is that you can benefit from exercise at any age. Our bodies were designed to move with grace and energy. If you have been sedentary for much of your life, then begin slowly. Walk daily to build some energy. Keep expanding and reaching for moreactivity. Choose activities and exercises that you enjoy.
There are numerous studies that show we get better sleep because of exercise. A body that has been exercised falls into deeper sleep than one that has not.
Weight loss and weight management are not possible unless we get adequate exercise. Any good doctor will tell you that your weight is basically the result of calories taken in (the food we eat) versus the calories burned (through exercise or basic activity).
So get out there and do something you like doing! Keep exercising and moving all of your life. You were made to move. Stay sharp and flexible. Find those activities that keep you motivated and enjoy them.
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