Today’s retirees have more opportunities than ever to get off the couch and get in shape! Here are five great motivators to get you started on your path to personal fitness.
5. You’ll live longer
A sedentary lifestyle contributes to health problems, which is why people who are more physically active tend to live longer than those that don’t. Studies also find that regular exercise helps keeps us mentally sharp as well as physically fit. It also reduces instances of diabetes, heart disease, and even depression!
4. Exercise improves your balance
Cardio-intensive exercises such as walking, running, and tennis help can increase your balance and preserve your bone density. These activities are especially effective if you’re wearing weighted bracelets or anklets. Another way to improve your balance is to stand on one foot and count to 8. Alternate feet, gradually increasing your count with each set.
3. You’ll get stronger
Strength and endurance training are an effective hedge against conditions like muscle atrophy. Aim to spend about 30 minutes a week lifting weights. Most retirement homes offer access to an on-site fitness instructor, who can design a routine that targets each of your muscle groups.
2. More endurance means more fun!
Build up endurance by doing activities that elevate your heart rate. Check with your doctor or fitness advisor to determine the amount of time you should commit to this type of exercise. It’s also a good idea to work out with a loved one or caregiver, to ensure you don’t over-exert yourself. A strong heart will protect you from heart disease, lower your blood pressure, and prevent insomnia.
1. Improved Agility
An improved sense of agility can help prevent falls and increase your personal mobility. Here’s a simple exercise that can help get you to develop this essential attribute. First, walk in a straight line. Place your heel directly in front of your other foot’s big toe – think of how a model walks down a runway at a fashion show, and you’ll have the right idea.
Next, focus on a point on the ground straight ahead. With a little bit of practice, it will quickly become easier to walk in a perfectly straight line.
Side shuffles are another great activity that can help enhance your agility. Practice side-stepping along the length of a wall, and gradually acclimatize yourself to moving sideways in both directions. Begin with short side-steps of about 8 – 12 inches, then increase the length of your strides as you become more accustomed to this exercise.
Seniors should engage in at least two-and-a-half hours of moderate exercise every week. If you’re finding that longer workout sessions are too intense for you, try breaking your fitness routine into increments of 10 or 20 minutes.