Staying active as a teenager and young adult is never an issue, but as we age, it can be a challenge to keep moving, especially if you suffer from a health condition or injury. However, it’s important to keep yourself moving as it can lead to a host of physical and mental health benefits. Follow these three tips to stay active no matter what your age or fitness level.
The first step is to get moving. And it’s never too late to get started. A regular exercise routine can help you to relieve stress, reduce pain, improve your sleep quality, and lower your risk of chronic disease and injury, just to name a few of the benefits.
If you haven’t been active in a while, it can be overwhelming to even think about beginning a fitness routine. You may be wondering exactly how to get started. The key is to simply get moving. Start slowing with a short walk and gradually extend the distance to a level you are comfortable with. I always tell my clients to walk their dog (even if they don’t have one). If you have significant health concerns, talk to your doctor about what kinds of exercises will work best for you given your current activity level.
Do Something You Love
Once you have made the decision to get moving, the second tip is to find something you love to do and do it! Joyful movement is the easiest way to motivate yourself to keep going. Whether it’s talking, yoga, Pilates, tai chi, swimming, water aerobics, biking or light weight training, if you love to do it then you will be much more likely to develop a routine and stick to it. If you aren’t sure what to do, then try a variety of activities and see which one fits you best, just make sure it is something you really enjoy doing so you will be more motivated to do it.
Once you find the thing you love to do, aim for 150 minutes a week of moderate to intense aerobic activity. This is what experts recommend and don’t be afraid to start slowly and build up to this. Make sure to let your doctor know if you have shortness of breath, pain, or other issues as you increase your activity level.
Experts also recommend mixing in some muscle strengthening activities a couple of times a week as well. And it doesn’t have to be complicated, you can use books or cans of food as weights. Exercises like this, even if done while sitting down, can help you improve your strength and balance. Mixing up your activities can help you keep from getting bored with your routine.
And once you feel more comfortable and increase your fitness level, try something new and adventurous like taking dance lessons, tennis or golf lessons, or even incorporate yard work or minor home improvements to your routine. As you begin to regularly move, you will be amazed at the things you can do that you couldn’t do before.
Find an Exercise Buddy
And the third tip to staying active is to get a buddy to take this new movement journey with you. If someone is counting on you and holding you accountable, you are much more likely to stick to your routine. And let’s be honest, everything is more fun with a friend.
You can make your fitness routine a social one by starting a walking group through your neighborhood. Or get a group of friends to take water aerobics or tai chi lessons with you. Ballroom and salsa dancing lessons are always more fun with a partner.
Consistent exercise, strength training with a bit of cardio to increase the heart rate, combined with healthy dietary choices, and regular acupressure and self care can help you stay active safely and improve your quality of life as you age. It’s never too late to start so get moving!