Exercise can be viewed as a chore by some, with bad memories from school, years ago, being forced out on cross country runs or that dreaded gymnastics lesson, but it doesn’t have to be a negative event, or something worth dreading. It would be hard to ignore the increased media in recent years, encouraging exercise and highlighting the importance of including it into your lifestyle. Exercise is not only for those people looking for the aesthetic look this summer, it has fantastic influence on your health, both physically and mentally. It is important for longevity and ability to carry out everyday tasks, with confidence and ease as we get older, maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
Exercise can be a daunting thing at any age, but it is vital as we get older.
Research has shown that as we age, the body goes through several biological changes and we can lose muscle mass, which in turn reduces strength and eventually can lead to loss of independence, increased chances of falls, injures etc. Not only would exercise help to regain independence, reduce risks of falls as we get older, recent studies have also found that doing moderate exercise a few times a week will keep the mind sharp.
We know from this, the importance of exercise, but how do we get started? Do you need to join a gym and attend 3+ classes a week to get fit?
The best way to start changing your lifestyle and implementing exercise into your daily routine is all about making small adaptations day to day. The first thing to do is to ensure we just keep moving, you don’t need to start lifting and grunting heavy weights. Finding something you enjoy will mean that you are likely to continue.
You may have heard of getting your 10,000 steps in. Decide to take a walk to the shop to get your daily paper, or weekly groceries instead of driving or getting the bus. Walking briskly can help to improve your stamina, burns calories and helps with heart health. Walking has also shown to contribute to the improvement on mental health, so why not make that your starting point. This is a great way to ensure that you are moving each day. To keep track you can get yourself a pedometer or slightly more high-tech, a Fitbit or fitness watch. This will keep you accountable and let you track your daily steps with ease along with many other great features.
Not sure if you are working hard enough? Can you still talk… sing a song? When going for your walk if you can still talk but can’t hold a tune, then you are working at a good level to begin with, to test your stamina and build your fitness.
Choosing the stairs every day is another daily change you can implement. As we get busier and into the habit, it becomes so easy to just jump into that lift or onto the escalator. Why not try taking that flight of stairs on occasion, raising that heart rate and increasing your heart health.
Not only is it important to train the heart and build stamina as we get older, it Is also important to keep our muscles strong and mobile to support us. Great things to do would be to include some core, flexibility work such as Pilates, yoga to your weekly routine. Not only will this help you stay strong, but it is a great social thing to do too. Classes are a great way of enjoying exercise.
The best way to ensure that exercise becomes part of your daily lifestyle is to set realistic goals, this way you have something to work toward and can easily track your progress and see accomplishments. Whether it be walking to the park with your grandchildren in record time, or taking a hiking holiday with your partner, having something to work toward will make those targets much more obtainable and ensure that you stay active. When setting your goals think SMART: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time bound – set a target date. This ensures that you can stay on track and feel accomplished when you can see yourself achieving.
Go on, change your outset today and let’s get moving towards a healthier life and future!