Ways to get in shape & gauge your physical fitness

Staying active and fit is often less complicated than we think. Here's some facts about fitness that can help you get more active.

Ways to get in shape & gauge your physical fitness

For a person over the age of 45, you are probably in pretty good physical shape if you can:

  • Dance to a fast beat for more than 10 minutes without feeling winded.
  • Walk for 30 minutes straight without getting tired.
  • Feel energized 14 hours after you woke up. So if you got up at 7 a.m., you should still be awake and active at 9 p.m..
  • Carry large containers of milk or water in each hand without feeling strain.
  • Load your luggage into the storage bin above your airplane or train seat without strain.
  • Jump up and down 10 times without causing your heart to race.
  • Carry a large basket of clothing up or down two staircases without struggle or strain.
  • Trim your toenails without any discomfort from the bending.
  • Easily sit down on the floor and then stand up.
  • Raise your foot as high as your hip when kicking.
  • Twist and look behind you without moving your feet.

Exercise is simple

  • Put simply, exercise is any activity that exerts your body beyond the point reached in normal daily activities. Sometimes we forget the simplicity of the definition.
  • Exercise is nothing more than moving your body for good health. Of course, some exercise is better than others, and different types of movement do affect your body in different ways.
  • Understanding the different types is easy and don't try to over-complicate things.

Slow or fast?

  • Is it better to walk slow or fast? Researchers at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor wondered the same thing, so they tracked nine overweight, sedentary women ages 50 to 65.
  • The women walked three miles a day for a total of 15 miles a week for eight months.
  • At the end of the study, those keeping a modest pace reduced their risk of diabetes. The improvement tapered off as their speed increased, and the slower walkers lost more body fat than the faster walkers.
  • On the other hand, faster walkers secreted more growth hormone, while growth hormone levels in the slower walkers actually declined.
  • The message? Just get out there and walk. Whether you walk fast or slow, you still gain important health benefits.

There are many scientific ways to measure fitness. But for most of us, the signs of being fit are measured daily in what we can or can't do. Getting exercise doesn't need to be complicated, but it needs to be done to lead a healthier and happier life.

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