Many people believe that declining health is inevitable as you get older. The truth, however, is that there is a lot that you can do to manage weight gain and chronic pain if they threaten to chip away at your health as you age. Are you looking for ways to keep up those fitness levels you enjoyed when you were younger? Here are some essential tips for staying fit as you get older.
Start at home.
Having trouble getting started with your fitness goals? As this site points out, sometimes the easiest way to start is from the comfort of your own home. You won’t have to worry about how you look for other people, and you don’t have to go through the trouble of driving to a local gym just to get some exercise. Consider investing in a few inexpensive workout DVDs that allow you to get a complete workout right in your living room. Whether you prefer yoga, plyometrics, weight lifting, or cardio, you’re sure to find a program that works for you. Another plus to starting out at home? It’s cheaper than a gym membership, meaning you don’t have to pay much to seriously start meeting your fitness goals.
Don’t skip warming up or stretching.
You may have gotten away with skipping the warm-up or stretching portions of your workouts when you were younger, but your risk of incurring injury can increase as you get older. For this reason, you should never skip warming up before a workout or stretching after a workout. For your warm-up, engage in some light aerobic work for several minutes before engaging in more intense aerobic work; or, if weight lifting, do one or two light sets of a weight lifting exercise before using heavier weights. For your stretching, be sure to spend a few minutes after every workout stretching those muscles you engaged during the workout.
Shoot for 10,000 steps a day.
Many people wear activity trackers around their wrists for a reason—it helps them keep track of how active they really are throughout the day. And for those with desk jobs, it inspires them to fight the inactivity that comes with sitting at a desk for eight hours during the day. Consider investing in some sort of step counter (many are under $30) to keep track of how many steps you’re taking each day. Then aim for getting 10,000 steps in each day. Studies have shown that those who get at least 10,000 steps in per day are at significantly lower risk for heart-related diseases. Moreover, this level of daily activity can reduce your risk of heart attack and even protect your heart from damage in case a heart attack does occur.
Try low impact exercises.
Our joints can become more and more sensitive as we get older. Plus, many of us have to deal with health conditions such as arthritis as we age. For this reason, it’s an excellent idea to explore more low impact exercises as you get older. As this article details, rowing, swimming, and cycling are three types of low impact exercises that are perfect for those who are looking to go easy on their joints.
Focus on diet.
Exercise isn’t the only major player here; in fact, you should devote just as much effort—if not, more effort—to making sure your body is getting the nutrients it needs. Talk with your doctor about how you can be eating a more well rounded diet. In general, you’ll want to focus on eating fresh vegetables, fresh fruits, whole grains, and lean meats. In addition, certain foods are proven to combat the effects of aging. For example:
- The monounsaturated fats in olive oil are proven to reduce your risk of heart disease and cancer.
- The unsaturated fats found in nuts carry many of the same benefits as those associated with olive oil. In addition, nuts are a concentrated source of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.
- Yogurt is rich in calcium, which helps fight osteoporosis. It is also packed with good bacteria that strengthen gut health and help prevent age related intestinal illness.
- The omega-3 fats in fish help prevent cholesterol buildup in arteries and help prevent a variety of heart-related diseases.
- Cocoa is rich in flavanols that help preserve the healthy function of blood vessels. Healthy blood vessels, in turn, can mean reduced risk for high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, kidney disease, and dementia.
- Compounds found in berries (blueberries, especially) help mitigate inflammation and oxidative damage. Thiin turn helps prevent age related deficits in memory and motor function.