After age 65, most people face a lot of changes. Metabolism slows down, joints may start to ache, and people are afraid of getting hurt—all of which can contribute to less activity. However, staying active at every age is important, and this is especially true after age 65. Physical fitness is deeply linked to well being and can make a huge difference in your happiness. Whatever your fitness level, it’s never too late to be more active and feel great.
Find the right routine for you.
The core areas of fitness are strength, flexibility, and stamina. Each of these plays a role in daily life, but they matter even more as we age. Being fit makes people happier, more independent, less likely to fall, and more likely to avoid health problems such as a stroke, heart attack, and type 2 diabetes. A great workout routine is one you are excited about and look forward to. Now is the time to take a chance and try a class you’ve always been curious about. Life is full of surprises, and you might find something new to be passionate about.
Embrace the idea of “impact level force.”
Lifting weights helps build new bone, but to build new bone quickly, the body needs to encounter “impact level force.” This may sound intense, but it’s actually safe and easy—you don’t even break a sweat. Osteogenic loading allows you to resist impact level force safely, and in less than 10 minutes a week, the body builds lots of new bone. Thanks to osteogenic loading, many people have completely reversed their osteoporosis.
Talk to your doctor before starting a new routine.
Wanting to get started on a new workout regimen is fantastic, but if your new workout plan is a lot more strenuous, talk to your doctor before you jump in. This is especially important if you haven’t exercised in awhile. Fitness is never one-size-fits-all, and you don’t want to risk doing too much too fast and getting injured. In any fitness routine, you want to push yourself just the right amount, and your doctor can help you outline the best range for you and suggest activities that fit your needs.
Get a basic heart rate monitor.
Your doctor will tell you the ideal heart rate range for activity based on your condition and health history, and a heart rate monitor can help you make sure you’re in the ideal range for the right amount of time. Heart rate monitors come in a variety of price ranges, styles, and capabilities, so it’s easy to choose one that fits the bill. Over time, a heart rate monitor will show you concrete results from your activity, which is a powerful motivational tool. You’ll also be able to see clear evidence of progress and track results.
Stick with activities you actually enjoy.
If we are exercising just to exercise, it’s going to feel like work, and we’re more likely to quit. However, if you’ve always loved to dance and you sign up for a dance class, you’re probably going to look forward to class and stick with it. Dancing can be a fun, social activity that boosts the heart rate, and brisk walking can connect you to nature or get you involved in a fun walking club. Lots of people also enjoy cycling, whether on a stationary bike or outside, or swimming, which is a low impact way to stay fit. Yoga is another great activity that you can do in a group or alone, and themed classes and position modifications make it as approachable or challenging as you want.
Try to break up the amount of time you sit.
People say that sitting is the new smoking, and it’s true. Multiple studies have linked extensive sitting with higher risk of heart disease, cancer, obesity, and type 2 diabetes. Sitting too much can literally cut your life short, so even if you’re not ready to get into a new exercise routine, make sure you stand up and move around a little at least once an hour. Avoiding too much sitting is one of the easiest ways to be healthier, but also one of the most essential to your overall health.
It’s never too late to start a fitness routine. The most important thing is to be active, whatever that looks like for you. Choose something that you have fun with or find rewarding, and try to do it with a group. If you do what you love, pretty soon it won’t even feel like work.
John Jaquish is the inventor of patented bioDensity technology used by OsteoStrong, the health and wellness system that helps clients between ages 8 and 98 build stronger bones, improved strength, and better balance in less than 10 minutes a week. OsteoStrong introduced a new era in modern wellness and anti-aging in 2011 and has since helped thousands of clients between ages 8 and 98 improve strength, balance, endurance, and bone density.