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Doing lots of exercise in older age can prevent the immune system from declining

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Jaime Brenkus a Fitness Coach

Scientists say doing lots of exercise in older age not only prevents the elderly immune system from declining but also protects people against infections. Jaime Brenkus a Fitness Coach for Evergreen Wellness offers this article discussing the 8 moves of ageless energy and timeless health.


Even as we age, we live hurried, hectic lifestyles, as we race around to try and fit in everything we want to do. Think about your own life right now: isn’t physical activity the first thing you push aside when you’re busy? A zillion other things become your priorities. Yet, you still desire having a fit, healthy body. That’s the bad news.

Now, the good news: fitness is cumulative! A little here, a little there. According to The American College of Sports Medicine, and various other organizations, you can get great benefits by doing shorter bouts of fitness at a time.

Not just any type of exercise... If you follow the American College of Sports Medicine guidelines, active aging adults should participate in resistance training at least twice per week.

Resistance training that work specific muscle groups is an important aspect of fitness, helping increase muscle mass and slow down or halt muscle loss, slow bone loss, and maintain or increase joint flexibility. This also leads to a more functional older adult.

Rethink Your Definition of Exercise. If you’re truly strapped for time, rethink your definition of exercise. We often get stuck in the trap of thinking that exercise means running or walking 3 miles, or working out for hours. However, that’s not the only way to think about exercise, think about 8 minutes a day. So, if you’re busy, “Who isn’t?” Don’t let it be your excuse. There is always something you can do, even if it’s a little bit at a time. 8 minutes goes a long way.

Reshape in 8. Now, let’s break this down. There are 1440 minutes in a day, 10,080 minutes in each week, all we’re asking you for is 8 minutes of your time every day or 56 minutes per week to make a difference in your life, and to attain the healthy body you desire. You owe it to yourself.

To further illustrate why you DO HAVE TIME to fit fitness into your busy schedule maybe you want to see that new movie that just came out.(often 2 to 3 hours, that sports event or that concert… You make time and that is what you have to do… MAKE TIME! I’m sure you can MAKE TIME for an 8-minute workout.

Rev up your metabolism. When you were in your 20’s -do you remember you could eat almost anything and never gain a pound ? But now you find that food accumulates on your body in the form of fat and unwanted inches around your waist, yet you weigh almost the same. Oops….the sands of time have shifted, but there is a way to change all that. As we get older, Mother Nature has a way of turning down our body’s thermostat—our Metabolism, the rate at which we burn energy.

Every decade starting about the age of 25, our metabolism declines. The good news is that if we put the right fuel in our bodies and start an exercise regime, we can increase our metabolism and help reverse the aging process. If you exercise, your metabolism revs up, if not, it drops, and you find yourself with less energy and more fat.

As we age, you might find some easy activities you did previously, such as carrying groceries, playing a round of golf, running upstairs or just walking up a hill too challenging this is the warning your need to do more exercise and if left to your old habits can undermine your health. Let's take advantage of this knowledge of muscle.

E.P.O.C equals after burn! There’s a new scientific term called Excess Post-exercise Oxygen Consumption, (EPOC). It’s the after burn effect, which can help you burn more calories long after you’ve worked out. This is pure physics. When your muscles are stressed and stimulated they grow and get stronger and the result is that they burn more calories at rest.

Your EPOC increases as a result of the constant movement and intensity of not resting in between exercises. Result: Your energy has to return to its resting state which causes you to burn calories even AFTER your workout is over.

So, the magic of strength training in achieving a healthy body, is that you can burn calories not only while you exercise, but also after you exercise.

Lean people get lean this way, stay lean,– and put on more muscle. Just 8 minutes can start to change your life!

If you keep in mind, squeezing in as short as 8 minutes of physical exercise per day, with your effort, it will deliver huge benefits to your health, give you more energy, and perk up your mood. More strength makes daily life easier, gives you better balance, less falls, strengthens the heart, and makes you look and feel younger.

8 at a Time. By doing 8 minutes at a time, you build a consistent habit of doing some sort of fitness activity. 8 minutes establishes a positive habit you can build on. This is valuable.

Those 8 minutes can become16 minutes, and then 24 minutes, and so on. I'm confident that when you have built a positive habit of engaging your body in fitness, you are 100% more likely to make time in your busy schedule to continue this habit. Like anything else, we make time for things that are a priority to us? YES…You are the priority!

