As we age, it’s natural for our bodies to change, but that doesn’t mean you don’t have any control over your fitness. Exercising can help with various aspects of your health, allowing you to remain more independent, physically able, and mentally aware. Learn more about why it’s important to stay active in your golden years so you can make the most of them!
Before you jump into a new exercise routine, here are a few things you should do to prepare in order to reduce your risk of injury and make it a more pleasant experience:
- Make a plan (whether you have someone develop a workout plan for you or you’re going to join group workout classes offered by your community, it will help you stay on track)
- Get a pair of workout shoes made specifically for your needs (for example, walking shoes for men and women are not the same)
- Schedule a consultation with your doctor (if you haven’t been working out consistently or have a condition that may impact the type of workout you can do, make an appointment to discuss becoming more active with your doctor so they can provide recommendations)
1Improved Physical Fitness
One of the best ways to maintain your independence as you age is to ensure you remain physically fit. Being physically able to move around freely, maneuver through your home without fear of falling, and generally being able to care for yourself without assistance is essential. Exercising regularly is key to keeping your body strong and flexible.
After all, now you have the most free time you’ve ever had. Don’t waste it by sitting in front of the TV. By becoming more physically fit, you can go on the trip you’ve been dreaming of, explore the outdoors right in your own backyard (you could even pick up a new hobby like bird watching), or spend more time playing with your grandkids.
2Prevents Pain & Stiffness
Aches and pains are generally accepted as just being an inevitable part of aging. This is in part due to the fact that our ligaments and tendons become stiff. But what if you could minimize your discomfort? Well you can by exercising regularly.
Stretching is also an important part of keeping your body limber and preventing pain post-workout. You should also stretch to help avoid exercise-related injuries by making sure your muscles are properly warmed up and cooled down. Even just 10 to 15 minutes a day can help make a significant difference.
3Boosts Your Mood
Whether you’re dealing with stressful changes like selling your family home, struggling to deal with self-isolation during the COVID-19 pandemic, or you’re simply looking to keep your mood at it’s best, getting regular exercise is a simple solution. When you work out, your brain releases endorphins which help you feel more positive.
For the most consistent benefits, it’s important to try to work out at least four days a week. That can even be mild exercise like water aerobics guided by an instructor or brisk walking (use a walk-tracking app to keep tabs on your progress) around your community with friends.
4Keeps Your Mentally Sharp
Just like exercise can produce endorphins that improve your mood, it can also help with other areas of your mental health, like keeping you mentally sharp. Unfortunately, conditions like dementia are common in seniors, especially when there is little to no mental stimulation throughout your day.
Fitness training requires mental discipline as well as physical discipline and requires you to learn new moves, routines, and skills, all of which are great for keeping you alert and improving your memory. Circuit training, dance classes, aerobics, and more are all good for keeping you mentally sharp because they require focus and the ability to continuously transition to new paces and moves. Try introducing one or more of these types of workouts into your weekly routine to enjoy the benefits.
You can also do mental exercises using an app designed for brain training, so you can get daily exercise for your mind even on your rest days.
Don’t let your age limit you. You can easily integrate some kind of fitness routine into your lifestyle to improve your health and quality of life.