There are many reasons why we tend to exercise less, give up active hobbies, or slow down and become more sedentary as we age. It may be due to gaining weight, chronic pain, complicated health conditions, or even fear of failing. Sometimes it is just downright hard to get up and "Just Do It!" We often times say to ourselves, “I can’t do it like I used to so I am not going to do it at all.”
But as you grow older, having an active lifestyle is more important than ever to stay healthy. Regular exercise is good for your mind, mood, and memory. Getting a little bit of exercise in each day can help boost your energy, protect your heart, maintain your independence, and manage symptoms of illness or pain as well as your weight.
A few years ago, a Harvard health publications letter indicated that physical activity was the number one contributor to longevity, adding extra years to your life. But, more importantly, getting active is not just about adding years to your life, it’s about adding life to your years. Exercise can help you feel sharper, more energetic, and experience a greater sense of well-being.
No matter your age or your current physical condition, these simple exercises can show you simple, easy ways to become more active and improve your health and outlook.
1. 5-Minute Walk - A little bit of aerobic activity each day can help older adults burn off calories, lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels, maintain joint movement, improve heart health, and increase energy levels overall. Try starting with a 5-minute walk a few days a week to raise your heart rate. Then work towards eventually completing 30 minutes of aerobic activity on most days. Moderate endurance exercise for older adults might include walking briskly, tennis, and swimming.
2. Single leg stand - First, stand tall with your feet together. From here, if needed, hold onto something sturdy for balance (i.e. wall or counter), lift your right foot just off the floor so that you’re standing on your left foot. Engage your core in order to prevent yourself from leaning to one side. Try and hold this position for at least 30 seconds or as long as you can, then repeat on the opposite side. Complete this 2-3 times on each foot.
3. Farmer's walk - Stand tall with your feet hip-width apart and a very weight in each hand down by your sides, palms facing your body. Be sure to engage your core muscles. Begin to slowly walk forward in a straight line. Walk for 30 seconds or as long as you can, then repeat in the opposite direction.
These three exercises are a great place to start in trying to become more active as you age.
- Are you nervous about starting or sticking to a fitness program?
- Having trouble with parts of your fitness program?
- Having pain that is keeping you from your regular activities?
If "Yes" our physical therapists or occupational therapists CAN help!
If you have any questions about this or any other of our services, please contact your Therapy Specialists Team in your senior living community, or at one of our three outpatient clinics in San Diego.
Want to learn more? Check out some of our frequently asked question videos from patients to discover additional ways in which physical, occupational and speech therapy can help you as you age.