Finding the time and energy to exercise can be a struggle for any adult. But it can be a special challenge for older adults (or people over age 50) who may have health conditions that limit the time and energy that they can devote to physical activity.
But there are a number of ways for older adults to maximize their energy and find the time needed to get the kind of exercise that will help them feel better, both mentally and physically. Here are some useful tips for older adults interested in becoming or remaining physical active in their golden years…
Don’t Let Afternoon Fatigue Get You Down
Many older adults find time to exercise in the late afternoon, and that makes sense. After all, this is before dinner and after work and school have ended for the day. Unfortunately, this is also a time of day when energy levels can be running low.
To keep yourself from slowing down at this time, try drinking lots of water. Staying hydrated can give your energy levels a boost and help you power through a work out. If that’s not enough, eat something healthy, like a piece of fruit or a vegetable.
Don’t Forget to Exercise Your Brain
Getting a good work out in isn’t just about taking care of your body. It also requires concentration and mental energy. That means keeping your mind in tip-top shape.
To keep your mind working effectively, try word games–like crossword puzzles–or play board games like Scrabble or Clue. You might also consider giving video games a try. They’re not just for kids any more.
Get Out for a Walk
Walking won’t burn the calories that a run or cycle will, but it’s a safe way to keep your body feeling fit and healthy. Trouble is, many older adults may feel pain or discomfort when walking long distances.
To help with this, try walking poles. These simple devices can help provide balanced mobility and are less obtrusive when compared to walkers or canes. Walking poles can also improve upper body strength and can help maximize cardiovascular endurance. (Here are some more Tips For a Better Walking Workout).
There’s a reason so many people go to the gym with a buddy. Working out with a friend makes going to the gym or outside for a walk a social activity, which can take attention away from the activity and make it more enjoyable.
It may also be a good idea to buddy up when heading out to eat. Having someone else who’s watching their diet eat with you can offer a great incentive for ordering something a little healthier from the menu.
Don’t Get Stuck in a Routine
You know what kills many workout goals? Doing the same old routine over and over and over. That makes exercise a big old bore and can make getting exercise harder and harder to do.
That’s why it’s important to change things up on a regular basis. Swap in new weight-lifting exercises. Try visiting a new place on your walk or run. The same goes for your diet. Don’t eat the same thing every day. Changing things up can keep you, your diet, and your exercise routine feeling fresh.
Get the Right Support
Many people give up on their physical activity because of pain in their feet, ankles, or legs. That’s understandable as lousy footwear can increase discomfort in these areas and can become particularly uncomfortable with more intense exercises.
That’s why it’s so important to buy shoes that match your activity. Running a lot? Get running shoes. Doing a wide range of activities? Try a cross trainer. Whatever you’re up to, make sure your shoes are helping (rather than hindering) your routine.
Getting in shape and feeling good during your golden years is about more than just eating right and burning calories. There are a number of exercises that can improve your balance and flexibility.
Tai chi and yoga are excellent ways to build your strength in unique areas and increase your balance. This can help prevent falls and build your overall endurance. Importantly, these activities can make other exercises–like walking, biking or running–easier to do.
Dance it Up
The best exercises are those that don’t feel like exercise at all. In other words, the best workouts come from physical activity that’s so fun, we hardly realize we’re doing something that’s great for our mind and body.
That’s why dancing is such an excellent physical activity. When paired with music, it can be an uplifting and beneficial physical and cerebral activity that can help burn calories and fat. So, don’t sit on the sidelines. Get in there and dance like there’s no tomorrow.