The Journal of the American Medical Association encourages older adults to keep active and remain fit to help prolong your life. Keeping active and fit can help prevent and delay illnesses or disabilities as you grow older.
Physical fitness is important throughout your life, and is just as important at older ages as younger. Being active has been shown to lower risks of falls. Fitness has been shown to lower risks to heart disease, diabetes, arthritis, and even promote longevity.
Most older adults may safely do exercises, fitness regimens, and physical activities while following guidelines by your doctor, a fitness trainer, or physical therapist. Get an evaluation on your overall fitness, and find out the best workout for you. Each of us is an individual, and your workout routine needs to fit your own needs, not those of someone else. Follow your fitness routine, and before you know it, you will increase your overall fitness level.
Regular physical activity can also improve mental function in older adults. We all know older adults with memory complaints. Look at a study published in 2008 to find the connection between overall fitness, an active lifestyle, and improved memory function.
Choose activities you enjoy. Just like when you were younger, if you don’t enjoy it, you won’t follow through and do it. Plan to make being fit a part of your everyday life. Simple routines at home can help you stay fit, limber, and active.
Play with children, they love it. Remember how they wore you out? Now it can be for fitness. Warning, don’t let them climb ALL over you.
Work on your garden. Do you enjoy weeding, digging, trimming, edging, planting, and pruning? Think how great your yard can look with a bit of activity each day. A little time spent in the sunshine each day loads your vitamin D level, and helps put a smile on your face.
Walking is a great way to stay fit at any age. Get some properly fitting shoes, and be off down the street. Walk at a pace most comfortable for you. Do you have a dog? Take him along. Find a friend to walk with, that is always an incentive to keep going. Plan a regular time and place to meet, and stick to it. Don’t be a distracted walker, keep your eyes and ears in front of and around you. You can talk on the cell phone or listen to music later. Be aware of traffic for your safety.
Dancing is a lot of fun. Sign up for a ballroom dance class. Have you tried Zumba? They have a level called Zumba Gold designed for the over 50 crowd. The steps are easier on your joints, and music may be more recognizable!
Housecleaning is always a workout. Don’t go for marathon cleaning sessions. Divide your house into 6 zones, and clean one zone a day for 15 minutes. Pick up, dust, reach for cobwebs, toss old socks, scrub the tub. You will feel better, and your house will look great.
Combine a range of activities that include aerobic activity, strengthening, flexibility, and balance. Start slowly, and gradually build up to a total of 30 minutes a day on most days. You can even do 5 minutes at a time, and try again later. The object is to measure your progress against yourself. Are you doing more this week than last? Do you feel better? Keep going and have fun.
Remember to dress for the weather, and drink water. Check with your health care professional before making any major change in your fitness routine. Be sure to inform them of any underlying conditions you have.