Many people gradually cut back on physical activity as they age, but moderate exercise has far too many health benefits to retire to your easy chair. Staying physically active by doing aerobic exercise and resistance training will help you stay functional long after your first gray hairs show up.
Why is staying active important as you age? If you're inactive, you lose muscle tissue at a rate of 3 to 5% per decade. Loss of strength and muscle mass is a major factor in the loss of functionality and the ability to do the things you enjoy. Staying active throughout life should be a priority.
The key to staying active is to find activities you enjoy. Broaden your horizons by trying a new activity or enrolling in an exercise class. Dynamic workouts like kickboxing and boot camp keep you in motion without the boredom of doing the same exercise over and over. These days, you can sample a variety of workouts by watching free videos online. No need to leave home to get a workout!
If you're the type of person who likes the camaraderie of exercising with someone else, find an exercise partner. Some studies show people who exercise with a partner are more likely to stick with it. When you're tempted to skip, your workout partner will hold you accountable and vice versa. Be sure to choose someone who's motivated and won't "call in sick" at the first opportunity. If walking is your primary mode of exercise, don't underestimate the power of a canine exercise buddy. They're always ready to exercise with you.
Think outside of the box when it comes to activities. Do you enjoy the solitude of hiking? Choose challenging terrains and you'll get a cardiovascular workout. Grab a jump rope or hula hoop and relive your childhood joys - these can be effective forms of exercise, too.
If you have joint issues, choose low-impact exercises like swimming, water aerobics or cycling. For a challenging but effective workout, try a spin class at a local health club. These classes are held in a group setting; everyone pedals together on their own bike under the guidance of an instructor. Be prepared to sweat and feel a sense of accomplishment when you finish.
Resistance training is a go-to for preserving strength and muscle tissue as you age. You don't need to use weight machines or barbells to get an effective resistance training workout. Bodyweight exercises you can do at home like pushups, squats, lunges, and a variety of other exercises will strengthen your muscles. You can also use resistance bands for an added challenge to your resistance training.
As with any change in your diet or exercise routine, check with your health care professional first.
The take-home message? Commit to staying active and make sure the activities you're doing are enjoyable. Set aside time each day to exercise and be consistent about it. Find a time that works for you. If you have problems fitting it in later in the day, do it first thing in the morning. For loved ones that need assistance with staying active and other forms of senior care in Plantation, FL, contact a specialist at SYNERGY HomeCare.