Many individuals are trying to get fit and stay active through physical activity and exercise. Getting back to a previous fitness routine is an achievable and realistic goal. Fitness means having the energy and strength to perform physical activity and the body feeling as good as possible. Getting fit improves total health. But it does not require training like an athlete. Just walking for a half-hour every day can help individuals reach an adequate fitness level that helps them feel better and increase energy levels.
Getting the body fit and in shape:
Being fit allows the body to work harder without as much work, the mind is better focused, the body burns more calories, even when at rest, and proper weight is maintained. Fitness reduces the risk of falls, heart attack, diabetes, high blood pressure, and certain cancers.
Experts say the goal should be one, or a combination, of these:
Vigorous exercise is recommended at least three days a week for at least 10 minutes at a time. This activity makes the body breathe harder and increases heart rate. More vigorous activities, like running, could be included for at least one hour a week. This can be spread out 75 minutes, whichever way is more convenient for the individual. For example, an individual could:
Children as young as preschool age need activity as well. Encourage children ages 6 to 17 to engage in moderate to vigorous exercise for at least 1 hour every day.
Moderate physical activity is safe for most individuals, but it’s recommended to talk to a doctor before engaging in physical activity/exercise. To help get started:
There are several reasons the body’s collagen production can slow down or become less efficient. The quality of the collagen made can decrease as well. Environmental factors can be avoided to protect collagen production; however, damage from disease and natural processes is inevitable. Aging is the most common cause of decreased natural collagen. As the body ages, collagen production and quality decrease. This leads to thinner, more fragile skin and achy joints. Certain chronic diseases like lupus and rheumatoid arthritis cause collagen deficiency, leading to issues that include:
To avoid collagen damage, avoid environmental factors like:
American College of Sports Medicine, et al. (2009). Position stand: Exercise and physical activity for older adults. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, 41(7): 1510–1530.
Anspaugh DJ, et al. (2011). Building muscular strength and endurance. Wellness: Concepts and Applications, 8th ed., pp. 111–137. New York: McGraw-Hill.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2004). Strength training among adults aged 65 or older. MMWR, 53(2): 25–28.
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (2008). 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans (ODPHP Publication No. U0036). Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office. Available online: www.health.gov/paguidelines/guidelines/default.aspx.
Williams MA, et al. (2007). Resistance exercise in individuals with and without cardiovascular disease: 2007 update: A scientific statement from the American Heart Association Council on Clinical Cardiology and Council on Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Metabolism. Circulation, 116(5): 572–584.
The information herein on "Getting Fit and Staying Active" is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional, licensed physician, and is not medical advice. We encourage you to make your own health care decisions based on your research and partnership with a qualified health care professional.
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