Picture this: It’s a beautiful spring day and you join your friends on a mid-morning walk at a nearby park. It’s a popular spot because the weather has drawn everyone outside. As you walk the trails, you notice other women, also in their 50s and 60s, who are extremely fit. You ask yourself: “How do they maintain that healthy weight and figure at their age?”
Part of the answer is that people who embrace an active lifestyle will age better than people who succumb to the magnetic pull of the couch. It’s just a fact of life – you must exercise to maintain a healthy weight and avoid unnecessary health complications due to obesity like cardiovascular disease and diabetes. Serious complications such as these can and will develop from a sedentary lifestyle. However, as we say in Women’s Health Conversations, it’s never too late to get in shape. When you practice healthy habits and embrace an active lifestyle, you will experience more vitality and happiness.
Women’s Health Conversations draws from the expertise of doctors, scientists, and gurus. With the inspiration of its readers and contributors, this well-rounded melting pot stimulates discussion and motivates women to be their best selves through healthy living. One thing that unifies health and beauty professionals is the importance of physical fitness.
Reflecting on the wisdom of some of our amazing contributors over the years – trainer Jackie Polak, Dr. Lanie Francis, Dr. Kellie Middleton, and beauty guru Tiffany Fluhme — we’ve compiled a list of our top 10 fitness tips.
Fitness Expert: Jackie Polak
Let’s start off our top 10 fitness tips with trainer Jackie Polak, who was featured in a Women’s Health Conversations blog about 6-months ago. Jackie is a proponent of high-intensity interval training, mastering a routine, and finding ways to work out at home.
- Tip: High-Intensity Interval Training Helps You Age Gracefully
Intense exercise is an anti-aging strategy because it builds muscle. With age, you tend to gradually lose muscle mass. However, bursts of intense exercise stimulate muscle growth. Muscle is essential for burning calories, staying fit and motivated to exercise, and replacing fat, which is detrimental to health and accelerates aging.
Jackie has helped local Pittsburgh newscasters understand fitness trends, including H.I.I.T., conveying that intense interval training helps to work every muscle in your body in increments so that “You’re getting your cardio and resistance training in one.”
Abundant intense exercise has the power to increase mitochondrial function by regenerating and adding cells, which is the ultimate anti-aging remedy.
- Tip: Home-Based Workouts Deliver Results
At-home workouts can be as effective as workouts at a gym, in a class, or with a personal trainer. There are many studies confirming the effectiveness of at-home workouts. However, if there is no one other than yourself as a motivator, you may find yourself questioning if you will maintain the stamina to complete a workout and stick with a regimen. On the other hand, the ease of scheduling, lack of intimidating comparisons and not having to shell out hard-earned cash may help you learn to love working out at home.
Paying for a gym membership or personal training can add stress to your life if you miss a session or lose motivation because you know you are wasting money. Performing physical activity at home is cost-effective and can effectively improve your physical condition.
- Tip: Exercise Helps with Anxiety
Exercise is good for slimming your waistline, protecting against complications due to obesity and it also has a positive effect on anxiety. With anxiety, it can be difficult to accomplish daily tasks. However, with 10 weeks of an aerobic exercise regimen, significant improvements in anxiety can occur, according to Sports Magazine. It’s possible that an at-home regimen could be a good match for those experiencing anxiety.
- Tip: Exercise Keeps You Balanced
As you age, your body gradually loses muscle. Sometimes muscle is replaced with fat, and sometimes your body becomes significantly weaker. But that does not mean that aging is supposed to happen that way. If you don’t use muscle, you’ll lose it. Less muscle, in conjunction with osteoporosis, can leave you more susceptible to falls and fractures.
On the other hand, consistent exercise will help with balance – especially if you adhere to the same routine for 10-weeks straight. Exercise can improve posture, which helps with balance, which protects you from falls. Recovery time and consequences from falls can be significantly detrimental, so working out to improve balance and reduce falls is crucial.
Dr. Lanie Francis
Dr. Lanie Francis, a hematologist and medical oncologist at Hillman Cancer Center by trade, also believes in integrative practices like yoga and aromatherapy. When we interviewed her six weeks ago, she explained how yoga can improve your quality of life, and understanding the connection between your mind, body, and spirit can be powerful.
- Tip: Yoga Can Improve the Quality of Your Life
According to Dr. Francis, “Yoga improves fatigue and aromatherapy and massage improve quality of life.” In yoga, there are elements of control, gratitude, self-advocacy, breathwork, and physical activity, all of which are beneficial to your body.
- Tip: Aligning Mind/Body/Spirit
Dr. Francis incorporates integrative practices into cancer treatments, but they are also relevant for every-day life and fitness routines. When your mind, body, and spirit are aligned, you can be more motivated to exercise because you believe in the results.
- Tip: You Must Make Time for Proper Nutrition
Proper nutrition can improve anyone’s life. Building on the practice of aligning your mind, body and spirit, nutrition fits into the mix because eating healthy foods is the best way to take care of your body to maintain equilibrium.
Dr. Kellie Middleton
Dr. Kellie Middleton is a former professional fastpitch softball player and an orthopaedic surgery resident who understands the value of fitness.
- Tip: Organized Sports Are Important
You may think that organized sports are only for young children and adolescents. However, you can participate in and benefit from organized sports at any age. It’s even been proven that participating in a group activity can help with aging according to the The National Institute on Aging because it improves your wellbeing.
- Tip: Using Fitness to Prevent Chronic Disease
In Dr. Middleton’s last spotlight in Women’s Health Conversations, her passion for the prevention of chronic disease was noted. She believes that fitness has the power to improve chronic diseases.
In agreement with Dr. Middleton, the Mayo Clinic lists these chronic diseases and how exercise can help:
- Heart disease. Regular exercise can improve heart health. Recent studies have shown that interval training is often well tolerated by people with heart disease, and it can produce significant benefits.
- Diabetes. Regular exercise can help insulin more effectively lower blood sugar levels. Physical activity also can help control body weight and boost energy.
- Asthma. Often, exercise can help control the frequency and severity of asthma attacks.
- Back pain. Regular low-impact aerobic activities can increase strength and endurance by improving back muscle function. Abdominal and back muscle exercises (core-strengthening exercises) may help reduce symptoms by strengthening the muscles around the spine.
- Arthritis. Exercise can reduce pain, help maintain muscle strength in affected joints and reduce joint stiffness.
Beauty Guru: Tiffany Fluhme
Last, but not least, beauty guru Tiffany Fluhme, who was featured on a past Women’s Health Conversations blog, owns her own company – Fluhme Beauty and practices as a Physician Assistant. She otherwise lives and breathes health and beauty. Embracing an active lifestyle is essential in order to be your best self.
- Tip: Bring Confidence Everywhere You Go
As a huge component of Tiffany’s company and lifestyle, she believes in instilling beauty and confidence in women across the country. When working out, it’s important to be confident in your moves, in how you dress, in how you grow and improve. The journey is yours and the best way to flourish while on it is to be confident.