Maybe you can get up a few minutes earlier in the morning, or maybe you’ll get up during the commercial breaks of your favorite TV show for a few arm exercises. Or, maybe you’ll squeeze your exercise into a coffee break at work. In other words, you will find the time.

Don’t use time as an explanation for not getting fit. You make time for all the things you want to do, that’s “want power”. If you really want to get in better shape then you must use your “want power.” If you want to go to the movie you make time. There is always something you can do, even if it’s a little bit at a time. This is the simple choice each of us must make on a daily basis––and don’t forget…. even 8 minutes can change your life. More reps aren’t always better. A longer interval isn't necessarily better than a short one. Be consistent and you will succeed.

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Finding Time for Exercise and Fitness

Here are a few suggestions to uncover some extra time for your 8 minute workout!

Watch and Move. While watching TV, try to incorporate some physical activity. Make it a point to walk on your inactive treadmill, march in place, or do some arm exercises. You’ll be surprised by how quickly the exercise minutes go by when you are distracted watching the news or a sitcom.

Activity Alarm. Sleep is definitely important for overall health, but could you hit the sheets just 30 minutes earlier, so that you could get up and work out before your day starts? Working out in the morning has numerous benefits including regulating appetite, boosting energy, and—perhaps the biggest benefit of all—an A.M. 8 minute session ensures that your workout is checked off first thing each day!

Media Minutes. For a few days, record how much time you spend surfing the Internet, checking personal email, or watching TV. A few minutes here, and a few minutes there can add up to an hour or more each day. Cut out just some of that screen time, and you suddenly have time to squeeze in your 8 minutes even on the busiest day.

Lean Routine. One reason it’s so challenging to fit exercise into a busy schedule is because we’re not used to doing it. It takes time to take a shower in the morning, but you do it. You brush your teeth every day because it’s important and second nature to get up and do it. To fit in exercise, here and there, for a few days time can always be found, but by incorporating it into your daily routine like you would your hygiene, you turn it into habit.

Clean to Lean. While cleaning might not be the most fun activity, it can definitely be a workout if you want it to be. Set a kitchen timer for 20 minutes, and see how much of the house you can clean. Try to be as efficient and quick-paced as possible, and I guarantee you’ll work up a sweat. If you’re doing lighter housework that makes it harder to get your heart rate up, like laundry or organizing, throw in some lunges or push-ups every few minutes to start feeling the muscles.

Remember, exercise gives you energy, and keeps you healthy to keep going in that busy life of yours! So, don’t think of exercise as another to-do to squeeze in on your already busy schedule. Instead, think of it as maintenance for your health, and a way to de-stress and do something for you!

Your body joints are like hinges they need frequent flexing to keep the old miracle bloodstream lubricating them. It’s the old cliché “Use or Lose !” Try these 8 exercises when you get up…..

The Morning 8 – Any day that you can move and get up –that’s a good day –but let’s make the mornings even better. The first thing you do when you wake up –is let’s do some stretches in bed. It doesn’t take long to get the blood flowing after a sound sleep.

Start with these 8 moves:

1. Knees to chest –grab both knees and bring them up to your chest. Hold for 10-15 seconds

2. Bicycle the legs. One of Jack’s favorites….do this for 15 seconds.

3.-Hamstring stretch-keep your leg straight and at 90 degrees, and gently pull your leg towards you. Hold for a count of 10.

4. Twisters. Keep one leg straight down on bed-while you place your opposite leg gently across and over the straight leg. Do 2 each side.

5. Criss-cross your arms. At chest level, criss cross arms back and forth. Do 15 reps.

6. Swimmers stretch –lying on your stomach, bring your opposite arm and opposite leg up at the same time—hold for a count of 5 and release and alternate sides. Do 5 each side.

7. Cat stretch. On your hands and knees—hump your back up and down slowly. Do 5 of these.

8. Side reach. Sitting up in bed. Bring one arm up and over to the side. Hold for 5 count and switch sides.

These quick, consistent moves set you up to start your day on the right note ---realizing that you’ve already accomplished a healthy habit for yourself early in the morning. Now go and attack the day with vim and vigor

Jaime Brenkus is a Fitness Coach for Evergreen Wellness which provides videos and articles designed to inspire people 55 and older to enjoy happier, healthier lives. Brenkus is a nationally recognized fitness expert best known for revolutionizing the fitness industry with his 8-Minute Abs video series in the 1990s. Over the last three decades, Brenkus has helped millions of people become healthier and more confident by feeling better and looking younger.