Our SeniorAve.com team is excited to welcome a new guest blogger, Roland. He is the Social Media Manager at DependOne, a leading provider in the Personal Medical Alert System industry. Take a look at part 2 of his post on aging healthy by staying fit.
Age Healthy By Staying Fit: Part 2
In Part 1 we discussed the many benefits of physical exercise. Benefits include healthier bones, joints, muscles and more importantly cardiovascular health benefits. One of the more common benefits that many people try to attain from exercise is weight loss. Although I did not touch on the subject of dieting in the previous post it is just as important for weight loss, and overall health as exercise is. Exercising on a regular basis is easier said than done so here are some tips and suggestions to help you become the healthiest person you have the potential to be.
Get Motivated & Stay Motivated
For many of us it is much easier to come up with reasons not to exercise rather than come up with reasons as to why we should. Some common excuses include:
- Feeling too tired
- Not having enough time
- Too many other important things to do
- Saying that exercising is boring
Now let’s shed some light and truths on those excuses. First off, when we exercise, our body releases “good-feeling hormones” called endorphins that give us energy. So if being too tired is an excuse, know that exercise can actually help get rid of tiredness and give you energy instead. Not having enough time is one of the most popular excuses but also one of the most poorly supported ones as well. According to the U.S. Government’s Bureau of Labor Statistics Time Use Survey the average American spends about 3 hours per day watching television. Even if you maintain that average, you could do simple exercises in your living room during commercial breaks and/or between shows. A great way to make exercising more entertaining is to do something you enjoy. Personally, I do not enjoy running on a treadmill because I think it is boring but I love playing basketball which is a great alternative to getting a similar cardio workout. Watching TV, listening to music, and working out with friends are some other great ways to make exercising more enjoyable and exciting. In fact, working out with friends or family helps you stay motivated and accountable to keep exercising on a regular basis.
Exercises & Routines
Now that we know the many benefits of exercising and ways to get motivated about working out let’s learn what exercises we should engage in along with the amount of time per week we should devote to them. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) recommend that for optimal health, older people should engage in four primary physical activities:
- Endurance Exercises
- Flexibility/Stretching Exercises
- Balance Exercises
- Strength Exercises
Endurance exercises can include simple things such as brisk walking, light jogging, walking on the elliptical, swimming, and biking outside or on a stationary bike. Some good stretching exercises include back, ankle, chest, shoulder, neck, thigh, hip, calf, lower back, and arm stretches. Yoga and Pilates implement great stretching routines that incorporate stretching of your entire body. Engaging in balance exercises helps your core but most of all strengthens your lower body. Popular balance exercises include back leg raises, walking heel to toe, hip extensions, side leg raises, and standing on one foot. Strength exercises are probably the most critical to the majority of people. Take extreme caution before beginning a strength exercise routine and consult with your physician before doing so. Easy and simple strength exercises include wrist & arm curls, back leg raises, elbow extensions, seated rows with resistance bands, and knee curls. According to the CDC adults need about 2 hours and 30 minutes of aerobic activity every week. The good news is that it can be broken down into increments of 10 minutes each spread over 7 days. Start out slow if you have to by making little changes such as taking the stairs at work instead of the elevator, raking leaves, or even walking your dog more often. Be creative and come up with unique ways you can stay active and improve your health.
Here is a little fact I found that is quoted directly from the NIH: “Being physically active on a regular basis is one of the healthiest things you can do for yourself.”