Fitness, Whole Health

Your Biological Age

Each of us has 2 different ages:  1) chronological age, 2) biological age. Chronological age is the number of years one has been alive.  Biological age is an estimation of how an individual is functioning in comparison to others who are the same chronological age.  In other words, it is an age where the body is in terms of ‘wear and tear’. 1

These days, life expectancy is increasing.  Maintaining the correct diet along with exercising can help to prevent disease and help to manage those diseases already established.

As aging occurs most of the organs and tissues of the body begin to decline in function:

  • Muscle strength declines and bones may weaken, often resulting in falls that may be disabling.
  • The skin undergoes visible changes and the ability to heal wounds may become impaired.
  • The immune system does not function as well as it did when one was younger.
  • The nervous system also declines in its function.

However, in many cases, rapid biological aging and the onset of physical dependency may be postponed/delayed through healthy eating and exercising, both the body and the brain.

Exercising the brain will also help to improve brain function, and maintain memory and thinking skills as aging occurs. Perform mental workouts, challenge yourself to learn new things, including those perceived as difficult.  “Use it or Lose it”.

Even people in their 90’s can become stronger and increase the size of their muscles after participating in a weight-training regimen. Mobility will also be improved.

The loss of muscle mass and function does not have to be an inevitable and irreversible consequence of aging.  People who keep fit by maintaining an ideal weight and eating properly into their later years have a better chance of being biologically younger than their chronological age.

 

1 Nancy L., “Altering Your Biological Age” , NancyLFitness blog, https://nancylfitness.com/2013/07/21/altering-your-biological-age/

Try these exercises shown below to start your journey toward a younger biological age.

Consult with your professional healthcare provider before beginning any new exercise regimen as to whether the activity/exercise is appropriate for you.

 

DumbbellSideBend  Dumbbell Side Bend (for the Abs)

  1. Standing straight, hold a dumbbell (or similar) in the right hand.
  2. Tighten the abs (abdominal muscles).
  3. Bend to the right, as far as possible.
  4. Return to standing.
  5. Repeat 8-10 times on the right side.
  6. Do the same with the left side.

ShoulderFlexion  Standing Front Raise (for shoulder flexion)

  1. Stand with or without holding a weight in the right hand at side.
  2. Keeping elbow straight, raise up arm as far as your range of motion allows.
  3. Slowly lower arm.
  4. Repeat 8-10 times.
  5. Do the same with the left arm.

 

WallPushAway  Wall Push-Up (for the chest, shoulders and triceps)

  1. Stand with feet slightly wider than shoulder width; place both hand palms on a wall at shoulder height.
  2. With hands on the wall, step back until arms are straight.
  3. Keeping heels on the floor, body straight and elbows up, bend elbows to lean toward the wall.
  4. Hold for a few seconds.
  5. Bearing body weight on the arms push away from the wall back to starting position.
  6. Do 10-15 repetitions.
  7. Increase the number of repetitions as you become more strong.

Note:  To increase difficulty and strengthen the biceps, triceps, forearms, wrists and hands move your feet 3 or more feet farther away from the wall.

 

LowBack  Wall sit (for legs and buttocks)

  1. Lean your back against a wall, feet shoulder-width apart and solidly on the floor.
  2. Tighten your abdominal muscles (abs) and put your feet forward.
  3. Keeping feet 6 inches apart, slide down the wall until knees are at 90 ° (knees are directly over the ankles; thighs are parallel to the floor).
  4. Hold for this position ~10 seconds or until you can no longer stand it (use this amount of time as a starting point, extend the amount of hold time later when you are stronger).
  5. Upon completion, return to the starting position by sliding UP the wall.

 

LowBack1  Chair sit-up (for lower back)

  1. Sit up straight in a chair with feet on the floor, hands to sides for support.
  2. Hold a weight at chest, if desired. (If  just starting with exercise you may want to exclude the weight.)
  3. Bend forward at the waist, keeping lower back straight, move chest to tops of thighs.
  4. Slowly straighten back up, using your lower back muscles to raise your torso.
Fitness

Increase Strength with Low-Energy (Eccentric) Exercise

Eccentric exercise/training is a form of exercise that works well for the elderly, and also for people with cardiopulmonary or neurological issues. It challenges the muscles; increases muscle strength; protects the joints; and uses a lesser amount of energy.

Eccentric training targets the muscle lengthening (elongation) phase of a muscle contraction by purposely slowing this portion of the contraction, resisting the force of gravity.

There are 3 facets to a muscle contraction. During a bicep curl (with a dumbbell), for example:

  1. concentric contraction: muscle contracts (shortens) as the weight is being lifted.
  2. isometric contraction: stopping movement (at 45 or 90 degrees).
  3. eccentric contraction: occurs while lowering the weight; the muscle lengthens. When controlling the rate of the downward motion of the dumbbell (resisting the force of gravity), the muscle is in a state of eccentric contraction.

It can be difficult for some senior citizens and those with certain afflictions to participate in a much needed rigorous exercise program, mostly due to loss of muscle mass.

Low intensity, eccentric exercise is ideal in these circumstances because:

  • may start out using lighter weights,
  • oxygen requirements are less for this type of exercise,
  • muscle damage and tendon strain is minimized (as compared to concentric exercise),
  • less weariness from eccentric training than from concentric training,
  • can raise resting metabolic rate.

An eccentric exercise program will train muscle groups and increase strength and flexibility with low-energy exercise. Some eccentric exercises are illustrated below to get you started:

 

EccenBlog6Sit to Stand (Knee Extension)

  1. Stand close to a chair.
  2. Slowly lower yourself into the seat of the chair (seated position).
  3. To increase difficulty, stop midway before completely lowering into the seated position.

When strong enough, progress to barely touching the chair.

 

EccenBlog4  Heel Lift (Ankle-Plantarflexion)

  1. Holding onto a support (such as a chair), raise up onto your toes.
  2. Now slowly lower your heels to the floor, taking 3-5 seconds to do so.

EccenBlog3a Straight Leg Raise (Hip Flexion / Knee Extension)

  1. Lie on your back.
  2. Keeping your knee/leg straight, lift your right leg.
  3. Slowly lower your leg, taking 3-5 seconds to do so.
  4. Repeat with the other leg.

To decrease difficulty or to reduce back strain, sit up to perform the exercise (as shown in the small boxes).

 

EccenBlog2    Leg Lowering (Trunk / Abs)

  1. Lie on your back and lift legs straight up.  Be sure to pull your belly button in toward your spine for stabilization and do not arch your back.
  2. Slowly lower your legs, taking 3-5 seconds to do so.

To decrease difficulty or reduce back strain, bend your knees while lowering legs.

 

EccenBlog3  Elbow – Tricep Extension Drop

  1. Begin in position with elbow bent.
  2. Extend right arm straight out behind, quickly.
  3. Slowly bend your elbow back to starting position, taking 3-5 seconds to do so.
  4. Repeat with other arm.

To increase difficulty add weight using a dumbbell or other household item in your hand(s).

 

EccenBlog1  Abduction Lift (Shoulder)

  1. Standing with elbows bent, lift both arms to shoulder height.  Do not hunch or hike shoulders during the exercise.
  2. Slowly lower arms/elbows, taking 3-5 seconds to do so.

To increase difficulty add weight holding a dumbbell or other household item in your hands.