How can a weekend warrior avoid overdoing it?
Your body tells you that you have trained too hard: you have cramping calves, an aching back, or a pulled muscle. How can you prevent further aches and pains?
The first precaution is to warm up. You may not have done it at age 20, but it may be essential at 50 or 60. Also, hydrate. Drinking water may be better than sports drinks (which tend to have high-fructose corn syrup or other unnecessary added sugars).
After exerting yourself, think about drinking low-fat chocolate milk. No joke: it has a 4:1 ratio of carbs to protein, ideal for muscle restoration. Other great foods that help muscle recovery: fish (because of omega-3 fatty acids, which lessen inflammation), seeds, and nuts, which are all high in lean protein. Varying your routine at the gym or outdoors (different machines or classes, different sports) can help you work different muscle groups and give others time to bounce back. Also, work up to your goals. As the SPEED Clinic at the University of Virginia School of Medicine advises, increase your distance only about 10% a week if you are a runner or spend just 20% more time on the links than you did last week rather than trying to play 36 holes. 3,4
This contradicts general wisdom. In fact, doctors commonly advise seven hours of sleep, nightly. Fitbit cites a reason its numbers are lower: its wearable devices are clocking how long people are asleep, as opposed to merely lying in bed. Women, the Fitbit researchers contend, really need about 30 more minutes of sleep a night than men, and men and women older than 40 need deep sleep more than younger adults. In that age bracket, Fitbit adds, decreasing the hours spent awake after dark improves cognitive performance by 10%. 1
1 - cnbc.com/2018/08/30/you-might-not-need-as-much-sleep-as-you-think.html [8/30/18]
At least one life insurance company is beginning to offer customers financial incentives for working to stay healthy, and others may follow suit.
Under this program, customers can reduce their annual life insurance premiums by as much as 15% if they improve and report on their eating, drinking, and exercise habits.
This innovative program benefits insurers and their customers alike. Insurers get healthier customers, which ultimately reduces their payouts and helps them become more profitable.
Customers, meanwhile, get reduced premiums, and they could end up living longer as well. According to an insurer that currently offers this incentive, the program’s policyholders take twice as many steps as the average American. More steps mean more exercise, which could mean more years of life!
How much could you save with such a program? It depends.
If you are a 50-year-old woman, a $1,000,000 30-year term life insurance policy will cost you $2,349 annually, according to NerdWallet as of September 2018. Saving 15% would reduce that by $352 a year.
But the numbers are even more compelling if you buy a $1,000,000 whole life insurance policy, which costs $17,760 annually, according to NerdWallet. In that case, you would save $2,664 a year.
This kind of benefit could inspire more people to buy life insurance. Around half of Americans (172 million) have some form of life insurance coverage, according to LIMRA, an insurance industry research group. And according to a survey by LIMRA and the nonprofit insurance group Life Happens, 63% of Americans who have not purchased coverage say it is because they believe coverage is too expensive. This kind of discount could make life insurance more affordable for many.
It could also encourage healthy lifestyle choices. Perhaps a financial incentive is just what some people need to make healthy foods and exercise look more appealing.
Strength training builds fat-burning muscles, improves joints and bones, and increases balance and coordination.
Program: A good strength training program works all of your muscles in an organized fashion, including chest, back, shoulders, biceps, triceps, abdominals, and lower body. Choose one or two exercises for each muscle group, e.g., push ups for the chest muscles, and back extensions for the back. Begin with the large muscles, and progress to the small ones.
Weights: For exercises with weights, start light. Do two to three sets of about a dozen repetitions, resting a minute or two between sets. Use enough weight so that it is a challenge to complete each set, but do not push yourself beyond a reasonable limit.
Schedule: Strength training is best done two to three times a week. The days off give your muscles time to rest and rebuild. Daily training is fine if you alternate muscle groups.
Gym or Home: Joining a local gym is a good idea. You'll get guidance on how to exercise, and you'll have access to a variety of equipment. A simple and effective routine with free weights, or barbells, can be done at home – you can even start with soup cans. Pick up a book or video, or search online for instructions.
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