If you would like to optimize your health in every stage of your life, look no further than exercise. “Exercise is an antidote to aging,” says Barry A. Franklin, PhD, director of the cardiac rehabilitation and exercise labs at Beaumont Hospital in Royal Oak, MI. A well-rounded routine, as part of a healthy lifestyle, may help you avoid things like falls, heart disease, and osteoporosis. In fact, many of these conditions have little to do with getting older, and more to do with simply not moving your body enough.
You should never feel like it’s too late to start exercising. After consulting your doctor, consider adding a few of the following regiments into your weekly schedule. You’ll be happy you did.
Aerobic exercises are designed to raise your heart rate, and therefore keep your heart and lungs healthy. They can also regulate blood pressure, blood sugar, cholesterol levels, and even improve sleep and memory. If you’re new to exercise or have a health condition, it’s best to start with walking or jogging. Then you can progress to bike riding, swimming, water aerobics, and Zumba classes. Again, start slow, but eventually aim for 30 minutes a day.
Tip: A pedometer can help you track your steps and set goals. Challenge yourself to do a little more each week. Map My Walk is a GPS walking app that keeps track of your steps and the distance you walked.
Don’t let the term “strength training” intimidate you. Rather than trying to become a body builder, strength/resistance training is a great way to improve your balance and mobility, allowing you to stay independent later into life. Strength training is all about using your muscles regularly to keep them from withering away. Getting started is easy, requiring only some light hand weights. You can even use water bottles or canned food if you’d like. The goal is to restrict movement using weights to increase strength.
Tip: For some great strength routines, check out this post by New York Times Bestselling author, Dr. Mercola. Sworkit is another great app, which allows you to make custom workouts. Also, remember to give yourself a few days rest between strength training exercises.
Flexibility exercises are great for joint problems, mobility issues, and stress release.Flexibility exercises can also be used to warm up and cool down from aerobic exercises so they are easier to fit into your routine. Additionally, many flexibility-focused exercises also build balance. Yoga, Pilates and Tai Chi are two of the most popular strategies among older adults.
Tips: Check out your local fitness center for yoga, Pilates, and Tai Chi classes. There are also specialized centers you can find with a simple Google search. Alternatively, if you would like to increase balance and flexibility in your own home, check out the following online resources:
NOTE: Stay Safe while Exercising
Remember, we are looking for health benefits! Begin exercise slowly, especially if you are new. Be mindful of your pain and exhaustion levels, and do not overdo it. Be sure to seek help if you:
What are some exercise routines you do daily? How has it benefited your life? Share with the community!