Fitness After 50: Fight disease with fitness

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By Vicki Morgan

THE BAD NEWS: What the heck happened this year? It’s a mystery. Conspiracy theories abound. Public health has become a matter for political debate. Surgical masks have become statements of social correctness, not necessarily of safe health practices. The news media shuffles public fear and concern like an old worn-out deck of cards. What will your emotions be today? Just check the news. The media will tell you what to fear, how to react, who to feel sorry for, what’s important, and how to be a good citizen. First thing in the morning, disturbing images flood your mind and have their way with your brain chemistry, setting your emotional tone for the day.
THE INSIDE SCOOP: I know the mechanics of it all.  I used to work for a major television broadcasting company. I was their Promotions Producer. We handpicked the images, the language, the color of the ticker tape scroll bar, and the video clips. Then we crafted headlines specifically to cause an emotional reaction in you, the viewing public. What does this have to do with fitness? Everything. When you allow the media and social media to control your emotions, you are giving control of your brain and body chemistry over to an outside entity. This is not good for your health. When you are stressed or fearful, your body’s ability to fight off disease and viruses is diminished. Stress reduces the immune system’s ability to fight off antigens, making you more susceptible to infections. The stress hormone corticosteroid creeps in and basically hold the door wide open for enemies to come in — by suppressing the number of lymphocytes (good guys). If you go into full-throttle anxiety, you get that horrible flight-or-fight response. The body dumps floods of hormones and chemicals like adrenaline into your system.  So in the midst of uncertainty, crisis, sadness and loss, I would encourage you to NOT let media-induced emotions take over your body chemistry and make you more susceptible to illness. Change the bad chemicals for the good ones, via exercise.

THE GOOD NEWS
If you follow the CDC’s recommendations about mask wearing, social distancing etc., why not also follow their advice on exercise? They, along with most experts, are screaming “Exercise, Exercise, Exercise!” CDC.gov has an entire section called Physical Activity which includes guidelines for active community strategies, walking, activity plans, obesity information … they’ve even got a club called, “Active People, Healthy Nation” just for us! The CDC recommends 150 minutes a week of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise or 75 minutes a week of vigorous-intensity aerobic exercise such as jogging or running — plus muscle strengthening activities twice a week or more.

Movement, exercise and safe exposure to sunshine all reduce stress, can help with depression, facilitate healing and even stimulate brain function. The trick is, you have to do it.  Physical Fitness doesn’t happen by osmosis. It doesn’t happen when you join a gym or hire a personal trainer, or sign up for an online program. It happens when you get up off your duff and do it. So, if you’re not ready to join a gym just yet, there are a few websites that you can investigate to help you get started. Most of these sites offer an online senior fitness training plan whereby you meet with a real live personal trainer once a week.

Most of them offer meal plans, videos and tons of resources for you to work through. The custom plans cost right around $300 a month – the same as a gym membership and personal trainer. If you follow the plan, it’s well worth it. Here are a few of these sites for your perusal: 2fitnesslovers.com, fitnesstogether.com, seniorexercisesonline.com, strongerlife.org, eldergymacademy.com, seniorfitness.com.
FREEBIES! Here are the top five fitness channels on You Tube that offer great free senior training (I use them all the time): Fitness Blender, BeFit, POPSugar Fitness, HASFit and LiveExercise. Just get onto YouTube and get moving! To avoid those annoying YouTube commercials, spring for the $12.95 per month and get YouTube Premium. It’s WAY cheaper than a personal trainer. Now get moving and give your mood and immune system a boost! Be sure to check out my Life After 50 Online article about the Senior Fitness Apps.

Vicki Morgan CPT ACTION is a Senior Strength & Fitness Instructor. Contact Vicki at seniorstrength.pro. You must consult a physician before beginning any exercise program. If you experience pain or difficulty, stop and consult your healthcare provider. This article is not meant to take the place of any treatment or activity your physician has deemed necessary.

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