The best fitness plan includes the five components of fitness: optimal body composition, cardiopulmonary endurance, muscular endurance, muscular strength, and flexibility. If these components are included your current routine, keep going!! If you have been doing the same routine for a while, change up some variables of your routine to keep your body responsive to exercise. You can change weight, repetitions, tempo (go slower or faster at certain parts of the exercise),sets, rest, superset your exercises ( do exercises back to back with no rest) or throw in some high intensity cardio intervals in between sets of weights.
If you are not including all five of the components in your routine, start!! Listed are the benefits of each as related to aging:
Body Composition: The ratio between the amount of lean tissue (bone, muscle, organs) and body fat that a person carries on his or her body. High percentages of body fat have been linked to metabolic disease, low energy, and compromised emotional health. Maintaining a healthy and nutrient dense diet will greatly reduce risk of age-related disease, counteract age-related weight loss efforts, and boost energy.
Cardiorespiratory Fitness: Cardiorespiratory health is needed to maintain the health and function of the heart, lungs, and circulatory system, and to decrease any age-related risk of heart problems, stroke, diabetes, and metabolic disease. Traditional activity such as running, walking, biking, swimming or functional activity sustained over a duration of time will enhance CF.
Muscular Strength & Endurance: The ability to generate muscular force and perform repeated muscular efforts while prolonging fatigue will reduce the age-related conditions of osteopenia (softening of bones), osteoporosis (bone loss), arthritis (joint inflammation) and reduce the incidence of falls, balance problems, neurological deficit disorders, and loss of independent living options.
Flexibility: Optimal levels of flexibility allow us to live life without restriction. Inadequate flexibility can lead to loss of power, movement, strength, balance, and can lead to potential injury from falls and loss of balance as we age.
It is very important to stay ahead of the “aging curve” by choosing to incorporate these components of fitness into your fitness routine and lifestyle. By doing so, you add life to your years by training for independent living.