You’ve heard them:
I’m going to get old anyway, why exercise?
I need to save my strength for daily life and not waste it on exercise.
I might get hurt or fall down.
It’s too late; I should have started when I was younger.
I’m disabled. I can’t exercise anymore.
Do you believe any of the above? I’m here to tell you they are false.
As we grow older it becomes more important, not less, to stay active. Regular exercise, even in mild forms, helps boost energy, maintain independence, and manage symptoms of chronic illnesses. Exercise can even reverse some of the symptoms of illness such as pain, stiffness and low energy levels. Healthy exercise can reduce stress and stave off depression.
Getting more active takes a certain mindset. You have to make a decision to make a plan and then you have to begin. Once you begin, you won’t quit, because being active is fun. Virtually any person who engages in a safe, well-planned program of exercise will feel better both mentally and physically.
Another wonderful thing about even mild exercise is the way our bodies respond to healthy activity. You’ll gain in strength. You’ll have improved balance. You’ll feel more energetic and may even find a smile on your face.
Always get a medical clearance from your doctor before beginning any new exercise program. Consider any risk factors you may have and then select activities that are ideal for you. Start slow. Five minutes or ten, not thirty at first. In general a good goal is thirty minutes of activity per day, five days per week. This chunk of time can be broken into smaller parts done several times a day. Always stop if you experience pain or shortness of breath.
Walking is one of the most perfect exercises for seniors. It can be done virtually anywhere and can be done at a pace comfortable for you. It is low impact and won’t increase pain from arthritis or other ailments.
Water exercise is both fun and beneficial for seniors. Check out your local pool for senior classes. Adding music or dance to any exercise makes it more fun. Gather a few friends and take a Zumba Gold class—that fun and sassy zumba class for seniors.
If you want to exercise in the privacy of your own home you can:
Listen to music while doing weight lifts
Watch a movie or television program while walking on a treadmill.
Read while riding a stationary bike.’
Sing out loud while dancing through a routine.
Buy an exercise video and do it.
If you like to get out and about, do one of these:
Take a short hike and take your camera along.
Play senior tennis.
Enroll in a yoga or tai chi class.
Walk with friends at the mall.
Gather with a few friends to do strength or cardio training exercises.
For a visual boost to your exercise program, keep a chart and mark off the days when you achieve your goals. You might reward yourself with a nice coffee or lunch date when you reach your goals.
Finally, if you “fall off the exercise wagon” as most of us do now and then, just get right back on that wagon again. Holidays, birthdays, vacations, illness and so many other things can interfere with a carefully planned schedule. Just review your goals and begin all over again.
Remember, you really will lose it if you don’t use it. Our bodies were made to move. So take the stairs, park a little further from the store entry, take every chance to get a few more steps into each day and then reap the rewards by remaining a fit and sassy senior citizen.
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