As you grow older you tend to have a more sedentary lifestyle with less activity. The TV claims more of your attention than the activities of your younger years. You tend to think that you are too old and that time has passed you by. You feel as though you can no longer keep up with your children and grandchildren. So you sit and promise to do something about it tomorrow. Today is the day to do something about it, not tomorrow. You are never too old to rejuvenate those weary bones! Exercise will increase your energy and flexibility. Other benefits of exercise include a better memory, improved confidence and better sleep habits. Any physical activity, even a small amount, will improve muscle tone and improve your health. It doesn’t matter how old you are or in what condition you find yourself. Any movement, any activity no matter how small, can be a benefit.
Before you begin any activity you should check with your doctor to find out how you are physically, how your overall health is and what range of exercise is right for you. You should also start with a slow pace. Short term goals are best at first. When you accomplish them you will be encouraged to keep going and will have proven to yourself that you can do it. It is also helpful to have a regular exercise schedule. Remember that exercise is to benefit you. It is never to be hurtful or cause you to feel worse than when you started.
It is suggested to engage in aerobic activity, such as walking, at least 2 hours and 30 minutes a week. If this seems like an unbelievable goal, try breaking the time down into 10-minute or twenty-minute intervals. This will help you to obtain the goal. Remember that you are not in competition with anyone. You are doing this for you. You are doing this to feel better and to have a better quality of life.
The other activity that is suggested is strength training (building muscle). You should strive to work on all of the muscle groups of the body. These include the muscles in the legs, hips, back, chest and abdomen. The arms and shoulders are very important focus areas.
To achieve these goals you might try the following suggestions:
1. Cardio Exercises – These types of exercises get the heart pumping and blood flowing. Walking, swimming, climbing stairs and dancing could produce the desired effect. These exercises result in less tiredness and shortness of breath.
2. Muscle Building – This is also known as strength training. Motions are repeated by using weights or elastic bands or machines.
3. Stretching – Stretching increases your flexibility. This will improve your range of motion and will aid you when you are shampooing your hair and tying your shoes.
4. Balance – The exercises in this section will reduce the fear of falling as well as the risk of falling as your posture improves and your confidence soars.
You might also find a friend to work-out or walk with. It is always good to have someone to encourage you. Another form of encouragement comes by keeping a diary to note your accomplishments.
Exercise can help you maintain your home and independence in your senior years. It can also help manage or prevent such things as high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity and dementia. Some symptoms of aging can even be reversed when you exercise regularly. You don’t have to expend great sums of money to enjoy the benefits.
Walking is a favorite way to reap the benefits of exercise and it can be done anywhere. Join a fitness class and exercise your stress away while you make new friends and have fun. Try water aerobics at the local Y. You will reap the benefits of the exercise while the water reduces the stress on your joints. Use water bottles or canned goods as weights. Rent a workout video at the local library instead of purchasing it. Stretch your arms and neck while watching that favorite TV show!
The number one thing to remember is to get moving! Any activity beats no activity. You will feel alive, have more energy and more confidence.