Fitness over fifty

Old age can be fun and happier if it is healthy, full of enthusiasm and fit. It is said that " He who has health has hope and he who has hope has everything". Therefore it is necessary that as you enter your mid-lives you learn to take extra care for your body to avoid chances of physical incapacity and take proper diet and exercise to lengthen your life and make your lives fuller, minds happier and bodies more younger.

As you start ageing you will lose:

  • 20 percent of your body's water content.
  • 60 percent of your ability to taste.
  • 35 percent of your ability to pump blood from the heart.
  • About 3 inch in height.

As far as your health is concerned you become:

  • More susceptible to cold and heat.
  • Suffer from osteoporosis, kidney, bladder problems and constipation.
  • Lose some mental functioning due to loss of brain neurons and thus become more   forgetful.

Thus in order to reverse or slow the effects of ageing all you need to do is have a well-balanced life. You have to exercise effectively, adopt good eating habits, quit smoking and drinking and live a happy and healthy life.

Nutritious food for a healthy life:

For a proper diet food should include protein, vitamins, minerals and fibre.

Protein: Protein is essential for building nearly every part of the body-the brain, bones, heart, muscles and even the blood. It is made up of 22 amino acids, otherwise known as the 'building blocks of life'. Adults require 0.75 g of protein per kg of body weight per day. Protein is found in foods like fish, eggs, beef, whole wheat, milk, liver, soya beans, beans, peanuts, brown rice and peas.

Vitamins: Vitamins are organic compounds that are essential in small amounts for the growth and development of our body. They act as enzymes (catalyst) which facilitate many of the body processes.

Minerals: Our body uses many minerals such as phosphorus, calcium, and magnesium for strong teeth and bone; zinc for growth; chromium for carbohydrate metabolism; and copper and iron for haemoglobin production.

Fibre: Fibre is the part of the food, which we consume, that is not digestible. It helps to move the food through the intestine by increasing their peristaltic action. Foods containing fibre are whole grain cereals, fibrous vegetables, and root vegetables like carrot, beet, turnips and other leafy vegetables.

Thus your diet should have the combination of all the nutrients listed above and it should also come in proper quantity.In your daily diet you should have the following:

  • Fruits: Have fruits whichever you like 2-4 servings per day.
  • Vegetables should be consumed at lunch and at dinner not more than 3-5 servings per day.
  • Grain products like bread, chapati, rice 6-11 servings per day.
  • Meat, source of protein should be consumed 2-3 servings per day.
  • Milk one glass per day.

Physical fitness for energy
Physical fitness is essential for a healthy and happy life. Exercise helps you in this age in many ways. A person who has been exercising regularly will look and feel younger than a person who has not been exercising. But that doesn't mean you cant exercise and look young. You can start exercising and can slow or reverse ageing and look and feel much younger. Therefore make it a point to exercise 30 minutes every day for a better and healthy life. You can swim, jog, do brisk-walking, play your favourite sport, and go to a gym, cycle or go in for yoga.

Following are a few exercises, which you can include in your fitness program:

  • For strengthening chest muscles and triceps do press-ups. If you are unable to do regular press-ups then you can do it by keeping your knees on the floor or by pushing away from the wall.
  • For biceps-lie on the floor. Then bend your legs and keep your feet flat on the floor. Lock your hands behind your thighs and pull your head and shoulder upto your knees.
  • For upper leg muscles-hold on to a table and do a one-legged half-knee bend or do the exercise with both legs.
  • For lower leg muscles-hold on to a table and then rise up on your toes. Do this exercise one leg at a time.
  • Relax and massage your muscles after you finish exercising.

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