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Handbook for successful ageing - 3. - 3.2


3. Do full-body sports

Motion is part of our nature. Complete rest equals death.
- Blaise Pascal -

3.1 General

New concepts start to gain acceptance in gerontology. One of the surprising results: Physical activity achieves the broadest effect since it impacts on a whole range of cognitive areas. (Spektrum der Wissenschaft H.11/08 S74). It can half the risk of mild cognitive impairment (see below, 9.5).

A healthy and strong body is the best protection against illnesses. In addition doing sports makes happy, since motion encourages the body to release endorphines, the so-called happy hormone. Moreover it grants us a sense of achievement, improves the need for sleep, slows down the atrophy of muscle and therefore keeps us young. Finally it promotes the creation of the good HDL cholesterol.

It is often recommended to do walking, running or even better - since it also includes the torso - Nordic walking several times a week. Such cardio training improves the capacity of the heart and the lungs, counteracts arterial alterations, the formation of gallstones, rheumatic problems and depression, it improves the serum lipid levels, prevents cancer and even improves its curing, protects from colds and delays the ageing of cells, but doesn’t cover many other areas. Furthermore, if you don’t get up early for this training you will be discouraged more easily later in the day for example after work, by bad weather or other circumstances. Therefore the better way would probably be to walk on the spot every morning on the balcony or at the open window (see below, Like this you aren’t dependent on the weather, don’t have to change and to take an extra shower after running, and you can walk several times a day.

In order to keep fit you need besides healthy nourishment a training for your entire body, even if you are underweight in order to prevent a disproportion between muscle mass and body water on the one hand, and adipose tissue and body fluid on the other hand, which on its own can already lead to a heart attack and diabetes with all its possible consequences (see below, 9.3.13), but also due to other reasons mentioned below.

In order to find out how the proportion of your body is, you should buy a body-fat scale and compare your results with the supplied schedule/table. Blind and visually impaired peope are probably able to get a scale with voice output in your country. If you gain or lose weight suddenly you should consult a doctor.

If you afterwards have to build up muscle mass and body water and reduce body fluid and tissue fluid, you don’t need to go to a gym/fitness studio. You only need to do an all-morning strength training. This training minimises the risk of osteoporosis which leads to fractures, particularly fractures of vertebrae. This minimization results from the pressure which the exercises put on the bones. Thereby the bones are (being) built up. Strength training on its own already is life prolonging. This effect is even stronger if it is combined with cardio training. Athletic persons suffer from less strong strokes and recover faster than little active persons.

Whole body exercise can also prevent arthropathy, reduce the risk of a stroke, LDL and the blood pressure, even though it increases the blood pressure temporarily, delay the onset of dementia, mild cognitive impairment (see below, 9.5) and parkinson’s, and help to avoid depression and the restless-legs-syndrome. If you suffer from a stroke nevertheless, at least it improves your chances of not having any permanent disabilities. Trained people are less vulnerable to diseases and sleep well which is an important precondition for being able to cope/ for coping with the daily stress.

Furthermore, whole body exercise has an anti-inflammatory effect, slows down the ageing of cells and increases the production of leucocytes (immunce cells, phagocytes or T cytotoxic cells), which fight infections and cancer cells. Women who start doing sports at an early age considerably reduce their risk of contracting breast cancer before their menopause. Hence, people who are physically very active prolong their lifes. They will also think of food less than passive people.

The bigger our muscle mass, the bigger/ higher the basal metabolism for keeping up the vital organic functions (breathing, the activity of the heart and the lungs as well as the brain function of a resting person), since muscle tissue has a considerably more intensive metabolism than fat tissue. From the age of 30 the muscle mass and consequently the energy consumption decrease by 3% withink 10 years. This means that the older you get the less energy you consume. This we have to counteract with strength training. Via this training the basal metabolism is also increased and thus the cutback/burning of blood sugar and fat in within the next few hours is increased, the greater the exertion, the longer this period. Moreover, a trained muscle contains more adipolytic enzymes i.e. it can burn fat faster than an untrained muscle.

If you want to lose weight quickly, you should do the most exhausting exercises from the following ones again before dinner. This is at the same time conducive to sleep. In the summer you should however make sure that the ozone concentration is not too high. If you don’t find the information on the internet directly, you should find out online where you can get this information for your current whereabouts via telephone.

If you want to replace fat by muscle mass particularly fast, you should still not go to a fitness centre or similar institutions, but buy the GalileoTM Basic vibration trainer (see footnote 2). The expensed incurred will soon be compensated by the fact that you don’t have to pay membership fees and travelling fees; and you save lots of time. Furthermore the device will be available to all your housemates for free.

Beside the strength training we need to do, as already mentioned, exercises for our movement and stretching, since they keep our body flexible so that we are able to react on unexpected obstacles/ barriers and to minimise the risk of injury when we fall.

