It’s Never Too Late To Start Exercising – Just Make Sure You Start Smart!!
Exercise is essential for good health. No way around this.
But if you haven’t been too active for most of your life, starting to exercise regularly may feel a bit like taking on Mt. Everest. Daunting. You may even rationalize the effort’s not worth it, asking yourself, “Can I make up for spending years on the couch?”
It’s easy to look around you at all the images of “superfit” folks and think, “I’ll never be that kind of fit person – so why bother.”
But here’s the thing . . . it’s never too late to start exercising for your health. To be more specific . . . It’s never too late to get tremendous benefits from exercising!
Consider the results from this study out of UT Southwestern Medical in Dallas, Texas:
When people who had been mostly sedentary started exercising – as late as at age 64 – it took just two years’ of regular workouts to transform their heart health. They found that 4-5 days a week of exercise with at least 2 intense aerobic workouts restored the heart’s elasticity along with maximum oxygen intake. 1
But even if you're older than 64, don't give up...
In this study, 9500 women (in their late 60’s and early 70’s) who had not exercised for most of their lives started walking just a mile a day. And the results were hard to ignore: They found that these women slashed their risk of death from all causes including cancer by half. In fact, they experienced nearly the same benefits as women who had been active all their life. 2
Now keep in mind, the ages mentioned here are not official cut off points of when you see benefits. They are only the ages used in the studies. It doesn’t matter how old you are, if you start getting more active, your body will thank you.
Just to make this point, take into account this study...
When women in their 90’s began a 12 week course of strength training, they were basically hopping into a time machine and traveling backwards. Simply lifting weights for 3 months, took no less than 20 years off their thigh muscle’s apparent age! 3 As a result, their mobility improved dramatically.
It’s simply never too late to start exercising. And it’s never too late to get something out of exercise.
The key is to exercise smart. So here are several critical tactics for starting an exercise routine the smart way – at any age!
Smart Start Tip #1: Start Slow
The worst thing you can do if you’re just starting to exercise is to start too fast. Too often, when people get gung ho to start exercising, they overdue it and end up with an injury. Nothing like an injury to undermine good intentions!
That’s why in the UT Southwestern Medical study mentioned above, researchers had them start slow.
So here’s what they set up:
- At the beginning of the study, all the participants on the exercise regime started with 3 days a week of 30-minute, moderate exercise sessions. Moderate exercise means that the participants broke a sweat, but could talk while exercising. They weren’t out of breath.
- They also included 1 hour a week of “prescription for life” exercise. This could be dancing, a nice walk, tennis, gardening – something that got you moving for fun.
- Eventually - about 10 months into the study - they added two high intensity sessions where they got their heart rate up to just under its top rate for 4 short 4-minute intervals interspersed with 3-minute rest periods.
By starting gradually and working up to more exercise, you give your body time to adjust so you can eventually do more and get more out of it. Just as importantly, on the mental side of things, by starting small, you give yourself a smaller challenge you can successfully accomplish. As your comfort level with exercise increases, you can build on this challenge and continue to succeed.
Smart Start Tip #2: Build Protection
The most often neglected essential for any healthy exercise routine is strength-building. Even exercise veterans leave this out. Running every day or swimming regularly does not give you the special something you get from lifting weights that your body cannot do without: Protective strength.
Huh? I thought that was what exercise was all about. Getting stronger and protecting your health . . .
Let me explain – yes, all exercise makes you stronger to an extent. But strength training (like lifting weights or doing pushups) builds your muscles intensively in a way a run can’t do.
These muscles, in turn, create a protective “armor” that helps reduce the impact of a fall or repetitive stress when you’re exercising. Think of muscle-building like building a protective Goodyear Tire Man suit inside your skin. These muscles will hold your joints and bones together and cushion them.
Also the stronger you are, the more you can move to prevent or mitigate injury. For example, imagine trying to catch yourself with your hand if you trip and fall to the ground. For most people, this kind of action can easily end in a rotator cuff injury. But if you’ve built up your shoulder muscles, the only injury you might see is to your pride.
In addition to the special protective suit muscles offer your body, when you strength train you also increase the strength of your bones, ligaments and tendons. So, in essence, you’re weaving that protective armor of muscles together with a web of powerful connective tissue over a sturdy scaffolding of bones.
Just to be clear, this isn’t just theory . . .
