Remember when exercise was all about “feeling the burn”? Jazzercize, cardio, stationery bicycling and zoomba? Today healthy living, especially for seniors, is also about movement. Walking 30 minutes a day 3x a week is exercise. Tai Chi looks like pushing air around, but is considered a top means of movement and exercise. Who knew?
As we age, the facts of energy levels, muscle loss and thinner bones dictate that just getting going is what’s important. The way to keep fit is by using those muscles, breathing deeply and maintaining balance.
What does wellness look like?
The picture of health may sound like a cliche with no real meaning, but true health has physical characteristics that are recognizable. A straight back, skin that glows, good teeth and eye sight, and a pleasant attitude all give the appearance of a healthy person. It’s possible such a person has a chronic condition, a cold coming on or is actually very healthy. But wellness is about more than physical appearance. Optimism, confidence and a sense of wellbeing plays a large part in being and feeling well.
Getting out there and doing the yoga or clocking yourself around the block takes a commitment and motivation. Those muscles won’t improve just by thinking about it. Lethargy can knock you down for the count. If you find yourself feeling bogged down, here are some encouragers to try.
- Partner with a friend. Set up a time and place to meet and set out together.
- Find before and after pictures of people who have followed a program and improved their looks, weight, stamina -or whatever the goal. Put the pictures on the fridge and picture you looking back.
- Set specific goals and write down rewards to give yourself when you achieve them. A purchase, a trip or a night out.
- Join a group. There’s encouragement in numbers. Everyone’s there for the same reasons, if for different goals.
Groups have leaders, teachers or trainers. They can advise you and help you stay motivated. There are many kinds of group exercise programs. Levels of workouts can help you start with something manageable and build those muscles gradually.
Groups also offer the opportunity to meet new people. Socializing is as important as exercise. Just the fact that you’re commited to a plan will put a smile on your face.
Attitude has to do with self esteem and the determination to live your best life. It’s about showng up. When you sign up for a class, join a gym, or find instructional videos to do at home, you put yourself in the driver’s seat.
Two birds with one stone
There are an abundance of activities that get your body moving and are also fun. Dancing, water aerobics, volley ball, golf, shuffle board, tennis, soft ball and pickle ball bring people out for a few hours of toning and sunshine. Indoor sports are available all year around.
Sticking to a program yields results. You can see the changes in your body and your sense of wellbeing. There’s an element of pride that you’re sticking to it, using those muscles and keeping lungs and heart in good shape. Ageing wlll take its toll regardless, but slowing the process and enjoying life at the same time is golden.
Don’t lose hope
Do I do all the things I recommend to you? Well, my workouts right now consist of walking and yoga at home. I just moved, so I’m learning where things and places are. My bicycle has a flat tire, my arm muscles are used to break down boxes, my legs go up and down stairs and my back is starting to complain.
For me, variety is the spice of life. Yoga for relaxation and balance, bicycling for strength and fresh air and the pool for overall endurance and socializing. Hanging out on my noodle does wonders for my attitude. This isn’t a pass/fail test. Push yourself a little, try something new and join one group. Your body will tell you if you need a little more. When you realize you can barely carry the groceries in from the car, listen to those voices!
Share your story
I’d love to hear from you. Pass along any tips, funny stories or plans that went awry.
To your health!