Building Blocks Of Fitness
Author : n/a - Subject : Exercise
Four areas of fitness are key to staying healthy and independent, according to Exercise: A Guide, by the National Institute on Aging, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, and the U.S. Public Health Service's Office on Women's Health. They are endurance, strength, flexibility, and balance.
What You Should Know
Endurance comes from aerobic activity - anything that increases your breathing and heart rate. Walking, swimming, dancing, cycling, and jogging are great examples of fun activities that build endurance. Not only do they improve your stamina, they reduce the risk of certain diseases, such as high blood pressure, heart disease, and diabetes.
Strength training builds muscles, strengthens bones, and helps prevent diseases associated with weak bones and muscles, such as osteoporosis. It also increases the body's metabolism, which, in turn, keeps weight and blood sugar in check. Strength training usually refers to weightlifting, but it also can include such sports as cycling, hiking, and bowling.
Flexibility comes from stretching exercises, which help you move more freely. Although stretching doesn't burn as many calories as aerobic exercise, it helps prevent injuries and improve posture. Stretching is especially good for people with weak backs and arthritis or other joint pain.
Although your balance can deteriorate with age, you can improve it through exercise. Good balance helps prevent falls, a major cause of injuries that often lead to dependence. Exercises to improve balance strengthen leg muscles.
The bottom line:
There are exercises you can do at home to improve your endurance, strength, balance, and flexibility. Remember that your workouts don't have to be physically punishing to be effective. The key is to do some sort of physical activity for an accumulated 30 minutes over the course of every day, if possible.
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