“Typically, people who exercise, start eating better and becoming more productive at work. They smoke less and show more patience with colleagues and family. They use their credit cards less frequently and say they feel less stressed. Exercise is a keystone habit that triggers widespread change.”Charles Duhigg, The Power of Habit
The third rail of a healthy, sexy over 50 body and mind is exercise. For looking good and losing weight, what you eat is by far the most important thing. But for looking hot naked and building lean muscle, you can’t beat exercise.
Both cardio and strength training are essential ingredients of a healthy second phase.
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And even though you can certainly lose weight with just your diet, exercise is absolutely essential for a life in your second half free of many lifestyle-related diseases, aches, and pains.
According to the book Younger Next Year, “70% of what we feel as aging is optional.”
Seventy percent? That’s astounding. But true, nonetheless. Harry S. Lodge, M.D., and co-author of the above-mentioned book, says that, “over 50 percent of all illness and injuries in the last third of your life can be eliminated by changing your lifestyle in the way we suggest.” Eliminated!
And “the way we suggest,” is obviously in the book. What they suggest is exercise, and lots of it. Six days a week, for 45 minutes. This is no wimpy casual walk they’re recommending, either.
Of course, if you’re just starting out, from basically no exercise at all, a simple stroll is WAY better than sitting on the couch, muscles atrophying all over the place.
But once you get into some practice, after an OK from your doctor, you really need to be exercising consistently. Lots of aerobic exercise for sure, including the long slow kind (think long hikes).
You may need to build up to this, of course. The older you are, and the less you have exercised in the past (if at all) will determine how much and how hard you can go at it in the beginning.
Just remember to keep at it. As Dr. Lodge says, “getting into shape is fun and wonderful if you’re healthy, but it’s essential if you’re not.” He talks in the book about patients who never started exercising until after they had a stroke or a heart attack, and that their lives “improved dramatically” once they began.
This can be you as well, if you just keep at it. Your very life depends on it.
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