The key to staying healthy as you age? Regular exercise — it can boost your mood and energy levels, maintain a healthy weight, and even reduce common symptoms of aging. In fact, getting fit in older age has been proven to reduce risk of stroke by half, a study at Oslo University reveals. Whether you’re completely new to fitness, need to lose weight, or simply want to feel healthier overall, it’s never too late to get active. What exercise should you do? That depends on your individual fitness abilities and goals. However, a mix of cardio, strength training, and stretching each week is generally recommended. Focus on finding an activity you love and you’ll find it easy to keep doing it.
Creating an exercise routine
Choosing a well-rounded exercise routine will ensure you get the best results possible. Experts recommend a mix of cardio, strength training, and stretching each week. If you have pre-existing health conditions or concerns about exercising safely, always check with your doctor.
Cardiovascular activity – Aim for at least three 20-minute cardio sessions per week. Walking, jogging, tennis, dance are all great options to get your heart rate up. You may prefer low-impact exercises which place less stress on your joints, such as, swimming or cycling. These low-impact activities can even ease arthritis pain, if that’s a concern for you.
Strength training – Strength training maintains or builds muscle, which is crucial for staying strong and free from fracture or injury as you age. The easiest way to start strength training is with light free weights. Do some easy bicep curls and overhead presses, gradually increasing the reps as your strength improve.
Stretching – Stretching helps build flexibility, maintain balance, and protects your joints from injury. It’s important to always warm up with stretches before exercise, so it’s not a total shock to your body. Likewise, static stretches after a workout help cool your body down. In particular, beginner yoga stretches are safe and gentle on the body.
Sticking to your exercise routine
If you get bored of your routine, your more likely to stray from it. So, variety is key to staying motivated. You could take dance classes with a friend in the evening, join a local walking group on weekends, or try new exercise videos online in the morning before work.
Moreover, you should think of ways to incorporate fitness into your overall lifestyle. If your job’s largely sedentary, take a quick walk at lunch time — bring a coworker along for company! Take the stairs instead of the elevator. If you’re too busy to fit in a proper workout, just try to move your body in some way. Gardening, housework, washing the car, dog walking can get your heart rate up and count as exercise.
Finally, remember it’s never too late to get fit! It’s not uncommon for older people to put off exercising because they think it’s too late to make a difference. But, that’s not at all true! Physical exercise will strengthen the body, boost your mood, and improve your quality of life no matter your age.