At every age, it makes a huge difference in how you feel and move. Exercise helps you keep a healthy weight, lowers your blood pressure and cholesterol, helps build stronger bones, avoiding and or improving osteoporosis and even brightens your mood.
Inside and out, you win when you're active, no matter how old you are. But it doesn't always feel like that, especially if you've been on the sidelines for a while. Not moving is much riskier and can speed up the aging process. Studies have shown that inactive people are twice as likely to develop heart disease, and they also have more doctor visits and take more medications.
First, talk to your doctor before beginning an exercise program. They can tell you which activities to try and which ones to avoid.
If you haven’t exercised in a long time, begin slowly with a low-impact aerobic activity that raises your heart rate, such as swimming, walking or liquid cardio.
The American Heart Association recommends 30 minutes of aerobic activity 5 days per week, and 2 days per week of strength training. If a half-hour a day sounds daunting, think small. Even a 10-minute walk is a good start.
Remember, the more physically fit you are, the less likely you are to get injured. Improving your balance by doing things like yoga and Pilates may also help you avoid falls in your everyday life. So will strength training, which you can do with hand-held weights, machines even your own body weight like pushups and lunges.
If you are new to exercise or just starting back up, I recommend working with a trainer who can show you exactly what to do. That way, you'll stay safe.
I thoroughly enjoy training my 80 year old couple Lou and Anynur. I meet with them once per week, they also work out on their own two more times per week. Their fitness and strength levels rival any of the younger clients I train. If you ask them how they stay so fit they will say consistency, having a trainer and working out together. Lou always likes to say age is just a number.
My typical workout with them begins on the bike for 15 minutes, we then do some mobility exercises using the TRX suspension trainer, moving onto free weights, machine weights, balance training and body weight training finishing with stretching. I have seen a huge difference in their gait, balance and strength over the years.
How you age and celebrate future birthdays — as the life of the party or immobilized on the sidelines has a lot to do with how we take care of ourselves both physically and mentally.
Although none of us can be certain that we'll be spared debilitating disorders that could rob us of our mobility, there's no doubt that regular exercise will us thrive instead of just survive.