Did you know that the fountain of youth exists? There IS a way to live longer, feel better, and reduce or delay age-related disease, but it isn’t magical or mythical. The secret to a longer, healthier, and more vibrant life is exercise! Studies have shown that working out – even just a little bit- can make a significant difference in health. It can lead to lower cholesterol and blood pressure, more energy, flexibility, and balance, less depression, stronger bones, and even better quality sleep. So, what are you waiting for?
1. JUST MOVE
Think you are too old, too out of shape, or just too tired to get in shape? Get rid of that negative thinking and stop procrastinating – the longest journey begins with only one step, and sometimes the first step is the hardest. Make the decision to start exercising and don’t give up on yourself. Gradually begin adding physical activity into your daily routine, then increase intensity and length of activity as your endurance increases. There are many things you can do that aren’t considered working out, but have the same positive benefits. Walking, gardening, and biking are fun ways to incorporate activity into your life. Swimming is an excellent form of exercise that is easy on aging joints, and golf and tennis can keep you entertained and in shape.
2. NO PAIN, NO GAIN? NOT SO!
You don’t have to push yourself to the point of injury to enjoy the benefits of exercise. Listen to your body; if you get stiff or sore after working out, then you probably did too much. Use proper form and posture while exercising, always stretch before and after, and know your limits. Give your body ample time between workouts to recuperate, and if something feels wrong, don’t do it.
3. WEIGHTS – NOT JUST FOR BODYBUILDERS
Weight training builds muscle, increases bone density, and helps with balance and flexibility, which are all things that naturally decrease as we age. Adding weight training to your exercise regimen is important for everyone, but the benefits to seniors are often overlooked. Having a strong core and flexible body will not only help you stay active longer, but can also be important in preventing falls due to loss of balance. And if you do suffer a fall, a fit body is much less likely to sustain serious or debilitating injury.
4. BREAK A SWEAT
Aerobic activity increases heart rate and burns fat and calories, all of which contribute to a healthy heart. You should strive for 30 minutes of aerobic activity at least 3 to 4 days a week, increasing the length and intensity of your workout as your endurance increases. Again, listen to your body – if you feel your heart racing or begin to feel dizzy, STOP.
5. GRAB A PARTNER
What is the best way to stay motivated and stick to your fitness goals? Find an exercise buddy! Working out with a partner can help you push yourself harder, keep you from giving up, and make exercise less of a chore. Biking with your spouse, joining the gym with a friend, or walking with your neighbor are all good for your body AND your soul.
6. TALK TO YOUR DOCTOR
It is important at any age to consult a physician prior to beginning an exercise program, but it is crucial for seniors. Make sure that you don’t have any undetected medical conditions that could prove to be dangerous, such as diabetes or a heart condition. If you do have medical issues, your doctor can work with you to find the best and safest workout options.
You can’t defeat the effects of aging sitting down! Get your body in tip-top shape and enjoy a happier and healthier life at ANY age.