Did you find it easier to stay in shape when you were younger? Staying active may have seemed to come more naturally and you might have participated in a variety of activities, whether it was running a marathon, visiting the gym three days a week or swimming laps daily.
But staying active when you grow older is still possible. Although it’s true that it may take more of an effort on our part. But the advantages are well worth it to staying healthy.
The good news is that the answer is never.
The many benefits of fitness, both physically and psychologically, are far-reaching. Beyond improving balance, a lowered risk of falling and increased strength, it can also include an overall sense of well-being, decreased feelings of depression and provide us with more energy.
Without interference from our own efforts, the following is an outline of what happens to our bodies:
But this isn’t inevitable. In fact, you can stop, slow down or reverse much of the decline mentioned above. How? With strength training, high intensity interval training and changing up your exercise routine. These three actions can help you maintain muscle mass, stop the cardiovascular decline and improve your balance.
If you’re ready to get back on track or maintain the good shape you’re in, consider these suggestions:
Try running, cycling and swimming to improve your cardiovascular health and prevent your metabolism from slowing down.
Aim for 30 – 60 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity for most days, totaling 150 minutes per week.
Combine high-intensity interval training with lighter exercises, such as a workout that includes an activity that increases speed, incline or resistance with one to two minute periods at a lower intensity.
Aim for adding interval training to your routine one or two days each week.
When we lose muscle mass as we grow older, we replace it with fat. Muscle also protects our joints and helps bones become stronger, which can prevent fractures. Increasing muscle mass can also help improve balance.
Aim to lift weights, starting with one set of 10 -15 repetitions and challenge your major muscle groups, including chest, back, arms and legs. Add these moves 2 -3 times a week and increase the weight regularly.
Even if you create a great exercise routine, if you don’t change it up and only continue to perform the same routine over and over, you will plateau and begin losing the benefits. Try instead to incorporate some of these ideas into your exercise plan:
Aim to add high-intensity interval training in one workout the first week and build from there to 2 -3 intervals each week.
Gradually increase the weight of your strength training workouts each week.
Vary your routine, combining cardio, weights, interval training, yoga and leisure sports.
Source: Mayo Clinic
We do better at physical activities when we have a strong support system. It’s known that if we join an exercise class or meet our friends for weekly aerobics, we tend to stick with it.
Whether that’s because we are motivated by the others in the group or we find it harder to make excuses to skip a class depends on the individual. But forming an exercise group may be the extra nudge you need to boost your physical health.
There are many benefits to an independent living community, including:
But there are also those that specifically can be good for your physical health.
Most independent living communities will have an on-site fitness center. They may also provide fitness classes, water aerobics and equipment in order to help their residents stay in shape. Instructors are often available to help you learn the right way to lift a weight or perform a stretch.
Another advantage of independent living that can help you stay fit are all of the many activities that are planned for each month. Typically, the community will offer a wide variety so that all of their residents can find something of interest. This is an easy way to plan ahead and commit to staying active.
Many people don’t realize that being social is also good for your physical health. We know that social ties can help us live longer. They can also help reduce the stress in your life and lower your cardiovascular risks. They may assist you in strengthening your immune system. The flip side of being social? The detrimental health effects of loneliness and isolation can be severe.
You’ll discover many opportunities to boost your physical and cognitive health at Ingleside’s Westminster at Lake Ridge Independent Living. Our community is designed to support you in aging well, including staying active, eating healthy and meeting and making great friends.
Take a look at what our vibrant community has to offer:
Please visit our website for more information or call (703) 420-7105 if you have any questions or would like to schedule a personalized tour today.