Staying healthy is important to people of all ages, but it’s paramount for those entering their golden years (age 65 and over). Exercise and maintaining a good diet offer essential benefits including strengthening the immune system, providing more energy, improving mood, and preventing disease.
Exercising also quickens your reflexes, keeps you agile, and promotes optimum brain health. This can keep you from falling, stave off forgetfulness and dementia, and improve your overall quality of life. Other benefits of exercise include:
Help with weight loss
Obesity is detrimental to good health, especially as people get older. It can increase the risk of developing type 2 diabetes, arthritis, and even depression.Losing weight can help you avoid many serious health problems if you’re overweight or obese. Check out some of the best exercises to lose weightand be sure to consult your doctor before following any weight loss program.
Improve balance and flexibility
Training your balance and flexibility is key to avoiding muscle injuries as you age. It will not only help you perform better at your usual activities, such as cleaning, gardening, and driving, but it will also minimize your risk of falling.
You may find that your sleep becomes more restless as you get older, and getting adequate activity throughout the day will help you sleep better at night. This becomes increasingly important with age as many people develop depression or take medications with side effects that deter good rest.
It will take several months of consistent activity for you to begin seeing real progress. The key is to understand the health benefits of being fit, and to keep them in mind as you continue your fitness journey. Here are six of the best fitness tips for maintaining a healthy, happy body in your golden years:
1. Find an activity you really enjoy
The key to staying fit at any stage of life is to find an activity you actually feel excited about. Consider trying yoga, tai chi, water aerobics, jogging, or any other fun sport. You’ll want to find an enjoyable activity of at least moderate intensity to get the full benefits of exercise. People with disabilities can also engage in many fitness activities including wheelchair sports, yoga, and chair aerobics.
2. Eat healthy foods
You’re allowed to have a cheat day one or two times a week, but try to stick to a healthy diet full of whole foods and nutrient-rich juices and shakes the other five or six days. When you eat foods that make you feel slow, tired, and uncomfortable, you make getting adequate exercise even more challenging for yourself.
3. Strength train twice a week
The CDC and WHO advise seniors to engage in strength training exercises at least twice a week. Strength training helps prevent the loss of bone mass in addition to building and maintaining muscle. These exercises can include anything from lifting weights to body weight exercises to yoga.
4. Stretch every morning and before and after exercise
Stretching is a very important part of every healthy senior’s daily routine. It prevents muscle injuries and makes regular activities less of a strain. It also helps with stiff muscles and can relieve a lot of pain associated with them.
5. Get some help
Contact your doctor before beginning any new exercises, and consider hiring a nutritionist and a personal trainer. Support is one of the most important things to have when starting anything new, and the more professional support you have, the better.
6. Take up hobbies that require you to move
These are the perfect years of your life to try new things and take up a lot of different hobbies. Try to choose at least a few hobbies that make you get active such as gardening, biking, boating, and hiking. This will help you reach your fitness goals faster and support your efforts to stay in shape.
It’s never too late to get fit, so get started and keep up the good work. Eating plenty of whole foods such as fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, will have a powerful impact on your progress. Be sure to speak with your doctor as soon as possible about your fitness plans.
Bio: Susan Beth is a freelance writer with http://weightlosstips.com.au/. When she’s not writing, she enjoys outdoorsy activities, helping others, and stealing a few extras moments of sleep.