Ways to Increase Physical Activity as you Age
Friday, August 21st is National Senior Citizens Day and a time to recognize the accomplishments these older adults have achieved. For centuries, cultures across the world have looked to the seniors in their communities for wisdom and knowledge. Many senior adults continue to contribute to their families and communities but oftentimes as they age, they start slowing down and become more and more sedentary.
We all know that exercise is a key component of good health. According to the CDC, regular physical activity is vital for healthy aging. It can help delay, prevent, or manage many costly chronic diseases faced by adults 50 years or older. And the benefits of physical activity are numerous including helping to control arthritis and maintain healthy bones, muscle strength and stamina, all of which help prevent falls.
You may think you are too old, sickly, or out of shape to manage a fitness routine at your age, but you’re never too old to get moving and improve your health!
Start safely. There is no question that increasing your physical activity can help you become stronger, more agile and healthier than you are today. But if you have a chronic medical condition or if you have not had regular check-ups, you will need to get medical clearance from your physician. And be sure to ask if there are any activities you should avoid.
Start slow and build up steadily. If you haven’t been active in a while, build up your exercise program little by little. Try spacing workouts in ten-minute increments twice a day. Or try just one class each week. If you’re concerned about falling or have an ongoing health problem, start with easy chair exercises to slowly increase your fitness and confidence.
Commit to an exercise schedule. Whatever exercise routine you choose, be consistent with your physical activity for at least 3 or 4 weeks so that it becomes a habit. This is much easier to do if you find activities you enjoy.
Keep it simple. There is no need for an expensive gym membership. While some may have the strength and stamina to run or cycle, plenty of senior adults find just getting on the treadmill at home or taking a walk in the neighborhood is more their speed. Water aerobics classes, yoga, walking the dog or even doing simple stretches are all activities you can incorporate into your week. The most important thing is to do what you enjoy and what you will stick with.
No matter your age or physical condition, it’s never too late to get your body moving, boost your health and outlook, and improve how you age. Why not get started today?