Fitness means freedom to enjoy life

Paula Reece

Freedom means different things to different people.  But most would agree freedom includes the right to learn, work, speak and enjoy life.

If you enjoy a healthy and fit lifestyle, you also have freedom. This freedom allows you to perform different activities, from daily chores to your favorite sports. Without health and fitness, you could lose your freedom to do these things.

No one is ever too old to improve fitness. It’s never too late. Start with the basic four areas of fitness: flexibility, cardio, strength and nutrition. When you combine these four areas, you’re on the right path.

Flexibility involves more than just bending over to touch your toes. Getting in and out of a car, walking through the grocery store and housework all require movement and flexibility. Doing such exercises as yoga strengthen the core and improve posture.  Your core muscles consist of the muscles in your pelvis, lower back, hips and abdomen. Think of all the small movements you do each a day in which you use using these muscles, from reaching for a glass from the cabinet to making your bed. Another major benefit of core strength is balance and reducing the risk of injury from falls.

Cardio fitness keeps your heart strong and cardiovascular system working properly. By starting slowly if you’re beginner, you can develop cardio fitness that will enable you to enjoy such simple pleasures as playing with your grandchildren or traveling.  Walking, hiking and dancing are all forms of cardio exercise.  Choose an activity you enjoy, and you’ll be more motivated to keep at it. While starting slowly is a good idea, it’s also important as you become more cardio fit to challenge yourself. Try different types of activities.

Strength training for all ages has become more popular in recent years and for good reason.  The benefits are numerous.  Studies show lifting weights two or three times a week increases strength by building muscle mass and bone density. Strength training also can reduce the symptoms of many diseases, including arthritis, depression and osteoporosis.

Nutrition is also a key component in health. Feeding your body the nutrients that it needs provides the fuel you need to not only feel better, but also look better.

The first step toward enjoying freedom is to get started.  Talk to your doctor about what’s best for you and then get moving. Try a fitness class, such a gentle yoga class. There are many classes for beginners as well as those who are highly fit. Ask a friend to join you.   

Whether you’re already on the path to fitness or just starting, you’ll reap the freedom that comes from health and fitness.