Many people think of exercise as a tool for weight loss, but it is so much more than that. Typically, most exercise works just fine for people under 30, but after that your growth hormone dramatically starts to drop. You can actually increase your growth hormone naturally through specific types of exercise, but nearly ALL common types of exercise done by those over the age of 30 do not generate growth hormone naturally. Regular cardio, aerobics and even most strength training do NOT increase growth hormone because they are not exercising the super fast muscle fibers. The only way to do this is by using anaerobic or Interval training cardio type of exercises.
Exercise is one of the most powerful tools available to drop your insulin levels. (Sadly, elevated insulin levels are one of the primary drivers for high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, weight gain, and many other chronic conditions). It is my belief that properly performed exercise is far more powerful for controlling these symptoms than any drug yet developed. Exercise can also:
* Reduce your cancer risk
* Slow the aging process in your body
* Boost your immune system
No matter your age, exercise can provide enormous benefits for your health, but if you happen to be over 40 it’s especially important to either start or step up your exercise program. This is the time of life when your physical strength, stamina, balance and flexibility start to decline and exercise becomes indispensable. If possible, I would strongly encourage you to consult with an exercise professional to help you individualize your routine. There are many great trainers out there but very few of them share the kind of exercise tips necessary to keep you healthier in the long run .
And if you’re looking for some motivation, remember that exercise is far less expensive than virtually any medical intervention,and it will radically reduce your risk of most every disease you can come down with.
If you’ve been sedentary for any length of time or you’re out of shape for some other reason, it is vitally important to get started with an exercise program — but start small. One of the main reasons people don’t stick with a workout program is because they go too hard, too fast and wind up with an injury, illness or simple exhaustion. By starting out at the appropriate intensity and gradually increasing your pace and duration as your body allows, you’ll be able to reach your fitness and health goals safely. Interval training is great, but even that is not enough to keep you optimally fit. Your body will quickly adapt to a monotonous exercise program. So just when you feel you’ve mastered your Aerobics/Salsa/Kickboxing class and can get through it while barely breaking a sweat, it’s a sign you need to work a little harder and give your body a new challenge.
So when you’re planning your exercise routine, make sure it incorporates the following types of exercise:
1. Aerobic: Jogging, using an elliptical machine, and walking fast are all examples of aerobic exercise. As you get your heart pumping, the amount of oxygen in your blood improves, and endorphins, which act as natural painkillers, increase. Meanwhile, aerobic exercise activates your immune system, helps your heart pump blood more efficiently, and increases your stamina over time.
2. Interval (Anaerobic) Training: Again, this is when you alternate short bursts of high-intensity exercise with gentle recovery periods.
3. Strength Training: Rounding out your exercise program with a 1-set strength training routine will ensure that you’re really optimizing the possible health benefits of a regular exercise program. You need enough repetitions to exhaust your muscles. The weight should be heavy enough that this can be done in fewer than 12 repetitions, yet light enough to do a minimum of four repetitions. It is also important NOT to exercise the same muscle groups every day. They need at least two days of rest to recover, repair and rebuild.
4. Core Exercises: Your body has 29 core muscles located mostly in your back, abdomen and pelvis. This group of muscles provides the foundation for movement throughout your entire body, and strengthening them can help protect and support your back, make your spine and body less prone to injury and help you gain greater balance and stability.
5. Stretching: My favorite type of stretching is ACTIVE isolated stretches. If you have a personal trainer he/she should be able to help you with Active Isolated Stretching; you hold each stretch for only two seconds, which works with your body’s natural physiological makeup to improve circulation and increase the elasticity of joints. This technique also allows your body to repair itself and prepare for daily activity.
Exercise programs like Pilates and yoga are also great for strengthening your core muscles, as are specific exercises you can learn from a personal trainer. I plan on introducing more detailed articles on this topic in the future, so stay tuned for more insights.
Science Daily May 28, 2010
Journal of Physical Activity and Health March 2010, 7(2):203-13