Oct 26, 2016
Getting Starting in a Senior Friendly Exercise Program
Dana Van Gorp
The most effective way to reduce your risk of chronic disease and premature death is to regularly engage in moderate to vigorous intensity physical activity. When activities such as brisk walking, cycling, swimming or cross-country skiing are performed for at least 150 minutes per week you will improve your mobility (ability to get around), independence, fitness level, body weight, bone and mental health!
So get moving today. Moderate-intensity physical activities will make you sweat and feel “out of breath”. Check with your doctor before beginning a new physical activity routine especially if you are not currently active. However, once you get the green light, try out a variety of different activities and safe exercise routines for seniors to find what works best for you.
We recently interviewed a group of seniors to find out what tips they had to motivate other older adults to become physically active. Here are their top 3 tips
-Find an exercise buddy or group
-Find an activity and/or instructor that you enjoy
-Make it a habit!
Once you have made the decision to begin a new physical activity program and discussed your plans with your physician, it’s time to figure out what you are going to do, how often and for how long.
A good activity to start with is walking. It is free and easy, it is also a functional activity (meaningful, improves mobility) that will help you maintain or improve your functional independence (ability to perform activities of daily living independently). If the weather is nice go outside and enjoy the sights and sounds around your neighbourhood with a short 5 or 10 minute walk. As you get fitter, gradually increase the time you spend walking so you can build up your endurance (ability to perform a physical activity over a longer period of time).
If the weather doesn’t cooperate one day, take a walk through your apartment building, around your home or the local shopping mall. Going up and down flights of stairs will be especially helpful in strengthening your large leg muscles and bones and raising your heart rate to that moderate to vigorous level. Another benefit to walking around your building is that you might inspire others to join you as you work to achieve your physical activity goals! You may become an exercise trend setter, recruiting fitness partners along the way!