Leslie Sokol standing in front of her Young at Heart banner

The Young at Heart

I always say to my students, “Age is just a number.” Don’t let your age hold you back! As you age, it is essential to keep your body moving and active through regular exercise. Physical activity is the cornerstone of healthy aging – it will keep you in shape, improve alertness, and increase energy. Scientific evidence suggests that people who exercise regularly not only live longer, but also live higher-quality lives with less pain and chances of disability.

A good fitness routine includes three components: stretching, strengthening and aerobics.

Stretching: The three L’s — longer, looser and limber — are what you want your muscles to be. Stretching increases your range of motion and reduces your chance of injury. You become more flexible, which allows you to move faster, easier and more freely. It also enhances good posture and body placement.

Strengthening: Strength training is crucial for building muscle mass and firms your body. Building muscles helps support your joints and prevents injury. It is also better to have more muscle than fat because muscle burns more calories, even when you’re not exercising.

Aerobics: It’s critical to care for the most important muscle in your body – your heart! Any kind of exercise that that gets your heart rate pumping (i.e., walking, dancing, swimming) is an absolute must for any fitness routine. Cardio helps strengthen your heart and lungs and increases the amount of oxygen in the blood. Aerobic exercise also burns calories, releases endorphins and gets you in great shape!

In my next article, I will provide examples of exercises for each of these components so you can achieve balanced fitness. Remember, the best exercise is always the one you enjoy the most! Our bodies were made to move – sound body, sound mind!

This article originally appeared in the Ventura Breeze.

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