Ageing process starts from the day a child is born. An infant is born with a natural flexibility. If you ever observe a child, you will notice that how easily he can twist or turn, can do somersaults .As he starts growing up, the natural elasticity of body begins to slow down.
But one does not pay attention to this change because it happens very slowly. Children maintain their fitness level by playing and participating in sports activities in schools or colleges. But when you settle down in life with worldly responsibilities, you tend to neglect your body.
Physical fitness is important irrespective of your age. You should keep fit to be able to lead a healthy and more productive life. There is no specific definition of being old. You are as old as you feel, is the common notion.
But sometimes even if you feel young, your body will remind you of your age by sending warning signals, if you are not maintaining a proper fitness routine and leading a sedentary lifestyle. In today’s times one has to make extra efforts to keep fit. Life is dependent on machines.
Everything can be operated by the touch of a button. You have a remote for your AC, TV, and Music system etc.Physical activity around the house is reduced to minimum. If you compare your lifestyle to that of your grandmothers, you will know the difference.
The first signs of ageing start appearing around the age of 40.The most common symptoms are Stiffness in joints, difficulty in reaching the objects placed at a distance. Feeling of awkwardness when getting up or sitting down on a lower level. Unstable walk due to pain in the knees.
Breathlessness while performing simple tasks or climbing the stairs. Sudden weight gain because your body is burning fewer calories. Difficulty in maintaining body balance. Anxiety disorder, mood swings especially in menopausal women. Onset of osteopenia and osteoporosis. Risk of hyper tension or increased blood sugar levels. Lack of concentration and memory lapse in some cases.
All these problems are easily preventable, if you maintain a fitness routine. Do not take your body for granted. It is never too late to start. Even if you have fallen in the category of above mentioned diseases, you can stop further damage and in some cases can even reverse the process. The best thing about your body is that it responds to exercise positively.
Maintaining good health in old age is necessary in order to lead an independent life. You should be able to perform your daily chores easily to lead your life with dignity and self respect. These days most of the older people are living alone. If you are physically fit, you do not have to depend on others and can also spend quality time with your family. If you are physically active, you will be able to play with your grand children
Exercise to keep Fit
Consult your doctor before starting a fitness regime, if you have been leading a sedentary life for quite some time or if you are obese or suffering from any kind of ailment. Walking, jogging, cycling, swimming are the best way to exercise for any age group. Walking keeps the muscles toned up and jogging, cycling swimming builds the stamina.
Include stretching exercises to maintain the flexibility of muscles, because muscles shrink with age. Yoga exercises are the best way to stretch the muscles. Low back pain, stiffness in the neck or knee pain can be avoided by stretching.
Aerobics are good for cardio exercise to improve the functioning of lungs and heart. People who cannot do aerobic exercises can opt for breathing exercises (Pranayama).
Form a group of people of your own age for your exercise programme to make it more interesting and to have fun. You will realise that you are not the only one who is growing old. Do what you enjoy the most to avoid boredom. Keep changing your exercises after a few weeks to avoid monotony.
Start slowly and maintain a record of your fitness and weight. The signs of improvement will motivate you to keep going. Take rest in between workouts. You must warm up before starting any exercise and cool down afterwards. This is necessary to avoid injuries to the muscles. Keep sipping water in between, if your throat feels dry to avoid dehydration.
Diet to keep fit
As you grow old the body requires more of vitamin, mineral and protein rich diet. Old people generally face the problem of constipation because of sluggish bowel movement. You need to increase fibre in their diet and reduce refined flours. You should include oats, porridge, multi grain biscuits and breads in your daily meals.
Some of you may find it difficult to chew due to dental problems. You should overcook the oats or porridge to make it more chewable. Proteins are necessary for muscle building. These can be obtained from pulses, grains, eggs and fish. Drink milk regularly and if it interferes with the digestive system, you can increase the intake of curds and cottage cheese. This is essential for vegetarians.
Your body keeps losing its moisture as you grow old. Drink plenty of water to keep your body well hyderated.Take orange juice or lemon drinks to supplement vitamin C.It helps to strengthen the immune system and protects the body from infections. Eat lots of fruits. Fruits are easily digestible and provide you all the essential nutrients. Some fruits like papaya, banana is especially beneficial in old age.
Take smaller meals at short intervals to avoid heaviness in the stomach. Food takes more time to get digested; eating less in one sitting will help the digestive system to function better.
Do not wait for your body to give you a wake up call. You must maintain a fitness regime with proper exercise and diet to lead a happy, healthy and quality life. Regard your old age as a new phase of life. After fulfilling your family responsibilities, you need to give time to yourself. It is your right and demand of your body.
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