Moger: Adding healthier years to our lives

Columnist says living a healthy lifestyle will slow down the aging process.

“It’s not the years in your life that count. It’s the life in your years.”

—Abraham Lincoln

I’ve had the book  “RealAge” on my shelf for quite some time and I finally just finished reading it.

Wow! Now I can see why it was considered a bestseller in the year 2000.

The author, Dr. Roizen, asks the question: “Are you as young as you can be?”

He points out that we have a chronological age and a biological age.

Some people are old for their age, and others are young for their age.

We all know someone who looks as if they’re in their 40s but who is really 60.

And on the flip side, the same goes for someone who has abused their body and looks much older than their chronological age. Often the difference between our calendar age and your “real age“ can be seen in our health behaviours and lifestyle.

While aging is a part of life, we have the power to slow the pace of aging by making simple, health conscious decisions in our day-to-day lives.

As outlined in Dr. Roizen’s book, there are many ways to add years to your life.

So as we come into the new year filled with resolutions to become more healthy and fit, I want to point out one area I feel is most important and often overlooked for seniors—strength training.

The three types of exercise to achieve overall fitness are cardiovascular, flexibility and strength training exercises.

Many seniors will tell you they walk for exercise, but few understand how important resistance training is for building muscle and bone strength.

On average, we lose an average of five per cent of our muscle mass every 10 years after the age of 35 if we don’t do anything about it.

By using dumbbells, resistance bands  and even your own bodyweight, seniors are able to keep their bones young by increasing bone density which will help  prevent osteoporosis,  bone fractures and falls.

Often seniors believe they will get hurt if they lift weights, but you can start with as little as two pounds.

There is more danger in not exercising than there is in potentially hurting yourself.

Focus on strengthening all the major muscle groups. Consider beginning with one set of eight to 12 repetitions for each exercise.

Strength training exercises should be performed two to four times a week resting one day between workouts.

If you’re not quite sure where to start, consider hiring a personal trainer to design a specialized fitness program.

The benefit of this type of instruction includes planning a safe and efficient program while  a good trainer will teaching the proper form and technique to reduce the risk of injury and help you succeed to reach your fitness goals.

Another New Year is here and provides us with a reminder and another opportunity to “add years to our lives” through daily, healthy choices.

Bobbi Moger is a personal trainer and fitness instructor in Kelowna who specializes in working with seniors.


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