Advertisement

How can I stay physically active as I get older?

The best way to stay active and independent is to be active and independent now! If you have been active your entire life then you are doing well, keep it up! If you have been active on and off then let’s turn that switch on! If you have not been active and are just starting then great! Being active truly means to exercise at a moderate to intense level for up to 30-minutes most days of the week. Being able to complete this will help you stay independent and active.

If you would like, give me some further detail as to what your current age is and your current activity level. Following, I can guide you and help you stay active!
As you age, you can maintain your independence by staying active -- both physically and mentally. The best way to stay fit at any age is to keep moving. Daily physical activity for 20 to 30 minutes should be your norm. Mental activities are equally important. Do what you enjoy the most and you will stick with it, whether it’s reading books, doing crossword puzzles, taking classes or learning new skills.
Choose fitness workouts that keep your legs strong. Research conducted on seniors in retirement and residential communities showed that those who had strength deficits in their legs were more likely to be less mobile. Once mobility is lost, it can be regained, but it is quite challenging for seniors, and it requires a strong commitment to daily strength training.

Begin a new workout cycle that preserves your lower body strength with weekly aerobic-fitness challenges like speed walking, jogging, running, jumping rope, or biking. Then add two to four days of resistance training with weights, and include lunges and squats.

I strongly recommend the NASM OPT level-stability and muscle endurance & core strengthening program, about 4 to 6 weeks. You will want to ensure that you can demonstrate and have the strength and flexibility to maintain a good and healthy posture. The stability and muscle endurance level will allow the connective tissues to be strengthened and in condition to safely move into your resistance/weight lifting strength training cycle/phase.

You can also recycle into one to two weeks stabilization and endurance phase periodically during the course of a year as a recovery or break from the strength training and to recondition your connective tissues.

The common recommendation has been that adults obtain at least 150 minutes of physical activity per week. Remember that does not have to come in long bouts. Exercises sessions can be done in short 8-10 minute bouts.

Adding physical activity to your life does not have to be difficult. Surrounding yourself with social situations and social support to physical activity will help. Things like joining a walking club or a group exercise class or walking with your friends and family after work are ways to combine physical activity and social aspects together.
Throughout your day there are ways to increase physical activity as well. By parking further away from things and walking to places, using stairs instead of elevators, taking the longer walking route to things all can help you be active. Adding social support by telling your friends and family you want to become more active and asking them to help in support of your goal will help you in being more active. If you combine social support, with an environment that makes physical activity more possible with your desire to be more active you will achieve your goal.

During the evening hours, instead of watching TV from the couch, do sit-ups and push-ups during commercial breaks. During the show, do lunges and squats to work the legs. If you do this through 2 TV shows you will be getting a good workout.

Older adults should still engage in some form of enjoyable physical activity. Here are just a few ways to get the exercise your body needs:

  • Walk around the block or around the mall. Invite a friend for companionship and motivation. Mall walking is safe, especially in bad weather.
  • Do some gardening without electric tools.
  • Go swimming or try aqua exercises. These are great activities, especially if you're not steady on your feet.
  • If you golf, get a caddy or pull-cart and walk the course.
  • Go dancing. Even a moderate two-step is good exercise and a great social activity.
  • Take a class in Tai Chi, a series of slow, controlled movements.
  • Keep your arms strong by lifting "weights" like canned foods, bean bags or even one- to five-pound hand or ankle weights.
  • Include stretching activities that increase the range of motion in your ankles, knees, hips, neck and back.
If you haven't been physically active, talk to your doctor before getting started. Together, plan activities and a sensible approach that's safe, effective and right for you.

Continue Learning about Aging & Fitness

Is staying mobile a key to aging well?
National Academy of Sports MedicineNational Academy of Sports Medicine
Staying mobile will certainly help the older adult age well, but, participation in regular physical ...
More Answers
What type of personal trainer is best for an older adult?
National Academy of Sports MedicineNational Academy of Sports Medicine
A good personal trainer will know the barriers of the older adult and can help older clients make la...
More Answers
You Staying Young Workout - Level 1
You Staying Young Workout - Level 1
Strength Training After 40
Strength Training After 40

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.