There are few factors that will have a greater impact on your quality of life as you age than your exercise routine. Maintaining an active lifestyle is important not only to the end of living longer but to living a life of mobility, independence and fun. The key, however, is to develop a balanced exercise routine now.
Take the Plunge
Don’t be intimidated by exercise. The sooner you get started, the sooner you can start to enjoy its benefits. Not only will you improve your health prospects, but you’ll feel and look better too. So don’t hesitate to get moving. It’s never too late to start but it’s also never too early to begin improving your long-term health prospects.
In fact, says Health Guide.org, exercise becomes increasingly important as you age. For adults over 50, a balanced exercise regimen is critical to reducing the risk of obesity, stroke or heart attack.
It’s also an important preventative measure against diminishing range of motion, dexterity and balance. These conditions make older adults susceptible to falls and other accidents that can inflict major injury. Ace Fitness warns that between 35% and 45% of adults over 65 will likely suffer a fall over the course of every year. But regular exercise will reduce your risk by strengthening the muscles in your legs and giving you a better ability to restore balance before a catastrophic fall.
Find Your Comfort Level
Getting started is the hardest part. If you don’t have much experience with exercise or if you feel hobbled by age, illness or injury, the whole idea of getting into a regular routine may seem daunting. But the truth is, the same factors that are keeping you out of the gym are the very reasons you absolutely must develop a routine.
These factors place you at the greatest health risks for a sedentary lifestyle. Instead of fearing exercise, find a way to do it that is compatible with your limitations. You don’t have to compete in an Olympic triathlon to improve your health. Even a low impact workout routine is better than nothing.
In fact, points out a recent article from the Houston Chronicle, basic, low-intensity cardio exercises can help to reduce the impact of aging by improving the flow of oxygen to the bloodstream and facilitating healthy metabolic function.
Once you get started, you should look to develop a workout routine that engages the whole body. Medline Plus identifies four main activity types that you should try to incorporate into your exercise strategy:
- Endurance exercises that raise the heart rate, such as brisk walking, dancing, swimming or biking.
- Strength training for muscle development and growth, such as weight lifting or resistance training.
- Balance exercises aimed at recovery improvement and fall prevention.
- Flexibility exercises centered on muscle stretching, such as yoga or calisthenics.
Find ways to incorporate each of these elements into your workout routine over the course of every week.
Your body is constantly changing. Your exercise routine should change with it. Change your routine up every few weeks or months to keep things interesting. Be aware of your body’s limitations but don’t be afraid to push yourself for improvement.
Remain positive and committed to your routine and you will be rewarded with a longer and healthier life.