It’s Healthy Aging Month, which serves as a great reminder to start getting more active. The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services says that adults can gain substantial health benefits through moderate aerobic physical activity. They recommend two and a half hours of exercise per week for adults – that’s only around 20 minutes per day, which makes it easy to fit it into your schedule.
Regular exercise is important for everyone, but especially for seniors who want to combat their risk of disease or loss of mobility. As long as your doctor clears you fit for exercise, try to embrace it, since becoming more physically active can help you stay healthy as well as gain strength and endurance. Don’t be frightened—getting into a fitness routine doesn’t have to be scary or hard! Check out our ideas for easy ways to add more physical activity into your daily life.
• Get your walk on. Aim to walk at least 30 minutes a day. Walking is a gentle, low-impact exercise. It’s safe, simple and doesn’t require practice. And according to the Mayo Clinic, the health benefits are many, including potentially lowering your blood pressure, reducing your risk of type 2 diabetes, helping you manage your weight, and even improving your mood.
• Step it up. You already walk around every day—now focus on creating more opportunities to fit in steps! Park your car several blocks away from your destination or, if you take public transportation, get off a few stops earlier than your usual stop.
• Be a social butterfly. Get one of your friends to join you in a fitness-related activity. Adding a social aspect to your fitness can help you stay motivated and on track with your goals. Set up a walking schedule with a friend, or join a fitness class together, like Pilates or yoga. Check with your local senior center or community center; they may offer free or low-cost fitness classes or walking groups.
• Stretch it out. You don’t have to move too far from where you’re sitting to fit in some fitness—you can do some stretching exercises at your chair. Stretching can help you burn calories, improve circulation and reduce stress. By stretching regularly, it helps you relax, strengthen specific muscles and even get your heart rate up.
• Clean up your routine. Turn housework into an exercise routine. Sweeping, mopping and vacuuming can be a great aerobic workout. You can even burn calories doing laundry, cleaning out your kitchen cabinets, or washing the walls of your shower!
Still unsure about how to add more physical activity into your daily life? If you have access to a Wellness Coach through a service like Health Advocate, call your coach to discuss your fitness needs. You can also talk to your primary care physician about what might be the best form of physical exercise for you. Remember, don’t start any exercise program before talking to your doctor and getting the all-clear!