Many studies show that regular exercise can protect heart and bones; improve mood, sleep and memory; ward off colon and breast cancer, while reducing the overall risk of dying prematurely. A Harvard Alumni Study reveals that people who regularly burned 8400kJ a week while exercising, who on average, are those who live 2 years longer than sedentary types. Specifically, people with burning of at least 2,000kJ a week (or roughly equivalence to 20-mile walk) enjoy the benefits of a low rate of heart disease. Though exercise has shown its benefits, vigorous exercise is extremely dangerous for people over 50 and for those with chronic diseases.

Why exercise is so important? By age 70 and above, we will only have approximately 50% or less of body strength. That means when we grow older, we generally lose about half a pound of muscle each year, as well as 50% reduction in the basal of metabolic rate. A decline in the basal of metabolic rate means that your body’s ability to convert the food into energy has declined steadily. Despite of this reason, some of the calories that you obtain from food will turn into fat, and as you know, this undigested fat will later hide beneath the lower part of your skin, causing many obesity-related diseases. That is why you will notice that you are getting fatter and fatter but with less muscle. This is the reason why when you grow older, your body composition and appearance change and shrink automatically without you doing anything. This condition is natural and will happen on you, if you do no exercise but just keep on eating and sleeping.

Have you ever noticed how an elderly person shakes hands with you? You will feel his or her hands very weak enough to shake or you may even feel that he or she rejects to shake with you. This is not because he or she does not want to shake your hands but because the strength for shaking hands is no longer there. The decline in body strength leads to less functionality, less balance, less energy but more accidents. Therefore, increase strength via a regular aerobic exercise is deemed necessary.

Exercising helps stimulate your pituitary gland to release growth hormone (a key anti-aging hormone which delays aging process), which has a great reward in maintaining the longevity. There is no doubt that regular aerobic exercise (jogging, cycling and etc.) results in long-term and constant release of growth hormone in spurts in the blood for 2 hours or even longer after exercising. Interestingly, the moderate intensity of an aerobic-type exercise is enough to earn you a maximum “profit” of growth hormone production. Most anti-aging experts suggest allocating 20 to 30 minutes for an outdoor exercise or any other physical activities with at least 2 to 3 times a week.

While exercising, the blood will go towards the muscles to transport oxygen and nutrients. But, after exercising, the cardiovascular output will decrease and the by-product called lactic acid will be carried out of the muscular system. Therefore, it is recommended not to eat too much before the exercise as it will cause a decrease in a cardiac output in the muscle due to that the blood is being moved to gastric and intestinal tract for the digestion of food. Similarly, you are advised not to eat straightaway after each exercise program as a similar effect will occur in your body too.

For beating the aches and pain of aging joints, nerves, back, shoulders, and etc, the combination of Pilates and Yoga is the best option (Note: before doing this, make sure that you are guided by a professional instructor who has therapeutic experience to avoid any injuries). Resistance exercise like weightlifting or calisthenics also helps to strengthen bones and increases muscle density and size, reduce fat, increase stamina, and rejuvenate the hormone system. The simple yet effective exercise is walking. Almost all the centenarians that I come across prefer to walk every day. Try to walk everyday instead of driving. This is particularly important as we age, because the loss of muscle mass and bone density will become obvious, and if you ignore these side-effects product, you are going to face the death very soon or perhaps age faster than your actual age.

I have seen many elderly people wake up very early in the morning around 5 to 6 a.m. to do outdoor activities. However, at night, they will stay at home watching television. Exercising in the early morning is extremely dangerous and risky. At this time, our natural biorhythm is characterized by a high body temperature, high blood pressure, and Epinephrine or adrenaline (a hormone and neurotransmitter which is a catecholamine derived from the amino acids phenylalanine and tyrosine. Generally, it refers to an adrenal gland situated atop the kidneys that secretes epinephrine) is 4 times higher than at night. If you do any intense exercises during this period, your life is at a high risk and in some cases your heart will stop beating abruptly. In 1998, there was a report saying that 4 elderly people from Beijing died abruptly after exercising in the early morning. Here, I do not object you to do jogging, or carrying out any outdoor physical activities, but just do it in an appropriate time. Its high risk is always unpredictable. It will not be a tragedy if they had not had a long distance running, jogging, climbing mountain and other physical movements. Well, we cannot blame on these old people because they died of ignorance of health knowledge. Nobody tells them what to do before this sad tragedy occurred. Therefore, I think the public need to be educated as they are so neglected of their health and lack of health knowledge as well.

At night, when you are at home, your stomach has stuffed with carbon dioxide and your respiratory tract is stuffed with 100 over toxins. If in the early morning, you go outside to do exercise, the air is packed with carbon dioxide. Before the sun comes out, all green plants on the earth do not carry out photosynthesis which release oxygen as a main “vitamin” for your lungs. Bear in mind that the oxygen is released to the air by the plants through a chemical reaction between the sunlight and the chlorophyll (a green pigment found in most green plants). At night and in the early morning before the sun comes out, the plants breathe in oxygen but release Carbon dioxide. As a result, the air is concentrated with carbon dioxide, plus your high body temperature, high blood pressure, and 4 times higher adrenaline than at night-time, people with heart diseases are at higher risk and normal people will also have high percentage to get cancer.

As I mentioned earlier, exercising in the early morning is potentially dangerous to your health. That is why I recommend you to either do your outdoor exercise when the sun comes out in the morning or in the evening. You can stroll or walk about either in the park or in your garden 45 minutes after your dinner. It is always better for the elderly to walk instead of doing other types of physical activities and remember to fix it to 20 minutes but not more than 30 minutes. The best time for most people to walk is 6 – 7 o’clock in the evening. If you are planning to keep on diet, then I advise you to swallow 2 to 4 tablets of spirulina half to one hour before your meal as this will effectively reduce your instinct to eat more and at the same time you have no lack of nutrition.

Of all the outdoor physical activities, walking is by far the most appropriate and best physical movements for every range of age. Scientifically, it has been regarded as the most effective way to soften the hardening of arteries. If one does this constantly and appropriately for more than 2 years, the blood hardening will be soften gradually. Walking is also found to be excellent for hypertension (high blood pressure), diabetes, high-lipid, high-cholesterol patients and of course, for those who are engaging with chronic diseases. Getting yourself for walking slowly and steadily about 3km (30 minutes and above for normal healthy person; for patient, elderly and those who are 60 and above, keep exercising about 20 minutes, 5 times a week, for a short distance less than 3km, say 0.5 – 1km) with at least 5 times a week is always crucial for your health. Therefore, whenever possible, try to use the stairs instead of the escalator; walk down the street (for short distance) instead of driving a car; and remember to spend time walking every day.

Now, let me ask you, do you know how to exercise appropriately? Before doing exercise, you should warm up your body for 5-10 minutes. For each section of exercise, you should relax your body for about 10 minutes to avoid muscle cramp and vascular constriction. Experts suggest that exercise can be done by calculating a heart rate. Its formula is (170 – age) times/ minute. For instance, if your age is 65 years old, then your exercise rate is 105 beats/ minute (170 – 65 = 105). You may also calculate the volume of exercise for each ending section with a pulse count. Its formula is pulse rate multiplied by 4 plus 10% of the pulse rate. That means if your pulse rate is 30, then your exercise rate is 132 times/ minute ([30×4] + [120 x 10%] = 132).

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