Thursday, April 27, 2017

This 'n That Thursdays: Ten Best Life-Long Exercises

From Dogtime

With summer approaching I feel the need to get more active.  I read an article quite a while ago listing ten of the most beneficial exercises you can do for the rest of your life, and thought that it might be a good idea to take a look at the list again.  Some of these exercises I do on a regular basis, but it may be time to add more of them to my life.  In case you are curious, here is the list (and how I personally feel about each one!):

1) Walking is one of the best and most doable exercises of all.  I walk for about 40 minutes almost every morning with my dogs, and they are so used to their morning walks that there is no way I could ever convince them to just hit the snooze button and go back to sleep.  They are such good motivators!

2) Running - while I never considered myself a runner, I used to jog instead of walk every morning.  As I got older, however, an old Achilles tendon injury made high impact exercise an unsafe option so I switched to walking.  I felt that I got better cardiovascular benefits from jogging, but sometimes compromises must be made!

3) Squats are great for strengthening the lower body as well as improving flexibility and balance.  If you want even more benefits, try lunges, which are basically just squats while walking.

4) Turkish Get-Ups are one type of exercise I had never heard of before!  Take a look at the video above for an idea of what you are getting yourself into should you decide to attempt them (and try not to be intimidated by the very muscular guy doing the demonstration!).  I am feeling a bit ambivalent about this exercise, but if I do try it I think I will forego the medicine ball, possibly forever but definitely at least until I have the rather complicated moves down pat first!  (I just know I would be one of those people who would drop the weight on myself at some point.)

5) Swimming is not an activity I have ever enjoyed.  I am not a water person and hate to get my head wet.  I took lessons as a child and am perfectly capable of swimming, but unless someone forces me into the water I doubt that I will ever swim on a regular basis.

6) Pushups were not a routine for me until a few months ago, when I started doing simple wall pushups every day, and much to my surprise they are actually toning up my arms!  I have never had much arm strength, and conventional pushups have always been beyond me.  Although I could do a few bent-knee pushups, they never seemed to have any worthwhile benefits because I could not do enough of them.  With wall pushups, I started with 20 a day and have gradually worked up to 60.  I intend to add more pushups gradually every year.  By the time I reach the age of 100 I should have phenomenal arms!

7) Plank may seem like a relatively easy exercise, but just try and maintain it for any length of time if your overall muscle strength, especially in the core, is lacking!  I find that this simple pose is one that I often overlook, especially when I am not taking regular yoga classes, so I am going to make an effort to do planks daily from now on.  Watch the video above if you are unsure of the proper position for a plank (and enjoy the pleasant British accent as you watch!).

8) Pullups - I may dislike swimming, but I absolutely loathe pullups.  I can never remember a time when I could do even one of these.  Go ahead, call me a wimp, but I can say with great certainty that I will never again attempt to do what is for me an exercise in futility!

9) Stretching has been a part of my daily routine for decades now, and it really has made a difference.  Even though I have always been very flexible, as I've aged I find that if I do not keep up with stretching I will lose flexibility much more quickly.  I do not even get out of bed in the morning without doing a few different types of stretches first, and my consistency has paid off in keeping me limber over the years.

10) A Healthy Diet is not really an exercise so much as a lifestyle commitment.  A balanced diet is a crucial part of any fitness goal.  For my specific nutritional needs as I get older, I find I must try to limit sugar and processed foods as much as possible, reduce the amount of starches in my diet by half, and avoid red meats since I am allergic to them.  I am not perfect, of course (no one is!), but I have managed to stick to this regimen pretty well and have lost a fair amount of excess weight over the past year as a result.  The perfect diet will differ from person to person, but the basics, such as lots of vegetables and fruits, lean proteins, whole grains, and healthy fats, are pretty universal.


Remember, as the original article mentions, the single best exercise is one that you will actually do!

Does this count?
(from ScienceABC)

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