Is Your New Year’s Resolution to Exercise More? Read On…
The decision to exercise more is the second most common New Year’s resolution, just behind dieting and eating healthier. So we thought we’d write about New Year’s exercise tips for seniors.
If we truly want to make the last third of our lives the best third, then we should embrace exercise, even if we never have before. The good news is that any physical activity is beneficial, and the better news is that there are more exercise options available than ever before. You can find something to do that you’ll actually enjoy—and reap health benefits for your body and your mind. The Internet provides a treasure trove of exercise tips for seniors. We’ll explore a few here to set you on your way.
Exercise Tip #1 for Seniors: The Dangers of Sitting
Getting the recommended 150 minutes of moderate exercise each week may be challenging for some older adults, but researchers say that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t work at it. “Only about one in ten adults aged 40 and older in the United States and the United Kingdom is getting what is considered to be ‘sufficient’ exercise,” says Phillip Sparling, professor emeritus in the School of Applied Physiology at Georgia Institute of Technology.
It might be difficult to assess the amount of time you spend sitting, but many of our favorite pastimes involve sitting: reading, writing, knitting, engaging in social media, watching television or movies, snacking… You may be surprised by the amount of time that can add up to. A study published in the British Medical Journal revealed that adults between the ages of 70 and 79 spend 67 percent of their waking hours sedentary, and that’s bad news. According to the World Health Organization, long-term sitting is a leading risk factor for death.
The good news is that there are many ways to introduce light activity into your day and positively impact your health. Try getting up during television commercial breaks, or pace when you’re on the phone. If your errands are nearby, walk instead of drive if the weather is good. The goal is to engage in more activity, not to run a marathon.
Phillip Sparling, professor emeritus at the School of Applied Physiology, Georgia Institute of Technology, advises: “older adults should replace sitting with standing and light activity… For the most sedentary persons, benefits can be realized from modest increases in activity levels.”
Exercise Tip #2 for Seniors: It’s Never too Late to Get Started!
Senior Exercise and Fitness Tips No Matter Your Age, It’s Never Too Late to Get StartedThere are many reasons why we tend to slow down and become more sedentary with age. It may be due to health problems, weight or pain issues, or
No matter our age, it’s easy to make excuses to avoid exercising. As older adults, we may have a few extra excuses: aches and pains, concerns about falling, frustration about not being able to do what we could do when we were younger, or even the fact that we’ve never done it before, so why start now?
In fact, there is every reason to start now. Exercise can prevent the loss of bone mass, improve balance, and lower your risk for heart disease, some cancers, and even Alzheimer’s Disease and dementia. Other benefits include improved mood and a greater sense of youthfulness.
Perhaps most important of all, the article points out this fact: “A recent Swedish study found that physical activity was the number one contributor to longevity, adding extra years to your life—even if you don’t start exercising until your senior years. But getting active is not just about adding years to your life, it’s about adding life to your years. You’ll not only look better when you exercise, you’ll feel sharper, more energetic, and experience a greater sense of well-being.”
Be sure to click through to the article as it provides many exercise tips for seniors who think they don’t love to exercise and tips for building a balanced exercise plan.
Exercise Tip #3 for Seniors: Choose Your Exercises Wisely
I see George around the gym all the time. We’re both lunchtime regulars and typically acknowledge each other with a customary nod. But I’d never started a conversation until the other day, when I noticed he was limping. I asked what happened.
When you take the plunge and start your exercise program, do so with some guidance. Several popular exercises, such as running (particularly if you’ve never been a runner), doing crunches, and deadlifting, are not the right choice for many seniors and can ultimately do more harm than good. SilverSneakers.com is a wonderful resource for exercise tips for seniors. We also recommend you talk with your doctor or physical therapist, especially one who specializes in older adult health.
Guidance is great, but remember to listen to yourself too. Jim Shadbolt of SilverSneakers recommends: “Another important guide: your body. If an exercise doesn’t feel right, make it easier by using less weight, going slower, or adjusting your body position. Still have pain? Skip that exercise, and check in with your doctor if pain persists.”
Read the full article to discover not just exercises to avoid, but the best ones for a healthy lifestyle with good outcomes.
Exercise Tip #4 for Seniors: Keep It Interesting
Exercise Tips for Seniors? Keep It Interesting!
It may seem intimidating to embark on new habits and a new exercise program. Don’t let fear, particularly a fear of failure, hold you back! You can reap great benefits from even modest increases in physical activity, so don’t miss out. And if you miss a day or a week, you can always begin again.
If the physical and mental health benefits don’t have you sold, consider the opportunities for making new friends and deepening existing relationships. An exercise class or a hike provide more than just exercise—they’re a chance to spend time with people you enjoy. These are also opportunities for trying new things and refusing to get stuck in your ways.
Midge from Edgewater, Florida, adds her advice: “You’ve got to keep it interesting. When I was a water aerobics instructor for the guys and gals in my community, I tried everything to keep them—and me!—engaged. I went to China and back (on my laptop), researching new exercises for my class to try. I would entertain them, swim up to them, get new music, decorate the pool area, anything and everything to keep it fresh. If you get bored, it’s all over.”
Don’t let yourself get bored in 2019. Get out with friends, or meet some new ones, and increase your physical activity. Just take it one day at a time. When 2020 arrives, you won’t regret it.