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5 Cardio Protective Exercises for the Over 50s

5 Cardio Protective Exercises for the Over 50s

Protecting your heart is important at any age, but it becomes crucial as you grow older.

In fact, those over 50 are likely to gain the most from starting a new heart-friendly exercise program. Cardiovascular exercise keeps your heart and lungs strong. But, it also helps manage the aging process by giving you more energy, managing your weight, relieving symptoms of anxiety, and helping you feel younger.

Yet, as you get older, deciding how much cardio you should do and what kind of exercises are best for your body becomes more complicated. By the time you reach 50, you and your body have been through a lot. It is important to be kind and considerate to your body.

If you are over 50, moderately fit, and do not have any chronic health conditions, the American College of Sports Medicine and the Center for Disease Control recommendation cardiovascular exercise for half an hour a day, five days a week. Alternatively, you can participate in intense cardio for 20 minutes at a time three days a week.

To get started, choose an activity: it could be low-, moderate-, or high-intensity exercise, or your own unique combination of exercises.

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Use your body as a guide, and check out these five types of exercises.

  1. Low-Intensity Exercise

Low-intensity exercise includes exercise that you can do five days a week, or even every day depending on your preferences and health. They are perfect for this age group because they encourage you to get up and get moving, but do not require huge amounts of time or energy.

Examples of low-intensity exercises include:

  • Walking
  • Yoga
  • Recreational swimming
  • Pilates

These will help keep you moving and increase your mobility. They also give your heart the care it needs to keep beating with ease. They are a great place to start for anyone who has recently been ill, injured, or who has let their physical fitness lapse.

  1. Moderate-Intensity Exercise

Moderate exercise is for those who want to get a little sweaty. Done three to five days per week, moderate exercise might include actions like:

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  • Power walking
  • Tennis
  • Higher-intensity yoga
  • Golf
  • Ballroom dancing
  • Cycling
  • Gardening
  • Shoveling snow
  • Playing with children

Moderate-intensity exercise is a great middle ground between everyday activities and the most intense forms of exercise and is good for anyone in an intermediate stage of fitness.

  1. High-Intensity Exercise

If you have been active your whole life, or are healthy enough to choose to get active now, high-intensity exercise can help keep you moving at a fast pace for years.

Jogging and running are common exercises that are perfect for maximizing heart and lung health. These training techniques are known to lower blood pressure and reduce the need for at-home monitoring for those with cardiovascular problems.

Those who want the workout without the impact on their joints can turn to elliptical machine workouts, rowing, or cross-country skiing for workouts.

High-intensity interval training is a popular tool to use once or twice a week. Choose an exercise and alternate between comfortable or moderate levels and short bursts of all-out intensity.

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  1. Muscle-Building Exercises

Not only does strength training promote heart and lung health, but it also prevents your muscles from deteriorating. Additionally, gaining more strength makes cardio exercise easier on your body and helps you rebound from more grueling workouts.

Unless you are a gym bunny, start out with body weight exercises, like squats, to help keep major muscle groups thriving.

Squat in front of a chair, keep your arms in front of you, and hold that position before standing up again. Do two sets of 10 repetitions for the best results.

If you find body weight exercises too challenging, modify them. Use pillows or a chair for support to keep you upright. Remember, form is key. Do not over-extend yourself to the point where you are performing the exercise incorrectly.

  1. Flexibility Exercises

Flexibility exercises, like stretching, are also important for people as they age. Although most flexibility exercises are not likely to get your heart rate up, they do prepare you for cardiovascular exercise, and help you cool down after.

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Be sure to incorporate some stretching exercises into your workouts, or even create a day where you focus on flexibility on its own.

Once you have selected your activities, choose your duration. The recommendations listed above from the ACSM are a guideline, but if you have not exercised in a while, work your way up to that half an hour to build endurance. Start with 10-15 minutes, or even five minutes, of exercise, and go from there.

