You don’t have to find a gym or buy fancy equipment to start exercising regularly. As we age, physical activity becomes even more important for our health. There are so many amazing benefits to physical activity. It will increase your stamina and energy throughout the day, help with coordination and balance, and even prevent age-related health problems, like lowering your risk of falls or other accidents. Most importantly, regular physical activity can help older adults maintain their independence. Feeling stronger and more balanced keeps you doing the things you love without being tied down with doctor’s appointments, physical therapy, or pain.
“When we’re not moving, it gives our joints time to get really stiff,” said Tina Keasey, ATC/L, CSCS of TPMG Strive Fitness and Sports Performance. “Exercise acts as a sort of lubricant for our joints and can keep us active and enjoying the things we love,” she adds.
Like most adults, those 65 or older should have some sort of physical activity every day. This doesn’t mean you have to run on a treadmill for 30 minutes or lift weights, but it’s important to get your body moving. Exercise like going on walks and playing tennis or golf are great examples of daily activity. Try planning one activity each day dedicated to getting up and active.
For those who struggle to find time for activity, keep in mind that some physical activity is better than none. Try to move more days of the week than not. Find time to exercise four days a week that way the number of days you’re moving is more than the number of days you rest.
Get creative with your activities. Try planning your exercise for seasonal physical activity. For the summer months, swimming is a great option for a low-impact form of cardio, which is also beneficial for your joints. Make sure you include strength training at least two times a week. Strength and power are large components of physical activity that are often missed. Some strength exercises include medicine balls, bodyweight exercises, or maybe lifting a gallon of water. Strength training is important for bone health and balance and it’s also vital to senior health.
It’s important to understand your exercise limitations. As you age, your limitations can change and it is important to keep that in mind while you develop an exercise plan. Consider what your body has gone through in the past. Have you seen a chiropractor about your back? Did you have a knee replacement or surgery? Our health changes over time and our exercise plan should change with it. If you are unsure of your body’s capabilities, don’t hesitate to ask for help. Seek out guidance from a fitness trainer, your doctor, a chiropractor, or any other trusted professional.
Planning can also minimize your risk. If you’re biking or walking, make sure you choose a familiar path. Try to find areas that have flat terrain and wear your medical alert button, if you have one. There is also safety in numbers. Find an accountability buddy to exercise with who can react if something happens. Working out with others also ensures you stay on an exercise routine. Exercising in pairs not only keeps you accountable, but it also keeps you motivated to do your best.
“It’s never too late to start where you are at,” said Tina. Those in their 70s or 80s might think it is too late to start exercising, but research shows, no matter when you start, you can always find benefit in physical activity. If you’re interested in finding the right fitness plan for you, meet with one of TPMG’s athletic trainers today, and we will help you achieve your fitness goals.
About Tina Keasey, ATC/L, CSCS
Tina Keasey, ATC/L, CSCS is a licensed and certified athletic trainer with the National Athletic Trainers Association (NATA) and the Virginia Board of Medicine. She is also a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist through the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA). Throughout her career, she has worked with the 2001 Junior Olympics, 2003 Senior Olympics, several semi-professional soccer and basketball players, as well as NCAA track and field champions. She looks forward to helping clients at TPMG–Strive Fitness and Sports Performance find the right fitness routine to fit their lifestyle, as she believes it is an integral part of living your fullest life.