Most of us understand that the key to healthy aging is staying physically active. But following an exercise routine may feel like a chore.
So how can you make it more enjoyable?
One way is to stop thinking of exercise as something you need to do with expensive fitness equipment at a gym or at home.
The key is to get up and get moving. Find activities that you enjoy like walking, swimming, or biking. Even puttering around in the garden has its benefits.
An online workout that works for you
Online workouts can also get you motivated. The nice thing about them is the social component. There’s an instructor to keep you going and classmates to chug along with.
But it’s important to choose a workout specially designed for seniors that allows you to participate according to your own fitness level and physical abilities.
During the early days of the pandemic, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation posted an article entitled Online workouts for seniors and how to pick the right one for you.
It contains videos of online workouts that fit the bill (and yes, Jane Fonda is still going strong). No special equipment is needed. For instance, if you don’t own hand weights, a bottle of water or a can of tomatoes will often do.
The post also provides three guidelines from Stuart McGill, fitness expert and professor emeritus at the University of Waterloo. They are
- Lightly challenge your abilities without exceeding them
- Stop before you get sore
- Increase the challenge slowly
He also recommends that seniors work on four things every week in their routine:
- Balance. To address the serious health risk posed by falls as we age.
- Mobility. This involves stretching, especially the upper back, shoulders, and hips.
- Strength. Includes different types of movements including pushs, pulls, squats, and carries.
- Endurance. To get the heart rate up and promote cardiac and brain health.
It’s never too late to start
The idea is to keep your body healthy so that you’re less likely to run into health issues that come with a sedentary lifestyle.
But if you already have health issues, that doesn’t mean it’s too late to get active. It’s just a matter of adapting your routine and following any medical advice you may have received.
As reported in the Washington Post, a University of Cambridge study of 14,599 adults aged 40 to 79 published in 2019 found that “adults with cardiovascular disease and cancer gained substantial longevity benefits by becoming more active, regardless of their past physical activity levels. Those who had been inactive at the start and increased to an average of 30 minutes of moderate activity per day showed about 24 percent lower mortality risk.”
One of the most encouraging aspects of the study was that even subjects with existing risk factors – like high body mass index, blood pressure, or cholesterol – saw health benefits from increasing their activity levels.
Staying physically active often has a positive impact on our mood as well. We may tend to dwell less on our aches and pains. We may also find that we’re more mentally alert as well.
Just the Facts Guide: Memory Care
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