Tips to Staying Physically Active

after-caregiving

By Pamela D. Wilson, CSA, MS, BS/BA, CG

There is no day or time like the present. Yesterday is gone and tomorrow has not arrived.  Living life to the fullest on a day to day basis brings a brighter tomorrow. If you or a loved one has been told your lifestyle is not as healthy as it could be, that it is recommended you eat right and exercise, try looking at becoming more active in a positive light.  The word exercise brings dread into the minds of many who feel exercise is work, that it cannot possibly be enjoyable.  Physical activity will serve you very well as you age and make your latter years a time of healthy aging versus a time of being old and sick.  The following are 10 tips to staying physically active as you age.Collage of Women Exercising

  • Walking – The simplest activity you can do on a daily basis to keep your body agile and moving is walking.  The more sedentary lifestyle you live the greater possibility that you will lose your physical abilities.  Are you able to walk a block or two blocks?  Set a goal and make it happen.  Increase the goal each week and notice how you are gaining physical strength and stamina.
  • Go Explore – Take mini breaks, longer vacations and holidays.  Do something physical. Go out and explore your surroundings by foot or bicycle.   Invite a friend.
  • Dancing – How many of you enjoyed dancing when you were younger? Take a dance class or find a local spot where you can go move your body to the music.  Dancing is great exercise and probably just as much fun as you remember.
  • Swimming – This is the weightless exercise.  If you have challenges with arthritis, aches, pains or tight muscles water exercise classes and swimming are an excellent way to exercise.
  • Sit and Be Fit – You have seen the television programs. If you have physical challenges that prevent traditional exercise it’s possible to sit and keep moving.  Sit up straight, stretch your legs and arms, flex your feet, turn right to left, and kick legs out in front of you.  Find ways to keep moving and maintain your body’s agility.
  • Go to The Mall – Malls are a great place to exercise especially during the cold winter months.  Many malls have walking clubs that exercise before the stores open.  If you prefer walking during business hours you can enjoy window shopping as a separate distraction.
  • Join a Gym – Joining a gym is a great way to have access to others with the similar interest of exercise and movement.  Many gyms offer personal trainers, abundant equipment and exercise classes.  It’s also easier to be motivated when you’re exercising with others.
  • Bicycle – Remember when you were a kid and you couldn’t wait to ride a bicycle?  Once on 2 wheels, always on 2 wheels.  Bicycle riding is good for the legs, heart and mind.  Plus bicycling is an opportunity to enjoy the great outdoors.  Find a great path or neighborhood route to enjoy on a daily basis.
  • Balance – Many older adults fall because of physical weakness and poor balance.  Consult a trainer or physical therapist to develop exercises to improve your balance. Why risk a fall, broken bones and a nursing home stay when 10-15 minutes a day of body strengthening exercise will help you maintain your balance.
  • Play – Check out the latest trends in exercise or stay with the tried and true.  No matter what you do or what your age, you can still enjoy the great outdoors or your favorite activities well into your later years if you make the choice to remain active.

Aging is inevitable.  Predicting the future is impossible. Planning for care is wise.  The more you invest in your personal well-being the better quality of life you will experience.  You’ll also be better equipped to work through the stresses and changes that life throws at you. Remaining healthy and physically active requires a plan and a commitment. Don’t let healthy aging pass you by for a less attractive alternative.

© 2012, 2013 Pamela D. Wilson, All Rights Reserved

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