Tuesday, 27 December 2011

The pressures of home and family life can also mean it feels as if there's little time left to fit in exercise. It's certainly tough to get started.
So, it's worth thinking about what you gain from regular exercise and making even a partial improvement to your fitness.
  • Physical inactivity is an independent risk factor for coronary heart disease - in other words, if you don't exercise you dramatically increase your risk of dying from a heart attack
  • Conversely, exercise means a healthier heart because it reduces several cardiovascular risks, including high blood pressure
  • Being physically active can bolster good mental health and help you to manage stress, anxiety and even depression
  • Regular exercise as you age keeps you strong, mobile and less dependent on others
  • Regular exercise can help you achieve and maintain an ideal weight, which can be important in managing many health conditions, or may just make you feel happier about your appearance
  • All exercise helps strengthen bones and muscles to some degree, but weight-bearing exercise, such as running, is especially good in promoting bone density and protecting against osteoporosis, which affects men as well as women
  • Different exercises help with all sorts of health niggles, such as digestion, poor posture and sleeplessness, and physical activity can be beneficial for a range of medical conditions, from diabetes to lower back pain

Keep mobile
Almost half of adults in the UK will be aged over 50 by 2020. We tend to assume the benefits and pleasures of sport, exercise and fitness are only for younger people, but think again. The rewards of improved fitness later in life can be great – both for your health and social life.
Statistics show activity levels decline steadily with age, and by their mid-50s few people take regular exercise.
But regular activity is especially important as you age because it has beneficial effects on conditions such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease, and helps you maintain mobility and mental well-being and, consequently, your independence.
There's no reason you should give up the sport you love just because you're getting older. There are plenty of exceptions to the statistical trend of decreased activity as we get older – at clubs up and down the country, for example, there are runners in their 50s, 60s and beyond whose fitness puts people 20 or 30 years their junior to shame.
And even if you weren't especially active or sporty at a younger age, it's never too late to start. Male or female, single or with a partner, there's lots you can do, and enjoy.
Some of the health benefits you'll get are the same as younger people, but there are things that are of particular benefit as you get older:

  • More energy - exercise makes you feel more energetic, while sitting around not doing much makes you feel sluggish and unable to do anything
  • Improved sleep - your body and mind feel as though they've done something and are ready for rest at night
  • Stable weight - regular exercise helps to keep you at a healthy weight
  • Improved circulation and lower blood pressure
  • Delayed ageing - keeping active strengthens your muscles, joints and bones as well as helping with mobility and balance, important as it helps to prevent falls, which are the leading cause of injury and death for the over-75s
On top of the health benefits, exercise can be an excellent way to meet new people, whether it's at a gym, a rambling or running club, or just people you meet while walking the dog.
The Calories IN Versus the Calories OUT

Too Much In To Burn Off!
Obesity is when you have too much body fat, as opposed to extra weight caused by muscles or water retention. The major cause of obesity is taking more calories in than you burn off with exercise or daily living.

Am I overweight?
One way to find out if you're overweight is to calculate your body mass index or BMI. People with a BMI of 25 or higher — especially people with a BMI over 30 — should consider losing weight to protect their health. Health benefits start even after a weight loss of just 5 to 10 percent of your body weight.

Doctors are still learning exactly how obesity contributes to heart disease, but here's what's known so far:

* Extra weight, particularly around the waist, increases your risk for diabetes and heart disease.
* People who are obese are 3 to 10 times more likely to have high blood pressure, which is a risk factor for heart disease.
* Obesity raises levels of cholesterol and triglycerides (types of fat) in your blood.
* Excess weight increases your risk of arthritis of the hips and knees.

In addition to knowing your BMI, it might also be helpful to figure out your waist-to-hip ratio. Measure around your waist, and then around your hips. If your waist size divided by your hip size is greater than 0.9 to 1.0 for men or 0.8 to 0.9 for women, you're more likely to have heart trouble.

It might not be as hard as you think to lower your health risk. Studies show that cholesterol and blood pressure get better with a weight loss of just 5 to 10 percent. For some people, this could be as small as 10 or 15 pounds.