You’re Never Too Old To Exercise

The number one reason for exercising as you get older? It helps you live longer. It also improves the quality of your life by warding off threats to your health and vitality, such as heart disease and diabetes, and mishaps such as falls.

You don’t have to train like a professional athlete or spend hours in the gym every day to reap the benefits of exercise. Movement is the key; 30 minutes a day will get the job done. The idea is to do something you enjoy and to stay motivated.

Regarding motivation, it helps to make a list of the benefits you hope to achieve through regular exercise. More often than not, it’s a health problem that gets people moving. They’ve decided (with some prodding) that exercise could help manage their condition.

An effective exercise program will help you reduce stress and improve your stamina. Those can go on your list, not to mention the improvement in your appearance. And how about the idea of shopping for clothes in smaller sizes?

Exercise can restore your social life as well as your muscles. Exercising with a friend or in an exercise class will help you get back in touch. As you regain your self-esteem (another benefit of regular exercise), social contact will become both easier and more attractive.

The right sort of physical activity (more on that later) can do wonders. It can improve your strength and fitness, improve your balance, and increase your agility. All of which will make your daily activities easier to perform.

Exercise can also improve your mood, and lessen feelings of depression and anxiety. You may find that you think more clearly and have fewer aches and pains. Both are benefits of lowered depression and anxiety levels.

Before you sign up for anything, you should be aware of the various exercise categories and their particular benefits. There are four of them, and they often overlap.


Aerobic Exercises

These activities increase your breathing level and heart rate, benefiting your heart, lungs and blood vessels. Activities such as brisk walking, jogging, and swimming, along with sports such as tennis and basketball fall into this category. Dancing, yard work and vacuuming also fit the bill.


Strengthening Exercises

You’re never too old to increase your strength. Stronger muscles will help you climb stairs, carry groceries, and hold your grandchild in your arms. Weight lifting and resistance exercises help to build muscle mass, as will digging in the garden or carrying a heavy load of laundry.


Balance Exercises

Exercise improves balance. This is a good thing because, as we get older, nothing is scarier than a fall. Balance exercises such as standing on one foot, walking up and down stairs, or practicing tai chi, can improve balance.

Many strengthening exercises, especially those which target muscles in the legs, hips, and lower back, are also effective. Balance exercises should be done carefully and, when in doubt, with assistance. No sense in tempting fate.


Stretching Exercises

Just as we can always get stronger, we can also improve our flexibility. Here’s where the phrase, ‘use it or lose it’, carries the most weight. Reach, bend over, stretch, practice yoga or the aforementioned tai chi, and stick to the daily activities that keep you limber, such as making the bed or tying your shoes.


Proceed With Caution

The right exercise program can improve your health, increase your mobility, and make you feel younger. But it’s not something older adults should just dive into, especially after years of inactivity. Run your plans by your doctor, and consider engaging in supervised activities to start out.