An active lifestyle is important for everyone, especially as we age. Regular exercise for older adults has many benefits, including:
- Increased energy.
- Improved mood.
- Increased or maintained independence.
- Prevention or management of chronic conditions.
Staying active as you age can help your body remain strong enough to do your day-to-day activities without becoming dependent on others. Remember that some activity is better than none at all. Of course, the more active you are, the greater the benefits!
Try these six tips for safely starting a new exercise program:
- Safety first! Check with your doctor to make sure you are healthy enough for exercise. Your doctor may recommend changes to some types of exercise. There may be symptoms that accompany your medications.
- Start slow. If you haven’t been active for a while, it’s important to ease into it. Try spacing a few 10-minute intervals in throughout the day and work up from there.
- Choose activities you enjoy. You are more likely to stick to a routine if you find the activity enjoyable. Look for local group fitness classes for seniors or try walking with friends.
- Start with short-term goals. Help yourself stay motivated by starting with small, achievable goals. Then, build those into long-term goals over time. This is a good way to avoid burnout or disappointment. The main goal is to enjoy the activity and continue it regularly.
- Sit less and move more. Find ways to stay active throughout the day by aiming to move more. Park farther away at the store, walk in place during TV commercials, or take the stairs when possible.
- Get into a routine. Commit to be fit by making exercise a part of your regular schedule. Block off times and dates off on the calendar and stick with it.
Guidelines for older adults include doing aerobic activity most days of the week and strength training at least two days a week.
Aerobic activity is important for your heart and lungs. Examples of aerobic activity include walking, swimming, cycling, and aerobics.
Strength training activities are important and building and maintaining muscle mass. Examples include resistance band exercises, body weight exercises, and lifting hand weights. Some types of housework may also be considered a strength activity if they involve lifting or pushing.
Balance is also a good idea to add in a few days a week. This type of exercise can help reduce your risk of falls. Examples include standing on one foot, walking backwards in a straight line, walking sideways, and tai chi.
Staying physically active as you age doesn’t have to be hard or boring. Find activities you like, and make exercise a social event. Remember that you don’t have to make big changes all at once, and that every step you take is for your health!
How do you like to stay active? Leave your comments for others to see!