The benefits of exercise in your later years

The benefits of exercise in your later years

Courtesy of Fitness Expo, Northshore LIVING WELL Magazine

When most people hear the word fitness, they wince with the thought of hard work and unpleasant exercises that leave the wind knocked out of them. However, living an active life is actually a lot easier than you’d think. If you ease into it slowly, the benefits will have you wondering why you didn’t do it sooner.

Here’s why staying fit is easy and well worth it!

Why Exercise?

Most seniors feel that because they haven’t exercised in a long period of time, what is the point in starting now?

Exercise makes the body work more efficiently. It improves digestion, increases muscle and bone strength, and lowers blood pressure. These all are linked to living longer, and who doesn’t want that? Also, keeping active improves balance, which can aid in fall prevention and mobility. After a great workout, you’ll sleep like a baby and a good night’s sleep is a fundamental part of good health.

The differences that you will notice will be abundant in all aspects of your day-to-day living. Housecleaning won’t leave you breathless, and the exhaustion previously felt after lifting groceries or yard work will be non-existent. Adding stretching will also enable your body to prevent neck and back injuries from everyday activities such as bending down or turning your head too fast.

How to get started

There are a few easy ways to get started that won’t have you thinking that you’re exercising!

1) Walk with friends and share great stories and laughs

You can easily have a chat with a friend for 30 minutes without even noticing how far you’ve walked. The time will fly by while you get heart-healthy.

2) Try something new

Perhaps you’ve always wanted to try square dancing or golf. Now is the time to put your self out there and get started in a new routine. Your brain will be focused on learning new skills and you won’t be focusing on how many calories are being burned.

3) Start a cooking group

Get together with a group of friends to share nutritious meals and recipes. Along with great company, you’ll have a support system of people who understand your new commitment to health.

4) Safety First

It is very important with any change in lifestyle to make sure it is safe for you. First, get clearance from your doctor that any pre-existing conditions will not endanger you in exercise. Everyone is different and what is right for some people is not right for others. Remember that working out shouldn’t hurt, so if it feels uncomfortable, either adjust the exercise or stop. Also, recognize the signs that your body is in danger. If you experience chest pain, difficulty breathing or any other pains, seek medical attention immediately.

Anyone can build 20 to 30 minutes of exercise into his or her day. You may need to ease into it, but after awhile, your body will adjust and it will become second nature. The rewards that you will feel will provide you with the ability to take part in the fun things in life!

Please note: Your doctor is the number one authority when it comes to your health. Seek medical advice before starting a new fitness program.