There is no shortage of information available on the importance of being physically active at any age. Just how much does exercising (or the lack of) affect our quality of life? Studies show that next to what types of food we consume, it plays a huge role in the health of our minds and bodies. Being physically active for 30-60 minutes 4 to 5 days a week lowers the risk of heart disease, diabetes, stroke, depression, and other health issues. It also improves cognitive function, memory, mood, and quality of life.
If it is so good for us, why does it seem so hard to stick to a routine? There are many reasons, but a popular one is that a large amount of people don’t think they have the time to give to being physically active, and with more and more jobs becoming sedentary, it’s no wonder that America is the ‘largest’ nation on earth. If we don’t find the time to give our bodies what they need now, they will not be able to give us the time we may need near the end of life.
1.) Grab a friend. Or a spouse, child, neighbor, or coworker. If you have someone to talk to or engage with during your walk, run, swim, or yoga class, you’re much more likely to enjoy it. An added benefit to involving another person is increased accountability to make sure you show up to exercise! Many gyms, YMCA’s, community centers, and even local libraries have special workout classes just for seniors that are free or heavily discounted. Not of Silver Sneaker age yet? No problem. Make sure to find a partner to enjoy the outdoors with.
2.) Enjoy it. You are much more likely to stick with something if you truly enjoy the activity. Playing sports, riding a bike, kickboxing, hiking, swimming, barre classes, walking along the water front, or rock climbing are all ‘fun’ activities that don’t really feel like exercise. The activity itself brings a satisfaction and a bonus is that your body reaps the benefits. Try not to view your exercise time as a negative thing that you ‘have’ to do. Instead keep in mind the negative side affects of what happens when you don’t exercise. It’s a good motivation to help you get up extra early in the morning to fit in your jog or swim. You’ll find that you will soon start to genuinely enjoy your active time!
3.) Switch it up. Doing the same exact thing every day can become monotonous, and you’ll burn out quickly if you never try anything new. If you go to a gym, change up your cardio and weight routine every other day. Try new classes at the YMCA. Choose two days a week to swim and two days a week to take a bike ride. Hike on the weekend. Try Yoga one morning. By varying your routine and your activities, you are not only using different muscle groups, but you’re keeping your mind engaged as you concentrate and are less likely to get bored. You may even find that you enjoy a new activity that you never thought to try before.
These tips are helpful at any age and in any season of life. You will feel amazing and you’ll be investing into your future by taking a little time each day to take care of your body. Do what’s best for you mind and body and have fun!
These statements have not been evaluated by a medical professional. If you have questions concerning your health or the health of a loved one, always consult your doctor.