Even if you haven’t exercised in decades, it is never too late to start. For example, WebMD reports that for menopausal women, physical activity may reduce some of the symptoms of menopause such as hot flashes, joint pain, and sleep problems. Whatever your age or gender, exercise lowers your risk of developing heart disease, diabetes, and osteoporosis and helps control weight. WebMD reports that “the effects of exercise are so potent that it influences every physiological system in the body for the better.”
Before you start, check with your doctor but then get moving. A complete fitness program must include the following:
- Stretching. Stretching exercises increase the range of motion in joints as well as flexibility and reduce the risk of injury and muscle soreness. Yoga and Pilates are good forms of stretching exercise; they build core body strength and increase stability.
- Aerobic exercise. Walking, jogging, swimming, and dancing are easy aerobic exercises to work into your lifestyle. Work up to getting twenty or more minutes per session, at least 3 or 4 days a week. Make sure you can pass the “talk test,” which means exercising at a pace that lets you carry on a conversation.
- Strength training. Lifting hand weights improves your strength and posture, maintains bone strength, reduces the risk of lower back injury, and also helps you tone. Start with a hand weight that you can comfortably handle for eight repetitions. Gradually add more reps until you can complete 12.
All movement counts towards a healthier you. Consider using a pedometer to measure your daily steps. Make it a goal to increase your daily steps by 500 every week until you are walking 10,000 steps daily, for example. Forgo the elevator when you can and take the stairs.