There are plenty of advantages for older adults who start and maintain an exercise program. You can decrease your risk for conditions like coronary artery disease and cancer. You can better manage conditions like diabetes, depression, autoimmune disorders and arthritis. Plus, exercise is a great way to build the immune system.
Looking for a way to stay motivated to start or maintain your exercise program and fitness as you age? These insights can help. Before staring any exercise regiments, please consult a physician.
Exercise Benefits Are a Great Motivator
Thinking about all the good a regular exercise program can deliver is a great motivator to stay active as you age. Consider this: Age-related muscle loss can begin as early as age 30. That muscle loss can lead to decreased mobility and lack of flexibility. Regular exercise can help prevent or slow that deterioration. It can also improve core strength, balance and coordination, which help prevent falls and disabling injuries related to falls.
Wish you could get a better night’s sleep? Sleep disorders and interrupted sleep can be common as we age. But data shows that regular exercise frequently leads to longer, better quality sleep.
How to Start an Exercise Routine Later in Life
If you want to begin an exercise program, start by consulting your doctor. Consulting your doctor is particularly important if you haven’t been very active or have heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure or arthritis. Your doctor can help guide you in selecting the exercise program that fits your need and keeps you safe.
Once you get the all-clear to begin a program, aim to get 30 minutes of aerobic exercise most days each week and incorporate strength training twice each week. Before any activity, remember to warm up and stretch slowly. You will improve circulation and take good care of your muscle and joints. Similarly, do the same stretching after exercise to cool down to keep muscle loose and reduce the potential for post-workout aches.
How to Develop an Exercise Program That’s Right for You
Looking for an exercise program that will keep you motivated and increase your strength and flexibility? Here are some resources you can try:
- Go4Life: Go4Life from the National Institute on Aging offers quick online tools, tips and free resources to help you start and maintain an exercise program.
- Get Moving: Get Moving from AARP offers a free package of 20-plus fitness videos to help you get started on indoor workouts and exercises.
- SilverSneakers: SilverSneakers is a national membership program included with many Medicare plans that provides seniors with discounted gym access and fitness programs.
- Eldergym®: The Eldergym website shares senior-focused fitness resources ranging from helpful articles to DVDs and ebooks.
- Exercise Plan for Seniors: Exercise Plan for Seniors website offers a weekly exercise schedule plus demonstrations of stretching, strength and balancing routines to try.
The Buddy Program is a Key to Success
Rather than going it alone, try finding some buddies to include in your exercise routine. Data shows that walking, stretching, or doing strength or aerobic training with a friend not only keeps you accountable but increases the amount and intensity of the physical activity you do. The benefits are achieved if you work with a buddy in person or virtually.
At our Embark communities, we offer a variety of daily activities to help our residents stay active. Find an Embark community near you to learn more.