Finally, choose how regularly you want to exercise. Start by working out a few days per week to see how your body fares. Be sure to give yourself plenty of rest. Listen to your body; it will tell you whether you can train five days per week or if it is happier with only two or three days.

Follow these easy steps, and listen to your body and your doctor, and the next phase of your life could be your healthiest.

Featured photo credit: Ed Gregoru via stokpic.com

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Last Updated on September 20, 2018

How to Stay Calm and Cool When You Are Extremely Stressful

How to Stay Calm and Cool When You Are Extremely Stressful

Being in a hurry all the time drains your energy. Your work and routine life make you feel overwhelmed. Getting caught up in things beyond your control stresses you out…

If you’d like to stay calm and cool in stressful situations, put the following 8 steps into practice:

1. Breathe

The next time you’re faced with a stressful situation that makes you want to hurry, stop what you’re doing for one minute and perform the following steps:

  • Take five deep breaths in and out (your belly should come forward with each inhale).
  • Imagine all that stress leaving your body with each exhale.
  • Smile. Fake it if you have to. It’s pretty hard to stay grumpy with a goofy grin on your face.

Feel free to repeat the above steps every few hours at work or home if you need to.

2. Loosen up

After your breathing session, perform a quick body scan to identify any areas that are tight or tense. Clenched jaw? Rounded shoulders? Anything else that isn’t at ease?

Gently touch or massage any of your body parts that are under tension to encourage total relaxation. It might help to imagine you’re in a place that calms you: a beach, hot tub, or nature trail, for example.

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3. Chew slowly

Slow down at the dinner table if you want to learn to be patient and lose weight. Shoveling your food down as fast as you can is a surefire way to eat more than you need to (and find yourself with a bellyache).

Be a mindful eater who pays attention to the taste, texture, and aroma of every dish. Chew slowly while you try to guess all of the ingredients that were used to prepare your dish.

Chewing slowly will also reduce those dreadful late-night cravings that sneak up on you after work.

4. Let go

Cliche as it sounds, it’s very effective.

The thing that seems like the end of the world right now?

It’s not. Promise.

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Stressing and worrying about the situation you’re in won’t do any good because you’re already in it, so just let it go.

Letting go isn’t easy, so here’s a guide to help you:

21 Things To Do When You Find It Hard To Let Go

5. Enjoy the journey

Focusing on the end result can quickly become exhausting. Chasing a bold, audacious goal that’s going to require a lot of time and patience? Split it into several mini-goals so you’ll have several causes for celebration.

Stop focusing on the negative thoughts. Giving yourself consistent positive feedback will help you grow patience, stay encouraged, and find more joy in the process of achieving your goals.

6. Look at the big picture

The next time you find your stress level skyrocketing, take a deep breath, and ask yourself:

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Will this matter to me…

  • Next week?
  • Next month?
  • Next year?
  • In 10 years?

Hint: No, it won’t.

I bet most of the stuff that stresses you wouldn’t matter the next week, maybe not even the next day.

Stop agonizing over things you can’t control because you’re only hurting yourself.

7. Stop demanding perfection of yourself

You’re not perfect and that’s okay. Show me a person who claims to be perfect and I’ll show you a dirty liar.

Demanding perfection of yourself (or anybody else) will only stress you out because it just isn’t possible.

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8. Practice patience every day

Below are a few easy ways you can practice patience every day, increasing your ability to remain calm and cool in times of stress:

  • The next time you go to the grocery store, get in the longest line.
  • Instead of going through the drive-thru at your bank, go inside.
  • Take a long walk through a secluded park or trail.

Final thoughts

Staying calm in stressful situations is possible, all you need is some daily practice.

Taking deep breaths and eat mindfully are some simple ways to train your brain to be more patient. But changing the way you think of a situation and staying positive are most important in keeping cool whenever you feel overwhelmed and stressful.

Featured photo credit: Brooke Cagle via unsplash.com

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