In 2014, the British Journal of Medicine published a review of 25 studies, involving 26,610 participants examining the link between strength training and injury prevention. Based on the total collected data, the reviewers concluded: “Strength training reduced sports injuries to less than 1/3 and overuse injuries could be almost halved.” 4
So don’t just hop on the treadmill each day and think you’re doing your body good. You need to fortify your body so you can get the most out of exercise. Schedule at least one or two days a week to do resistance or strength training. This, by the way, was another component of the successful UT Southwestern Medical study mentioned in the beginning.
Start Smart Tip #3: Go Long and Short
Researchers in the aforementioned UT Southwestern Medical study also tapped into another notable discovery when it comes to exercise – interval training.
Literally hundreds of studies reveal a somewhat counterintuitive insight . . . Long stretches of exercise – like a 40 minute jog – is not the best thing for your body.
You get more out of exercise if you do short burst of high intensity activity interspersed with short rest periods.
In other words, instead of jogging for 40 minutes, do this: Sprint 50 meters and then walk back at a relaxed pace. Repeat this to complete 30 minutes of training.
This kind of exercising is called high intensity interval training or HIIT for short. And HIIT does more for your heart, helps you stay leaner, supports healthy insulin sensitivity and builds more muscle mass than longer, moderately paced workouts. Better yet, there’s less wear and tear on your body.
HIIT is so good for your body at the cellular level, an increasing number of experts are calling it a veritable “fountain of youth”. . . Here’s why:
In one study sponsored by the National Institutes of Health, exercisers were divided into 3 different groups and then further divided into age groups. The HIIT groups, both young and old, showed some eye-opening results . . .
- The younger group had an increase of mitochondrial activity of 49% while the older group had an increase on average of 69%.
- Furthermore, both HIIT groups had an astounding increase in protein production at the cellular level.
Why is this important?
Found inside each and every cell, the mitochondria produce all of the cell’s energy. Thus, they produce all the energy your entire body uses. More mitochondria activity means your body can function optimally.
More mitochondrial activity also means each cell can produce more proteins, one of the most energy-intensive molecules to build. The “workhorse of the cells”, proteins help your genes communicate and initiate cellular processes. They build tissue and, as enzymes, they play key roles in just about every metabolic process in your body.
The increased protein production and mitochondrial activity means your body is revving up two of its core subcellular functions. And - according to the data - at a pace usually reserved for younger people. 5
Smart Start Tip #4: Rest
Interval training/HIIT is not only about the intense activity. It’s also defined by the rest periods built into it.
And these little breaks are BIG when it comes to workout results. Researcher Stuart Galloway, an exercise physiologist explains, with HIIT, “That while high intensity is still important, it’s the combination with low intensity which has the biggest impact.” 6
Because of these short breaks, you can push your muscles harder in the next go-round. Over time, this results in bigger gains in strength as well as endurance over the long haul.
This isn’t just true for HIIT. Researchers out of the University of Birmingham in England found that when weight lifters extended their rest periods a little longer between weight lifting sets (from 1 minute to 5 minutes), the weight lifters saw two times the muscle gain! 7
But the importance of rest isn’t just about little breaks you take while you exercise . . . It’s also about the big breaks you give your body . . .
1. Don’t do intense exercise (intervals or otherwise) every day. Alternate these more intense days with moderate activity. This gives your muscles and overall body time to recoup and rebuild after the stimulation of exercise.
2. Get good sleep. Your repair systems are most active while you are getting shuteye. So it’s crucial that after a good workout, you also get a good night’s sleep.
Now, it seems logical that more sleep will help you get more out of your workout. But there’s data to prove it . . .
Stanford researcher Cheri T. Mah recruited members of the school’s basketball team and got them to increase their nightly sleep from 6.5 hours to 8.5 hours.
The resulting improvements were similar to ones you’d see after years of training . . .
- An 11.4% increased accuracy in free throw shooting and 13.7% improvement in 3-point shooting. And every player who increased their sleep increased their sprinting time.
Additional studies have confirmed this: When you sleep more, you get more out of your training.
Now this may seem like something of interest only to competitive athletes. Not true. Better performance for you means you can work harder when you exercise, you can increase your enjoyment by improving skills and agility, and – again - the risk of injury goes down.
And the beneficial relationship between good sleep and exercise goes both ways . . .
Just as sleep helps you exercise better, exercise will help you sleep better, too. 8
Finally, don’t forget this most important to getting the most out of exercise
Smart Start Tip #5: Eat well
When you work your body, you need to give it the fuel and materials it needs to stay active and renew itself after a workout.
Exercise without a good diet will end up breaking your body down rather than building it stronger.
