We’re all well aware of the importance of exercise; remaining active is essential to your health at any age. However, as you get older, it gets more and more important to maintain your fitness through daily activity. Regular exercise can not only significantly increase your life expectancy, but it can also significantly decrease the risk factors and limit the development of certain chronic illnesses – conditions that individuals should be mindful of after turning 40. Luckily, even if you’ve been sedentary for some time, it’s never too late to begin exercising and reap the benefits of daily activity. Here are five exercises you can do to keep you feeling young, happy and healthy.
Aerobics, for heart disease
The U.S. National Library of Medicine stresses the importance of regular exercise for individuals with, or at risk of, coronary heart disease. Cardio gets the blood pumping; it uses your heart and lungs for an extended period of time, improving blood flow and strengthening the heart muscle. Any kind of cardiovascular activity will suffice, as long as it breaks a sweat: running, dancing, swimming, even power-walking. Try 30 minutes of aerobic activity at least three to four times a week.
Weight-bearing exercises, for osteoporosis
As you age, your bones grow weaker, and you become more susceptible to the development of osteoporosis. Individuals with this condition experience a weakening of the bones, which could lead to easy injury if you’re not careful. According to the National Osteoporosis Foundation, weight-bearing activities (exercises where you move against gravity while staying upright), one to two times a week could help maintain bone strength and ward off osteoporosis. Some weight-bearing exercises you could try include dancing, hiking or jumping rope. If you need something with lower impact, you could use an elliptical machine, stair-stepping machine or even a treadmill for a power walk.
Strengthening exercises, for arthritis
According to the Mayo Clinic, regular exercise is vital if you have arthritis, even if the stiffness in your joints would tell you otherwise. Regular activity strengthens the muscles around your joints and maintains bone strength; lack of exercise weakens those tissues, placing more stress on your joints and aggravating joint pain. Strengthening exercises – like squats, deadlifts and bicep curls – two or three days a week can help you build up your muscles and protect your joints, preventing the progression of arthritis.
Yoga, for depression and anxiety
Yoga, for individuals of any age, is an incredibly effective stress-reducer, particularly for those with depressive tendencies. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, as you grow older, you’re more at risk for developing depression. As significant life changes occur, like retirement or the death of a loved one, you become more susceptible to overwhelming feelings of sadness and stress. Research has shown how practicing yoga relieves anxiety and fights depression. Incorporating yoga into your workout regimen, once or twice a week will do wonders for your mind and body.
Core strengthening for lower back pain
According to WebMD, lower back pain tends to strike for the first time in individuals between the ages of 30 and 40. After this age, the risk of developing chronic back pain grows. By toning your core, you tone the muscles supporting the lower back, relieving and preventing back pain. Try adding some core-strengthening exercises, like crunches or planks, into your workout routine, three to four times per week.