It has been almost 30 years since his debut in Top Gun and yet, Mr. Cruise can still give young actors a run for their money. Okay, given that he is equipped with a personal trainer, chef and private gym you still got to give it to this guy – he has aged gracefully! On and off camera, Tom is the perfect example of breaking boundaries when it comes to fitness. At 51 years old, he still does his own stunts and is known to have incorporated fitness into his reel and real life.
Tom Cruise or not, being 40 and above is not an excuse for slacking off or being discouraged from regular physical activity. While it is true that many 40 year olds begin to feel the effects of aging, research has proven that there is still a lot of gain from being physically active at this age. Let’s break it down:
Exercise and Menopause
Menopause is associated with a host of physical, emotional and mental changes. From hot flashes to mood swings, women who are undergoing menopause often describe it as “hell on earth”. Because of fluctuating hormone levels, menopausal women also lose their natural protection against diabetes, weight gain, cancer and heart disease.
A study published in the Journal of Advanced Nursing has revealed that exercise relieves most if not all menopausal symptoms. In the study, only half of the women in the group aged 55-72 years old were enrolled into a yearlong exercise program that included three hours of supervised exercise every week. These women have done remarkably well and reported improved symptoms compared to the ‘nonexercisers’ whose symptoms only got worse as the year went on. The ‘exercisers’ also exhibited a positive state of mind and felt a renewed social vigor they attributed to being part of the group.
Exercise and Heart Disease
According to the American Heart Association, a sedentary lifestyle is the number one modifiable variable in the development of heart disease. Simply put, that means that by not exercising, you are putting your heart’s health at risk.
Exercise also reduces body weight which makes it easier for the heart to pump blood to the entire body thereby reducing blood pressure. It also helps decrease bad cholesterol levels which make it harder for the fat to accumulate in the arteries. Regular physical activity also increases the body’s sensitivity to insulin, thus making it easier to control blood sugar levels.
As you can see, there is absolutely no reason for you to stop exercising at any point in your life. Remember, it doesn’t matter whether you’ve lead an active or sedentary lifestyle before you hit the big 4-0… what matters is that you begin a healthy lifestyle today.
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