Millions of people want to know how to gain energy as they struggle through morning grogginess and afternoon fatigue. One of the best ways to prevent chronic fatigue is to maintain good health.
As you may know, there are four basic prongs of good health: diet, stress management, detoxification and exercise. Exercise, timed with ample rest, is actually crucial for keeping up energy levels, youthful levels of growth hormone and even sex hormones into your advanced years.
Researchers found that overweight people in their 50s who regularly practiced gentle exercises lost about five pounds over ten years, while a group in the same age range gained 13 ½ pounds over the same period.
The National Institutes of Health recommends that men over 50 balance their workouts among four different areas.
- Cardiovascular activities like running, swimming and cycling help keep your heart and lungs in shape.
- Strength training with light weights helps to build muscle and prevent muscle loss. Weights are easily available at any sporting good store.
- Stretching helps to keep your body flexible as you get older.
- Balance exercises are important for men over the age of 50 to prevent against a fall and the resulting injuries.
However, you don’t have to spend hours at a gym to stay in shape. There are plenty of simple exercises you can do right at home that help build muscle and burn fat. These exercises require little or no equipment, but can be very effective if performed consistently. Start out with 3 sets of 10 repetitions, then slowly increase.
SHOULDER CIRCLES: these are good for improving mobility and reducing stiffness. You can do this either sitting or standing.
- With shoulders relaxed and arms resting loosely at your sides (or in your lap if you're seated), gently roll your shoulders forward, up, back, and down.
- Reverse direction.
- You can do this exercise alternating shoulders or both at the same time.
CRUNCHES: Great for firming up abdominal muscles. Be sure to keep your abs tight; you shouldn’t feel any strain in your back.
- Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet elevated. Cross hands and arms over your chest
- Lift your shoulder blades off the ground several inches, while keeping your abdominal muscles tight
- Lower back down to the starting position.
STRAIGHT LEG RAISE – This exercise strengthens the muscles that bend the hip and straighten the knees.
- Lie on your back, knees bent, feet flat
- Straighten one leg. Tighten the muscle on the top of that thigh and straighten the knee as much as possible.
- Keeping the knee straight, raise your leg one to two feet off the ground. Do not arch your back.
- Hold your leg up and count out loud for ten seconds.
- Relax. Repeat with other leg.
SQUATS and STEP-UPS strengthen your thighs, buttocks and lower back. You can use light dumbbells for added resistance if you wish.
- For squats, stand with your feet approximately shoulder width apart. Then, drop your thighs until you’re almost in a sitting position, then stand up.
- For Step-ups, you can use either a chair or the staircase in your home. Simply step up on to the chair or the step with your right foot and lift your left foot off the ground. Then, step back down with your right foot. Repeat with the left foot.
HAMMER CURLS: perfect for improving the strength and tone of your biceps and triceps. Start with a light weight, such as 4 or 5 pounds then work up.
- Grab a dumbbell in each hand and position your palms so they face away from the body.
- Slowly curl both hands upward, while keeping your elbows still. Then, slowly, bring your hands down to your sides.
- You can also do a variation of this exercise by facing both palms inward, toward the body and curl.
BACK LIFT: This will improve flexibility along the spine and strengthen back muscles.
- Lie on your stomach with your arms at your side or overhead.
- Lift your head, shoulders and arms. Do not look up. Keep looking down with your chin tucked in.
- Count out loud as you hold for a count of ten, then relax. Relax, You can also lift your legs off the floor instead of your head and shoulders.
As with any exercise program, Start out slowly and gently and listen to your body’s signals. Start out with 3 sets of 8 reps. If you don’t experience any pain after several days, you may want to gradually increase the intensity and repetitions of each set.
These simple exercises, along with a healthy diet, you can help boost strength, ease stress, and even relieve pain and stiffness in your joints. You’ll also feel more focused, alert and able to do the activities you love with energy and vigor.