shutterstock_510476362While previous generations spent a great deal of time engaging in physical activity simply to survive, modern conveniences have led most of us to settle into a sedentary life. Exercise is now something we must plan for and work to achieve. It’s extremely important to stay active every day, especially as we age.

Health Benefits of Exercise: Body

Engaging in regular physical exercise can help you to fight off or push back some of the chronic conditions of aging. For example, those who suffer from arthritis can reduce their pain and increase mobility with a dedicated course of exercise to increase muscle mass and flexibility.
A regular course of exercise can also help reduce lower blood pressure and control or prevent Type 2 diabetes. If balance is an issue, consider walking or jogging in a warm pool to cushion your joints and elevate your heart rate.

Health Benefits of Exercise: Mind

Stress is a constant in life and can be a great motivator if properly used. However, if stress is getting the better of you and manifesting itself as sleeping poorly, gastrointestinal issues or high blood pressure, exercise is critical.

If you live alone and need socialization, consider joining a tai chi or yoga class. This will help you build balance, flexibility and strength while you build community. If your daily life includes plenty of people, consider taking a solo walk, bike ride or jog to give your mind a break from the pressures of people. Exercise is one of the few activities that you can successfully do in a group or as an individual and still get great results.

Work With A Pro!

It’s critically important to engage in an effective and logical exercise program. Running ten miles the first day is a bad plan; if you survive it, you’ll feel terrible and will probably never do it again. Listen to your body as you move it, work it and stretch it, and gradually build your skill over time with consistency. 

One of the ways to change up your exercise program and keep it interesting is to start a basic course of weight training. Studies indicate that Sarcopenia, or age-related muscle mass loss, can be reversed with dedicated resistance exercises. Weight training is the most efficient and productive type of exercise that you can do!

Working with a trainer will improve your form and thus reduce the risk of injury. If you belong to a gym, ask for personal training sessions on the machines in the gym so you can spend part of your workout building muscle. Also get some coaching on free weights to confirm that your form is correct. If working alone, start with very light weights and watch yourself in a mirror to confirm that you’re not curving your back or twisting improperly at any point in the lifting cycle.

Keep A Journal

Purchase yourself a notebook and work at it from both the front and the back. At the front of your journal, write down the activity or movement. If you did bicep curls, note the weight that you lifted, the reps you completed or the time you spent lifting. This will help you track your progress and celebrate when you move up in weight.

At the back, you can track your goals. If you are trying to lose fat, note your body weight, track what you ate over the day, and jot down your feelings after your workout. If you are trying to reduce stress, tracking your feelings before and after a workout can keep you motivated to get out and move every day. 

Be Smart!

Remember why you started your exercise program. If you’re sick, you’re not doing your body much good by pushing yourself when you should be resting. Stay home, get better, and get gently back into the exercise process.