Each year, we get a little older. And as you know, the passing years are associated with all kinds of health-related declines, many of which increase pain as well. The good news is this: with the following strategies, you can be healthier, happier and more independent, now and in the years ahead.
1. Get Strong.
Many people are so focused on cardiovascular exercise that they fail to make time for strength training. If you are over 30, strength training is one of the best things you can do to help you look and feel young.
Building muscle increases your metabolism and reduces your risk of injury. All you need is 30 minutes of strength exercises, twice a week – so schedule it in your calendar today.
2. Walk Everywhere.
Increasing the number of steps you take on a daily basis can dramatically impact your overall health. As you gradually add steps, you may not even realize what’s causing you to lose weight, sleep better and feel great.
Schedule fun activities that include a lot of walking: go to a botanical garden or just stroll through your neighborhood to spend time with a friend. And be sure to find ways to increase your steps both at work and at home.
3. Be Flexible.
Stretching as little as five to 10 minutes a day can help you feel so much better and help prevent back, neck and joint pain.
Staying flexible also helps you age gracefully by allowing you to continue doing the activities you love while helping you feel better overall.
4. Stay Balanced.
As kids, we played hopscotch, walked on narrow ledges, rode bicycles and did lots of other things that improved our balance. It’s important to keep your balance, not just to prevent falls as a senior, but at any age – for posture, sports ability and everyday tasks.
Most gyms offer lots of equipment for balance, from stability balls to balance boards to the BOSU, an inflatable dome designed for balance training. Or do at-home exercises (carefully!) with your legs closer together or even on one leg. And a yoga class will almost always include balance poses.
5. Get Wet.
Whether you love to swim or take water aerobics classes, one thing is for sure: your body will thank you for it! The buoyancy of the water takes pressure off sore joints and allows you to move freely without pain.
Better still, it’s a double-duty workout: you can do both cardiovascular and strength training exercises in the water. So slather on your sunscreen and jump in!
6. Take Dance Lessons.
Dancing is great exercise for both your body and your mind. When you learn new styles of dancing, your brain has to work really hard to remember the steps. Best of all, it’s so much fun that it doesn’t even feel like exercise. So tango the night (and some excess pounds) away.
7. Always Listen to Your Body.
As you get older, certain activities just aren’t as easy as they used to be. When you’re young, you can burst into a sprint to chase your brother down with no issues. Doing the same thing 45 years later could cause a serious injury!
So whatever your chosen activity, please listen to your body – the aches and pains are warning signs to slow down and pay attention.
The days of older people sitting in rocking chairs and knitting the day away are over. Getting and staying active improves both mental and physical health. So make activity a daily part of your life and reap all the great benefits associated with it.
Age Well and Be Happy!
Originally Published in the GO! Newsletter (GlobalFit)