There are a number of misconceptions and myths out there about exercising as you get older. Although some physical limitations may inevitably arrive with aging, having a well-designed fitness plan is key to maintain a strong and healthy body and mind (including your memory), as well as to delay some normal symptoms that may come as you grow older.
Health problems, back pain, or simply a lack of energy are just a few of the reasons why going for a walk or a swim may sound unappealing to you. Maybe you just feel like exercising just isn't for you. Here's the thing, as you get older, physical activity takes a major role in your well-being and it is known to be the number one factor for longevity.
An active lifestyle can allow you to add more than just quality years to your beautiful life, it can help you add unforgettable memories, amazing experiences, and new goal settings!
Physical & Mental Benefits of an Active Lifestyle
Keeps you strong and healthy: exercising regularly is a great way to keep your muscles and bones strong and healthy. Physical activity may also help to flush out bacteria from the lungs and airways reducing the chances of getting a cold, flu, or other illness.
Promotes flexibility, balance, and mobility: doing some activities such as yoga, tai chi, pilates, or even stretching exercises, are great ways to foster flexibility, balance, and mobility, by improving the ability of the joints to maintain movement necessary for carrying out your daily tasks.
Drives away body pains: exercise can improve our pain threshold. Developing a strong core is also a great way to improve your posture, helping with discomforts such as back and neck pain.
Helps you with weight goals: physical activity can increase metabolism, making your body an even more efficient calorie-burning machine to help you lose weight. Exercise is also a great way to gain and maintain lean body mass if what you need is to add up some healthy weight.
Improves sleep: regular exercise can contribute to better quality sleep. It is known that physical activity increases deep-sleep time. Deep-sleep is the most restorative time of sleep. Exercise can also help with insomnia and other sleep disorders.
Reduces chronic disease & illness impact: a well-rounded fitness plan can improve your health when it comes to many chronic diseases such as diabetes, asthma, heart disease, or joint and back pain.
Boosts your mood: physical activity is a great option to decrease stress and anxiety levels in your brain. It also promotes the release of endorphins which trigger a positive feeling in the body, relieving pain and even warding off feelings of depression.
Keeps your brain healthy: Studies have shown that simple cardio and aerobic exercises can have a major impact on your brain, helping specifically the two areas in your brain most susceptible to neurodegenerative diseases and cognitive decline in aging (hippocampus and prefrontal cortex) to grow and get stronger.
Balanced Fitness Plan
Regardless of any specific goals you want to achieve with your fitness plan, it is important to throw in a great mix of exercises throughout your weekly routine to make sure you're stimulating your body in different ways.
Strength & Power Exercise: helps you build up muscle and strength through repetitive motions with the use of weights or external resistance from body weight, resistance bands, machines, and many others.
Cardio & Aerobic Exercise: it keeps your heart rate up, making your blood pump faster and delivering more oxygen to your body, keeping your heart and lungs healthy. Running, swimming, cycling, skipping rope, and many other aerobic movements can bring you the benefits of cardio training.
Flexibility & Balance Exercise: it challenges and improves the ability of your joints to move freely and painlessly. Apart from stretching exercises, some practices such as yoga and tai chi are great options to develop balance and flexibility.
Before starting on a new fitness journey it is important to be aware of the state you are in so that you can safely begin to work your way through a good fitting fitness program.
Get medical clearance: Make sure you go get a medical clearance test with your doctor before starting your new exercise program. If there is anything you think you should avoid or you're not sure about it, ask your doctor about it and take note.
Adapt your fitness plan to your ongoing health: Your health condition may affect the way you plan out your workouts. Make sure you schedule and plan them according to your specific health needs, and eating/medication timetable.
Listen to your body: Working out is not meant to hurt you. Muscle burn, sweat, and faster heart rate are perfectly normal when exercising, but watch out for any pains, chest pressure or pain, dizziness, as these may be signs for you to immediately stop. Call your doctor and seek medical assistance if you experience any of these.
Commit yourself to a regularly scheduled exercise routine: Schedule at least 3 days a week of exercise so you start to build a healthy habit! Make sure you don't miss any session unless your doctor recommends differently or you are not feeling well.
Warm-up & cool down to prevent injuries: Warming up before any workout routine is crucial for your muscles and joints to be well prepared and ready, minimizing your chances of getting injured or hurt. Cooling down and stretching after your workouts is just as important as the warm-up, so make sure you dedicate it at least 10 minutes.
Starting maybe a little hard, but staying motivated to keep going can be even harder. Don't let lack of motivation keep you from your healthy lifestyle. These are a few tips you can use to stay motivated and excited about your fitness program!
Invite someone to exercise with you: everything is always more fun with a partner!
Take a weekly fitness class: committing to a dance or yoga class with other people is great to push you harder to go out and exercise. Plus, you'll definitely make new friends and have some laughs!
Set short-term achievable goals: It's good to have a BIG goal to look forward to, but make sure you also set some short-term objectives on the way to keep you motivated and on track!
Keep an eye on your progress: keep a log on your progress. No matter how small it is, being able to measure it will put everything into perspective and push you harder toward your goals! Remember: progress is success!
Celebrate your achievements: compliment yourself for what you achieve along the way!