How many muscles do you have?
The human body has more than 650 muscles. Muscles are made up of muscle fibres. Each fibre is thinner than a human hair and can support up to 1000 times its own weight. Our muscles grow stronger, bigger and more pliable through movement. In our sedentary world this movement needs to be addressed through purposeful exercise. The old adage of “Use it or lose it”; couldn’t be more true. Our muscles can weaken, atrophy and not serve us properly if neglected. So to have fluidity and capability in our older age, moving on a regular basis is extremely important. Movement comes in many forms. Choose exercises that are right for you and mix it up to create variety and balance. Ensure you cross train your body by doing a mixture of cardio, strength, endurance and flexibility sessions. Sticking to one form of exercise can create imbalances in your musculature which can promote tightness, pain and weakness. Synchronicity is the key – target your physical, mental and spiritual aspects for overall health and wellbeing.
Boosts Brain Power
Exercise increases our heart rate which means more blood and oxygen starts to get pumped throughout the body carrying nutrients to all our cells. Exercise also triggers good hormonal release and activity within our organs, the brain being a major one which receives increased serotonin levels. Serotonin effects the body in many ways, from our emotions to our motor skills. It keeps mood disorders such as anxiety and depression at bay and provides more mental clarity.
Exercise combats Stress
Exercise releases endorphins in the brain which helps us feel happy and content. These natural hormones act ‘like a feel good’ drug which elevates our mood and acts as a relaxant.
Research shows that daily exercise can reduce the risks of heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, Type 2 diabetes, high cholesterol, arthritis, osteoporosis (bone degeneration), lean muscle loss and some cancers.
Studies have shown that those who exercise get better quality sleep than those who don’t. Sleep is important to the functioning of our brains, our energy levels, mental capacity, capability and weight loss.
Feeling “A Million Dollars”
Research has shown that a strong and healthy body helps create a strong healthy mind by boosting one’s confidence, improving body image and elevating one’s self-esteem. When you feel good, you look good!
Healthy Habits create Healthier Choices
Sticking to a regular training program has proven to develop discipline and self-control. So the next time you are thinking of grabbing that chocolate bar or slice of cake you’re more likely to think better of it.
Slow down the Aging Process
By the age of 65, individuals who haven’t engaged in exercise on a regular basis may incur a decrease in their muscular strength and muscle mass by as much as 80 percent. Weight bearing exercise is crucial to avoid this occurring. Weight-bearing exercises force you to work against gravity. This is achieved by lifting weights.
Females generally think they are going to start looking less feminine if they begin lifting weights. Women simply don’t have the genetic makeup to develop bulky muscles. They don’t have sufficient amounts of testosterone — the hormone largely responsible for the development of muscle bulk. Weight training WILL strengthen muscles, create and maintain lean muscle mass, burn more fat and provide a toned and sculpted physique to be proud of.
Some examples of weight-bearing exercises include weight training, walking, and hiking, jogging, climbing stairs, tennis, and dancing. Examples of exercises that are not weight-bearing include swimming and bicycling. So continue to keep up your training well into your twilight years! Every little bit counts. Remember to build a solid foundation through basic exercises and progress gradually to more advanced moves.
Boosts your Immune System
Exercise has been proven to boost your immune system, keeping those “horrible bugs” at bay and keeping you resilient to viruses. Less time being sick means more time to enjoy life’s pleasures.
Tips to Support Your Exercise Routine
- Drink at least 3 litres of water to keep well hydrated. Water makes up roughly 80% of your blood and carries nutrients and oxygen to your cells, promoting growth and recovery. Water can be provided by fruit and vegetables as well. Water also flushes out toxins and metabolic wastes from your body which supports optimal functioning of all your body systems. Choose water over fizzy, sugary drinks a majority of the time.
- Research has shown that as little as 20min of high intensity intervals 3x a week is enough to maintain fitness levels. If high intensity is not possible try to aim for 30 to 45 mins of moderate exercise daily. Varying your exercise routine also creates balance and variety in your training program, so you are more likely to want to exercise each day. Enjoy recreational activities as well, to create enjoyment and fun!
- Throw away your scales. Training helps build muscle and muscle is more dense, therefore much heavier than fat. This muscle weight will show up on the scales as extra kilos, but it’s the weight we do want. Many panic at the increase in their weight and misinterpret it as gaining fat. Therefore, standing on scales is a misrepresentation of your true body composition, fitness and health. Judge your progression by how you feel, your increase in energy levels, how your clothes fit, how you can move and how much more you can do.
- Choose common sense healthy foods over your processed, long shelf life foods. The closer a food is to its natural state; the better it is for you without the added preservatives and calories. Eating healthy a majority of the time will allow you to indulge occasionally into your unhealthier choices without the guilt trip that usually goes with it. Remember if you’re eating healthy and sensibly 85 – 90% of the time, your occasional indulgence will not do undo months of healthy eating.