This Review Originally Appeared in "Beauty Handbook"

FITNESS is a balanced lifestyle of eating properly and weight training (see “W”). Not only does staying physically fit release mood-lifting endorphins, but maintaining a fitness routine is good for your body, mind and soul. “Fitness can be defined in general terms as the ability to maintain good overall health and to perform the tasks that daily life requires of you with ease and comfort,” says Andy Troy, CSCS, creator of The Bedroom Workout For Men. “It is important to keep in mind that people’s lives vary greatly as do the physical demands they face.” While strength training was once something reserved for athletes, today the focus has changed. “Now strength training also enables grandparents to lift their grandchildren more easily and diabetics to reduce their dependence on insulin,” says Troy. Find out what the benefits of a fitness routine are for you; talk to your doctor or visit a personal trainer for a consultation. Be sure to mention any ailments or injuries you suffer or sustained—personalizing your workout delivers the best results.

JOINTS a joint is the place in your body where bones or cartilage and bones come together. There are several types of joints which allow varying degrees of motion. Our muscles initiate movement at the joint by contracting, thereby bringing the bony segments together.

“When muscles are tight, stretching them is important in order to allow a full and normal range of motion. Keep in mind, however, that more is not always better as too much flexibility can lead to instability in the joints,” says Troy.

Strength training can help keep your joints running smoothly. It increases the size and strength of muscles, bones and connective tissue and offers stability as well increasing range of motion. “The biggest mistake we make with our joints is forcing them beyond their normal range of motion. Connective tissue like tendons and ligaments have little flexibility and are not meant to be stretched, as a small increase in length can drastically reduce force production,” says Troy. An example of this would be a sprained ankle in which ligaments have been stretched too far. “Joint pain, often from arthritis, is a major concern especially to senior citizens when it is not the exception but the rule,” says Troy. Treatments often include prescription medication or surgery. Joint pain and stiffness can also be treated through exercise, which can help preserve both muscle strength and joint mobility.

Low-impact activities such as swimming or cycling are recommended. Working your joints can also prevent osteoporosis. (See“O”)

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