Have you ever had those days when all you needed was just a little more energy? A little more strength? And maybe a 44-ounce soda to liven things up a bit? Ok, I admit the soda is not an essential part, but feeling better, being more fit, and having more energy to get through the day is something most of us want. A national survey by AARP and Abbott found that one in two adults over the age of 50 wished they had more energy and strength to participate in the activities they enjoy.
And yet, with the easy access to processed foods, our lack of exercise, and busy, stressful schedules, we aren’t getting any closer to improving our health. Until today.
It is never too late to enjoy the health benefits of a daily fitness routine, and here are three ways to get started.
With the popularity of cardio dominating most exercise routines, people sometimes forget that lifting weights remains one of the most effective ways to build muscle mass, reduce bone loss, improve cardiovascular function, strengthen cognitive functions, ward of disease, and reduce the risks of depression. Exercise is a lifelong commitment, adding health benefits at every stage of life.
For older adults, hitting the free weights as little as three times per week can reduce the risk of falls, the leading cause of injury in older adults. Jeremy Osmond, M.D., director of rehabilitation at Provo Nursing and Rehab says that even just getting out and walking or doing mild but consistent exercise programs will increase your general lower extremity strength and make falls much less likely.
2. Intermittent Fasting
Although caloric restrictions while dieting will likely wreck any long-term weight loss progress, intermittent fasting simplifies the process of eating and controlling calories. “Here’s a simple definition of intermittent fasting,” James Clear, a strength training expert says, “You eat your normal amount of food in a smaller time frame. It’s not a diet; it’s just a pattern of eating that reduces your eating window each day to about 8 hours.”
The big advantage of fasting is the build up of the Human Growth Hormone (HGH), which naturally handles cell growth and regeneration. A healthy dose of HGH increases muscle mass, cognitive function, and slows the progression of age-related degenerative diseases. A popular model is an 18-hour fast with a 6-hour eating window or a 20-hour fast with a 4-hour eating window.
3. Get some sleep
Experts at the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute say the health benefits of getting some decent shuteye every night range from better brain function to reducing the risks of heart disease, high blood pressure, and stroke. “Sleep plays an important role in your physical health,” they said, adding that sleep is necessary to heal and repair the heart and blood vessels.
When it comes to fitness, sleep is the key to making sure your body functions properly. “When your insulin is functioning well, fat cells remove fatty acids and lipids from your bloodstream and prevent storage. When you become more insulin resistant, fats (lipids) circulate in your blood and pump out more insulin,” health contributor Adam Bornstein says. “Eventually this excess insulin ends up storing fat in all the wrong places, such as tissues like your liver.” And this is exactly how you become fat. Even worse, you become more susceptible to disease.
You know you need more energy to get through your day. Now, you can have it. By adding strength training to your daily routine, controlling diet, and getting a good night’s sleep, you will be on the right track to better energy, improved strength, and a rockin’ new life of better health.
This article was originally published by The Daily Herald.