For this reason, make sure you get plenty of good protein, eat lots of antioxidant-rich vegetables and fruits, get some good healthy carbohydrates for energy, and round it off with healthy fats that you need for your hormones, nerves and cell membrane health.
When you combine a healthy diet with supplements like chlorella and eleuthero, you take this even further . . .
- Chlorella provides the body with unique nutrients that support your body’s normal repair process, chlorella’s growth factor (CGF) helps support your body’s regenerative processes. It supports cellular and tissue health.
- Eleuthero has a long and well-studied history of use for elite, Olympic athletes, not to mention challenging physical jobs like astronauts, miners, rescue workers and soldiers. By helping your body respond to stress and challenges efficiently, eleuthero can help your workout make you feel great over the long run, instead of just worn out.
So no more excuses – and no more false starts!
Incorporate these tips into your workout plan. If you still feel unsure about starting out, enlist some support and coaching from a personal trainer or friend. Most importantly, get moving! It’s never too late!
No matter what age you start, exercise will help you feel energized, mentally sharp, confident; and bring you long-term health benefits as well.
5 Ways To Sneak Exercise In
What keeps most people from exercising? The gym. You have to haul yourself over to a gym, find a place to park, change your clothes, get your workout done, shower and change again and then haul yourself back home . . . who wants to go through all this? Exercising is the least of the annoyances!
Well, don’t let the hassle of getting to the gym get in the way of a good active day. You don’t need to make turn your workout into a major expedition. Sneak it in! Here are some ideas . .
1. Break it up
As noted in one of the studies in the main article, you get twice the results from weight lifting when you take longer breaks between sets. In fact, you can even take longer breaks – say a few hours. Instead of doing 3 sets of pushups all at once, do a set when you get out of bed, do another set before lunch and round off with a third before dinner. Each set will take all of 2 minutes.
Do the same with a few squat thrusts or jumping jacks. Or even a quick sprint or session of dancing (see tip #4). The principle is still the same. Don’t feel like you have to do everything at once – spread it out throughout your day and you’ll get close to if not the same or even more benefits, depending on the activity.
2. Stand up
If you watch a baby learn to stand you can see what an amazing physical feat this is. All those muscles have to work so hard to balance your body and hold you upright. Truly an accomplishment! Well guess what - the physical exertion it takes to stand doesn’t diminish too much even when you become skilled at it with age. You still use up a lot more calories and keep your body working harder when you stand than when you sit.
So stand up more. Stand up when you’re talking to someone. Stand up when you’re watching TV. Stand up when you’re waiting for the dentist. Get a stand up desk and stand up when you’re working on the computer. You’ll be amazed at how often we sit when we could simply stand.
3. Make your social life active
If you can stand up during a conversation, you might as well take it a step further . . . Instead of meeting a friend for coffee, go for a walk together. Take it even another step further and turn your next outing into a hike or an hour ice skating at a rink. Imagine the difference you’ll make in your health when you replace meeting someone over food to meeting someone over activity. (And then you can still go out and get a great meal when you’re done!)
Nothing makes you feel better than dancing! From 2-year-olds to 92-year-olds, usually when someone is dancing, they’re smiling too. And it’s a great workout to boot. So put some more dancing in your life. Certainly you can do it more formally by going out to a dance spot with a friend or your spouse. But consider just cranking up the tunes whenever you’ve got a few minutes and need to energize. Mixing a few dance moves in between mixing up some good food for dinner is a great time. Just this little extra movement will not only re-energize you at the end of the day and make you feel good, your body will thank you too!
5. Do it yourself
We’ve become a society dedicated to convenience. There’s an app for everything; robots will vacuum your floor; and it can take 30 seconds to find someone to clean your house.
Now sometimes you need these breaks. Life can get busy and hectic.
But think hard about each time you choose the convenient route. It may seem like heaven at first glance, but deep inside we’re suffering from it. Doing more things for yourself –whether it be mopping the kitchen or raking leaves – is a great way to stay in shape. Even more importantly, physical tasks like these give us a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction that is hard to find anywhere else. Plus they build brain power in a way that theoretical tasks can’t come close to doing.
How Chlorella Has Brought New Life To Mary Smith’s Rescued Cats
Usually we highlight how Sun Chlorella has helped one of our customers stay healthy. This time, we have a special story. Here’s how Sun Chlorella has helped one of our customers keep her rescued cats healthy . . .
