Everyone agrees that exercising helps keep you younger – both physically and mentally - enjoying the things you like to do with the energy needed to do them.  Exercise is essential to your health routine. Some exercising is better than none, of course, but if you really want to slow down the clock, here are some helpful hints.  As with any exercise plan, consult your physician about your specific health conditions.

Muscles – As we age, the muscle mass begins to decline. With decreased physical activity and aliments associated with aging, we tend to use our muscles less.  

Lifting small weights is a great way to help maintain your arm muscles. Weight lifting has been studied as a highly effective way to combat osteoporosis.  Usually 3/ 30 minute workouts per week is sufficient. Also, for older adults, consider wrist weight of 1 – 2 pounds.

Leg muscles also deteriorate and often swell.  Simple leg exercise can reduce peripheral edema (swelling) often associated with aging.  This can include walking and/or jogging. Ankle weights of 1 – 2 pounds will also work. 

Squats help thigh muscles and can also help knee joints. Various combinations can be done to break up the routine.  If your health permits, add some weights

Cardio – Now we are not talking about running your heart rate up to an unacceptable level. 

Rather, a brisk walk or slow jog can get your heart working out. 

Exercise is known to strengthen the heart.  It also increases the blood circulation which leads to a lower blood pressure and improved functions. 

Guidelines for aerobic activity can vary from 6 to 2 hours per week, but again, consult your physician.  

Swimming or Water aerobics – To ease the symptoms of arthritis, swimming is often effective. 

Swimming provides a full body workout and is usually easier on the joints

Yoga – Yoga and yoga related exercises are a great way to keep your body and mind sharp. 

 It helps promote balance and strengthens the body and flexibility.

It relieves tension and back pain from stress

Low impact but strengthens and stretches

Improves balance

Helps in low impact weight control and loss

Flexibility – This should be at the core of your exercise routine

At least 2 days a week, add focused stretching to your routine. 

Every day, you can stand against a wall and stretch your legs by gently lowering your weight or grab the door with one hand and slightly twist from side to side.

In addition, physical activities have been known to aid in digestion, memory and skin tone.  All the things that change as we age. Numerous studies have shown that people who regularly exercise, either moderately or intensely, decreases the appearance and health issues of aging greatly. However, inactivity, smoking, and obesity can lead to diminished health and facial aging prematurely. So, if you are wanting to age gracefully and healthy, add or keep exercise in your daily routine.