One’s age can be a reminder of his/her achievements, accomplishments and happy moments. It can also be a constant reminder of the ticking clock, lost moments of hope/belief and wasted years of hatred and animosity. Sure, it does depend on the way you consider ageing but one thing is for sure-it’s inevitable, unavoidable, not winnable or reversible. But you can surely age gracefully! If you are someone who has never had an echo or even an injection almost throughout your life, even until your 60s its good for you but still the changes in your health happen slowly and gradually. It’s the quantum of changes that determine the quality of life.
Signs of Ageing
Age-related changes don’t wait for you to reach your 50s and 60s as some of them start occurring as early as your 30s. To prove it with an example, a normal person’s maximum attainable heart rate declines by about one beat per minute per year and his heart’s blood pumping capacity decreases by 5-10% every decade. That’s because after 35 or 40 years the blood inside the body changes in attribute becoming more thicker and stickier making it harder to pump it throughout the body. Blood vessels also start thickening and blood pressure too increases. Bone density starts decreasing right from 30s, muscle mass decreases, joints and ligaments stiffen, flexibility reduces and weight gain starts happening. As we clearly know that muscle mass decreases with age all that we gain is fat putting us into a critical situation.
The nervous system starts showing gradual changes as reflexes become slower, you fight for proper coordination and strive hard to keep things in your memory. Sleep also becomes a problem to most of them and you don’t need an alarm clock to wake you up but you keep staring at one for helping you get right out of bed when its time to be awake! All these changes might create a fear of ageing but one must always remember the truth that we cannot prevent ageing but only minimize its impact.
Exercise might not be your magic drink for staying young forever but it does act as your energy booster, health booster and vitality booster. Fitness experts, health professionals and RNDs insist on exercising regularly but a Texas study has proved the importance of exercising to a great extent.
Ending the Quest for Bed Rest
When a group of five men who volunteered for a research study were told that they had to spend three weeks of their summer vacation resting in bed they were more than elated to hear the news. Alas, they did not feel the same way at the end of the trial. There was a huge difference in different aspects-faster resting heart rate, higher systolic blood pressures, a fall in the heart’s maximum pumping capacity, increase in body fat and fall in muscle strength. In the 21-day period these five 20-year-old volunteers experienced physiological changes comparable to men twice their age. After the 3-week period the researchers put the volunteers on an 8-week exercise program that did more than reverse the grave impact of exercising. This study was the turning point in medical history as it helped encourage physicians to advise patients to start doing activity soon after some illness or surgery.
When the same research was continued on the same volunteers some 30 years later the age of these volunteers was around 50 and all of them were still healthy. Still, these men gained an average of around 20 kilograms and their body fat doubled from 14% to 28% of body weight. All the volunteers were put on a 6-months exercise routine that included walking, jogging and cycling. Although the men lost only 4-5 kilograms at the end of the 6-month period their resting heart rates, blood pressures and pumping abilities reached normal levels as in their 20s. This training helped reverse the 30-year decline in health equating it to as good as their 20s. Endurance training exists as the best way to keep the body’s metabolism from ageing-it helps in reducing body fat, lowering blood sugar levels, increasing HDL levels and decreasing LDL levels, elevate mood, improve sleep, avoid depression and delay memory-loss as much as possible. Whatever might be your exercise start gradually. Maybe do some 30 minutes of brisk walk daily and increase it to maybe 250 minutes of exercise every week.
Involve yourself in resistance exercises, flexible training and balance exercises to stay fit. Keep moving to stay as young as possible. Know more about each of these by taking a look at www.firsteatright.com.
The Tonic to Nourish: Exercise
Exercise helps in delaying ageing-related changes and stave away chronic illnesses too. Hypertension, diabetes, osteoporosis and Alzheimer’s disease are common problems that anyone can face as they age. Exercising helps to reduce the risk of these diseases too. Stroke and exercise are two major killers during old age. Exercising reduces these risks greatly and puts the body’s well-being above everything else.
A Harvard study has shown that man can gain two hours of life expectancy for every hour of exercise. This adds a mere two years of extra life over the course. Exercising regularly and staying active is needed. Just whiling away your time at the gym or strolling instead of walking is not going to solve your problem. Walk for only 30 minutes but do it as brisk as possible to enhance your health. The beauty of exercise is that people respond to it in a positive way at any age. For instance, the volunteers responded to exercise training in the same way in their 50s as they did in their 20s. Apart from exercising there are quite a few other ways to age gracefully:
Follow these simple tips in life, enjoy your stay in this beautiful world, collect cherished memories and reap greater benefits in terms of health, good friends and love.
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Dietitian & Nutritionist Dr. Nafeesa Imteyaz.
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