Mary Smith says she picked up her love for animals from her mom. “She always brought in stray cats. So when I finally had my own place and could help stray cats, I did.”
It wasn’t long before Mary’s compassion for strays took her beyond the occasional rescue . . . She discovered feral cat colonies. Not wild, per se, feral cats are domesticated breeds of cats that live without any human caretakers.
“It broke my heart to see them trying to survive in frigid weather, especially if one got injured or sick,” notes Mary. So she stepped up her efforts into high gear. In 2005, she gained 501c3 status as a nonprofit and increased her work trapping feral cats and providing sanctuary.
Mary quickly came to the conclusion that she wanted to do more than trap, neuter and then release the cats. “I believe feral cats deserve to be comfortable and cared for in a home just like the friendly cats,” explains Mary. “Even though they act wild to survive, they are domestic animals. And unlike real wild animals like skunks and raccoons, feral cats don’t thrive in the wild. Once acclimated to living indoors (which happens quickly if they are made comfortable), they never want to go outside again.”
However, as much as Mary’s heart is into helping cats who need a home, it doesn’t pay the bills. She’s had to work in corporate sales along with her full-time job of caring for cats. It’s been a challenge.
At the height of her efforts she had 110 cats in her sanctuary. “I’m older now with less energy, and I am now down to 40 cats, which some would still say is a lot of cats.” Mary plans to take care of the current cats under her care and only step up trapping more colonies after she retires. “I like keeping families of cats together.”
While occasionally she gets donations, most of the money for her sanctuary comes from her paycheck. Her husband is also a tremendous source of support. “We don’t have kids, so the animals are our kids,” notes Mary. “We both have huge hearts for animals. Neither of us eat mammals anymore.”
Currently, Mary and her husband are looking for a country home so they can have more room to take care of their cats and provide sanctuary for a few farm animals as well.
Sun Chlorella has become a crucial part of Mary’s cat care strategy. Mary tries to focus on preventative care through nutrition in order to avoid the expense of veterinary care. She feeds them strictly holistic canned and dry food. However, despite her attention to nutrition, she still saw some cats developing skin and fur conditions as well as one case of poor digestive health.
By adding powdered chlorella to their food and sometimes in a more concentrated form to cats with particular needs, she’s seen noticeable changes in her cats: “I was amazed at how quickly the cats’ fur became smooth and beautiful by simply adding the chlorella!”
Mary advises, “If you love your pets, I would encourage you to mix Sun Chlorella in their food. Cats and dogs like the taste of it. My cats like their food better with the Chlorella than without it. Chlorella is one of the top super foods and I’ve seen firsthand how quickly it brings health to my animals. Even their eyes and ears look better.”
She also appreciates the support she’s received from Sun Chlorella staff, “Nancy at Sun Chlorella has been very helpful and I consider her a friend. It’s been a real blessing to the animals in my sanctuary and I look forward to continued health benefits from Chlorella.”
1 Howden EJ et al. Reversing the Cardiac Effects of Sedentary Aging in Middle Age—A Randomized Controlled Trial: Implications For Heart Failure Prevention. Circulation, 2018; CIRCULATIONAHA.117.030617
2 Kirchheimer S. It’s Never Too Late To Start Exercise. Web MD. May 2003. Viewed 1/12/19 at https://www.webmd.com/fitness-exercise/news/20030513/never-too-late-exercise
3 Murphy S. Why It’s Never Too Late To Exercise. The Guardian. June 2009. Viewed 1/12/19 at https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2009/jun/11/exercise-over-65
4 Lauersen JB et al. The effectiveness of exercise interventions to prevent sports injuries: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials. Br J Sports Med 2014;48:871-877.
5 Scutti S. Interval Training Could Be A Fountain Of Youth. CNN. March 2017. Viewed 1/12/19 at https://www.cnn.com/2017/03/07/health/interval-training-exercise-cellular-aging-study/index.html
6 Macrae F. Why rest is as crucial as exercise. Daily Mail. January 2013. Viewed 1/12/19 at https://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-2264233/Why-rest-crucial-exercise-keeping-fit-Breaks-allow-muscles-recover-makes-body-fitter-faster.html
7 McKendry J et al. Short inter-set rest blunts resistance exercise-induced increases in myofibrillar protein synthesis and intracellular signaling in young males. Experimental Physiology, 2016
8 Tavel R. How You Can Hack Your Sleep With Exercise. Men’s Health. September 2018. Viewed 1/12/19 at https://www.menshealth.com/fitness/a23341105/sleep-exercise-connection/