Exercise really can be a simple undertaking that has huge benefits. Engaging in 150 minutes each week of moderate activity has huge benefits to our body and our ability to nourish ourselves. This should include some cardio and some resistance training. (Remember, this level of moderate activity has huge benefits on our gut, as well.)
Brisk walking for 40-50 minutes 3 days a week and then resistance training for 20-30 minutes 3 days a week meets the activity goal, but also our muscle strength goals. If you are new to exercise, consult a health care professional before you start.
Taking a walk pays huge dividends! Can we park farther away? Can we take the stairs? If we have not been very active, start slow and increase the activity goal each week.
What about muscle strength? Good muscle structure is important for our bone health and for our metabolism. As we age, it is important to engage in some resistance activity to prevent decline in muscle mass, strength and function. Resistance training requires our muscles to contract to move an object (even our own body) against the pull of gravity. Each of us may be at a different ability level, but basic weight bearing exercises like pushups, squats and yoga are probably within everyone’s reach. Again, if we need to start slowly, do pushups against a wall, squats with a chair behind us and basic yoga stretches.
The Baltimore Longitudinal Study of Aging (BLSA) — has shown that maintaining muscle mass has huge benefits:
“When you do resistance or strength training, very important chains of molecules that relay signals between cells are affected, and these changes linger in the body for hours after exercise, building up a cumulative, positive effect. Even a low-intensity strength and walking program has substantial benefits.”
—Roger A. Fielding, Ph.D., associate director, Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging, Tufts University
So simply flex those muscles for your overall health!