Movement/ Physical exercise reduces LDL and builds up HDL, and raises the insulin sensitivity (?) of the cells, which leads them to absorbing sugar from the blood. Thus it also prevents adult-onset diabetes and all the illnesses linked with it (see below, 9.3.13).

It thins the blood and therefore improves the blood flow in the muscles and the brain and therefore at the same time the communication of the neurons. Consequently the creation of new neurons is stimulated. The more such branches exist and the more detailed they are, the better the memory works. A person that goes running before studying will be able to memorise more than a person that rests before.

The body also reacts to physical exercise with the creation of a natural antidepressant.

Exercise prevents stiffening/ hardening and strengthens the back muscles.

If you do physical exercises regularly, your heart beats/works/functions more economical. It needs less heartbeats to pump the same/ a certain amount of blood through your body (as the heart of a person who does less physical exercises). The more economic a heart works, the better/more it is protected against diseases. At the same time exercise lowers the blood pressure by widening the blood vessels.

Physically active patients suffering from bowel cancer reduce the risk of contracting bowel cancer again by up to 40%. People who are physically active on a regular basis reduce their genetically programmed ageing process, the risk of falling down and the risk of a heart attack and a stroke. Moreover the risk of breast cancer, colon cancer and prostate cancer is reduced.

The body’s defence has been/is (being) vitalized, the antibodies have been/ are (being) activated/ vitalised and the number of immunocytes/ immunocompetent cell grows. At the same time their efficiency increases. Thereby the immune system can more quickly react on irrupting (infectious agents) germs, bacterium and viruses, parasites and prions. So the body is better protected against infections. Moreover a strong immune system protects against against cancer.

Physical activity is even a sure/certain and effective therapy alternative when you suffer from knee ache/problems. A moderate training already reduces/diminishes the joint pain, increases the walk assurance and improves the potential.

Cycling on even grounds is ideal because the knees are being moved without having to carry the body weight, and swimming since the water carries the body so that the arms and the legs can be moved far more easily.

If you are blind you should buy a swimmer’s treadmill on, so that you can go swimming alone. It consists of a hip belt with an elastic band attached in the back - you can regulate the length of this band - and at the end of the band there is a sucker (suction cup) attached - bigger or smaller, depending on the model - to fix at the edge of the pool. This allows you to swim as you like it, without bumping into other swimmers and without coming near a diving board.

Furthermore physical activity prevents prostate gland cancer and depressions. People who do physical activities regularly feel mentally better, are balanced and lose their nerves not so/less easy in stressful situations. If you have a coronary heart disease you should still do exercise and if possible join a cardio sports group supervised by a doctor.

Patients who go in for sports after having suffered from colon cancer or breast cancer live noticeably longer than others/ patients who don‘t.

If you live together with your partner or with your or your partner‘s parents, you should consider that you possibly have to care for these people one day. This care requires besides agility and creativity also a lot of physical fitness.

We need concentration and coordination exercises in order to stay mentally fit. It’s never too late to begin with the training, not even in old age, even though an early start is better. If you are older and have already lost a great part of your muscle mass and you are therefore not able to do many things/activities on your own, the training can help you to regain your strength.

You should however not do sports when you have a cold; the body needs rest so that the immune system can fight germs, bacteria, viruses, prions and other micro organisms. If you had a fever you should even make a pause after you have recovered because otherwise your myocardial muscle could become inflamed.

Start the training slowly in order to avoid muscle ache. Should you get it nevertheless it is probably because of torn thin muscle fibres that become inflamed. You can fight this with warmth, ointments that stimulate the blood circulation and after all a bit of exercise since movement stimulates the muscle metabolic rate.

If your arm(s) or leg(s) have been amputated, you should examine carefully which parts of the programme described in section 3.3.2 you would be able to do.

Remember: before people settled down they used to be hunters and pickers. We have inherited their fitness. However we usually don’t use it anymore. That often makes us ill.

3.2 Preparation for your training

You only need a Thera-Band in the length of two metres for your exercises. Test in a sports shop which intensity (colour) of the band you want for the beginning. Take the band in front of your breast in breadth of your shoulders and stretch your arms aside. Buy the band which makes you most work. While doing the exercises you still can take it a little looser. After a year you should check whether you could work with a band of a stronger/higher /the next intensity.

At home you cut off a piece which is 10 cm longer than the half of your body length. You will need this piece for exercises No. 11 and 12. When you do exercises at an armchair or a garden chair with armrest, span a piece of the remained band around its forelegs. The band’s lower edge should be 10 cm above the floor. But beforehand you should wrap the legs with a soft material in order that the band doesn’t rub till it’s broken. Lay the band’s ends on top of each other, not against each other, otherwise the clip doesn’t hold. As the band gradually loses elasticity, you should occasionally span it again. In addition you should weekly remove the band clockwise piece by piece in order to protect it from tearing up.





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