Aging may be a fact of life, but with a graceful aging plan based on a healthy, active lifestyle, you can counteract Mother Nature.
Aging is a fact of life. Loss of muscle tone and bone density, increased fat stores, skin aging and poor posture are all part of the aging process. However, this doesn’t mean you should just sit around and watch your body deteriorate. You can’t prevent aging, but with a graceful aging plan based on a healthy, active lifestyle, you can counteract Mother Nature.
It’s never too late to get started with an exercise routine, and even a small amount of activity can help you to improve the way you feel. Staying active will allow your joints to stay mobile and if you include resistance exercises as part of your plan, you can retain muscular control and stability as you age.
Everyone, regardless of their current age, can benefit from exercise. Reaping the rewards and health benefits of exercise doesn’t have to involve strenuous workouts or trips to the gym. It’s about adding more movement and activity to your life, even in small ways.
There are many easy ways to get your body moving and improve your health and outlook. However, older adults that have been inactive for a while should consider the following before getting started.
Get Medical Clearance
Consult your doctor before starting an exercise program, especially if you have a preexisting health condition. Your doctor can let you know if there are any activities you should avoid.
Consider Your Current Health Status
Keep in mind how your ongoing health problems may affect your workouts. For example, diabetics may need to adjust the timing of medication and meal plans when setting an exercise schedule.
If you haven’t been active in a while, don’t do too much too soon. Instead, build up your exercise program little by little. Try working out in increments of 10 minutes, two to three times a day.
Listen to Your Body
Exercise and activity should be at least somewhat enjoyable and pain free. If something feels wrong, such as a sharp pain or unusual shortness of breath, stop exercising and inform your doctor so that you can try another activity that’s more comfortable or suitable. You may be able to avoid a lot of the discomfort associated with starting a new exercise routine by ensuring that you warm up prior to exercising and cool down with stretches afterwards.
Get started today with some exercise basics
Walking to enhance your cardiovascular fitness level is a simple activity to get started with. Aim to be active for 30 minutes at least five days a week. Understand, however, that walking alone is not sufficient, so consider adding an element of resistance-based movements to your plan on 2 to 3 of your exercise days.
Strength training helps prevent loss of bone mass, builds muscle and improves balance. Staying strong may also help you avoid falls that are caused by a lack of muscular strength. Ensuring that you do some form of resistance-based activity each week may allow you to perform your daily activities, such as shopping, cooking and cleaning, with greater ease.
Performing daily stretches can help you to become more limber and increase your range of movement. Stretches that are static or involve movement can be done standing. If your current mobility and stability is not ready for this challenge, you can stretch while sitting in a chair or lying down.
With these graceful aging exercises, you can improve your quality of life and make a commitment to getting healthy and active today.
By Samantha Clayton, AFAA, ISSA – Vice President, Worldwide Sports Performance and Fitness