As you age, exercise and weight control become even more important to your health. These two things are one of the best barometers to your health. The main reason people give up on an exercise program is they choose the wrong program for their particular needs.
A program that is too ambitious will leave you feeling overwhelmed and possibly injured. If it’s not demanding enough, you won’t see results and feel it’s not worth your time. The thing to remember is, if you’re not dead, your body will respond.
It goes without saying that if you start a new exercise regimen, you should have your physician’s ok. After that, you have to decide if you want to go to a gym or workout at home. Working out at a gym can be great since many gyms offer personal trainers and will set you up with a regimen tailored for you. Also many gyms offer yoga, pilates, and other forms of mind-body exercise.
On the flip side, many people can’t find the time, or gas money, to regularly hit the gym. If time and/or money don’t allow, working out at home is also a good option. You’ll save the cost of traveling back and forth and, if your schedule is hectic, you can always grab a quick 15 minute workout by jumping on the equipment at 2 in the morning — if that’s convenient for you.
But why should you want to exercise? Primarily to live longer, but also to improve your quality of life. In order to make their later years more healthy and productive, many older Americans are adopting a lifestyle promoting total well-being, including eating a healthy diet, engaging in regular exercise, reducing stress, and improving mental health.
Study after study shows that exercise is key to living longer and reducing the impact of medical problems such as hypertension, diabetes, arthritis, and heart disease. Who wants to live longer only be a slave to drugs and medical procedures?
There are many sports and activities you can choose from in order to achieve your fitness goals. The best choices, however, will be those activities that you truly enjoy. It’s much easier to stay with something that’s fun to do.
Golf can be great exercise. It’s a low-impact sport that let’s you get plenty of fresh air and keeps you mentally alert as well. To get in shape for golf, walk 20 to 30 minutes a day, 3-4 times a week. Besides practicing your grip, remember to stretch and warm up your neck, shoulders, trunk, and legs when you get to the course.
Home gym’s don’t require an entire room. The key is to find a piece of equipment that can work multiple parts of your body and give you a good cardiovascular workout. There are many recumbent bikes and elliptical machines that have a small footprint and will do you a world of good.
Gardening is a green way to burn calories. Having a green thumb can burn a lot of calories due to the lifting, bending, and pulling involved in gardening. Just be sure that before you plant that first seed, try some general stretching exercises to prepare yourself. Be kind to your body and buy ergonomic gardening equipment that is easy on the joints. Use a stool to sit on otherwise you’ll aggravate your joints and back . Remember to stand up and stretch frequently to avoid becoming stiff.
This form of exercise goes by many names — aquacise, water jogging, aqua aerobics. Whatever you call water exercise, it’s a great way to burn calories without putting excessive stress on the joints. Often doctors or physical therapists will prescribe this type of activity for someone recovering from surgery. If you have access to a pool, this is a great way to get in shape. The water will take the pressure off your joints and you’ll burn lots of calories — not to mention it’s fun.
More than 10 million Americans jog so you’re in good company. During your first week, try 10-15 minutes at a slow pace. When you begin your program, stay away from hills. Flat surfaces will help you build up strength and endurance. Dirt paths and asphalt tracks are better than concrete. Grass may look inviting but hide rocks and other potential hazards.
Over the next several weeks, build up gradually to a 20-30-minute period, 3-4 times weekly, at a pace that is brisk but leaves you able to exercise and talk at the same time. Make sure you stretch well before and after exercise. The the calves and hamstrings especially need to be warmed up.