Ways to Stay Active as You Age – The research is in, and sedentary lives are connected to adverse health outcomes and premature mortality among aging adults. Of course, staying active is essential for all ages, but it’s imperative as you age. In fact, there are many benefits to staying active as you age. From reducing your risk of heart disease, stroke and type 2 diabetes to improving your mood, alleviating fatigue symptoms and maintaining your independence, there are plenty of reasons to keep moving. Here are fourteen ways to stay active as you age. Read on for inspiration.
1) Walk – It doesn’t matter where you’re going. Just walk. Going to the corner store? Walk there. Meeting up with friends for a coffee? Sip and walk in the park. The more you walk, the better off you’ll be. We should get at least 150 minutes of physical activity per week. Walking is the easiest way to make that happen.
2) Step Counters – Challenge yourself to get more steps in a day by using a step counter. With several fancy options available, including Fitbit, Apple Watch and Garmin, there are plenty of ways to track your progress. Depending on your level of mobility, you’ll be aiming for anywhere from 2,000 to 10,000 steps per day. But, again, consult your doctor or physiotherapist for advice on what’s right for you.
3) Intentional Movement – Add structure to your day by getting up and moving every 30 minutes. Set a regulator on your phone or computer to remind you to get up and walk around, do some stretches or jump in place for a minute or two. This goes for those still working and the retired. It’s crucial that we don’t spend our entire day sitting.
4) Stretch – Stretching is important for maintaining range of motion and flexibility as you age. Try to make bigger for at least 10 minutes a day, holding each stretch for 20-30 seconds. If you’re unsure where to start, look up some simple stretching routines online or ask a physiotherapist for guidance. And remember, stretching doesn’t have to mean going to the floor. There are plenty of stretches you can do seated in a chair to preserve stability and safety.
5) Strength Training – Building muscle strength is important for aging adults. It helps with everyday activities, reduces the risk of falls and even improves your mental health. Talk to a physiotherapist or certified personal trainer about the best way to get started with strength training — they can help you design a safe and effective program.
6) Tai Chi – Tai chi is a slow, low-impact martial art that’s great for improving balance and flexibility. While it originated in China, you can find classes offered in most communities. It’s also a great way to meet folks for that walk in the park and coffee later in the day.
7) Barre Class – Barre is a type of workout that uses a ballet bar (hence the name in French) to help you tone your muscles without putting stress on your joints. It’s an excellent workout for those who want to stay active but need to take things a little slower.
8) Swimming – Swimming is an excellent way to stay active while minimizing the impact on your body. If you have access to a pool, make a point of swimming laps a few times per week. Many communities will have a recreation center with public swimming hours at a very reasonable rate.
9) Water Aerobics – Water aerobics is a type of exercise that’s performed in, you guessed it, water. It’s a great way to get moving without stressing your body and joints. In fact, research indicates that aquatic-based exercise is an effective treatment for patients with osteoarthritis. Most community recreation centers offer water aerobics classes for all levels of ability.
10) Yoga – Yoga can be a low-impact exercise that can help improve your flexibility, balance and strength. There are many different types of yoga and, no, they don’t all involve crazy poses. What’s important is to find a class that’s right for your fitness and ability level.
11) Dance – Dancing is a great way to stay active and have fun simultaneously. There are many different types of dance, so you can find one that fits your personality and fitness level. If you’re new to dance, try signing up for a beginner’s class. If you search online, you’ll find many dance class options in your community.
12) Pilates – Pilates is an exercise that focuses on controlled movements and proper form. It’s great for improving your flexibility, balance and overall strength. In addition, it emphasizes abdominal strength, which is important for a healthy spine as we age. You can find Pilates classes at most gyms or community recreation centers.
13) Hiking – Get out into nature and explore your local trails. Hiking is a huge way to get some fresh air and exercise all at the same time. Be sure to dress appropriately for the weather, wear comfortable shoes and bring plenty of water to stay hydrated.
14) Bike Riding – Bike riding is a great way to get some exercise while also exploring your community. If you don’t contain a bike, there are many options for rentals these days. And, remember, you don’t have to go zipping down the street to get a good workout — riding at a leisurely pace is just fine.
Other Tips for Staying Active
Address Medical Concerns – If you’re suffering from various ailments that stop you from getting active, it’s essential to work with your doctor to address those concerns. Some treatments can help you get past these obstacles, and not all of them have toinvolve medication or surgery. Advocate for yourself by seeking the type of treatment you’re most comfortable with. From dealing with unexplained weight loss symptoms to finding ways to boost your energy, a mindful and cooperative healthcare professional can be a real asset.
Get a Physical – Even if you feel fine, it’s always a good idea to get a physical from your doctor before starting any new exercise routine. This is especially important as you get older. Your doctor can check for any underlying health concerns that might impact your ability to stay active.
Supplements – As we age, our bodies don’t function as they used to. This is natural and normal, but there are things we can do to help our bodies stay strong. Everything from vitamin and mineral deficiencies to hormone imbalances can impact our ability to maintain an active lifestyle. Consider working with a naturopathic doctor or other healthcare professionals to find out which personalized supplements you should be taking to keep your body in tip-top shape.
Check Your Equipment – If you’re participating in any type of exercise, it’s important to ensure that you have the proper equipment. This includes the right shoes, comfortable clothing and necessary safety gear.
Just Get Moving
These are just a few data to get you started. The important thing is to find an activity you enjoy and can commit to regularly doing. Don’t be afraid to try something new or change things up from season to season — you may be surprised at how much you enjoy it! And, remember, even a little small piece of exercise is better than none. So get out there and get moving!