Our exercise habits change as we change. Midlife may slow us down and throw off the exercise routines of our twenties. The CDC* reports that only 39% of Arkansans between the ages of 45 and 54 get 150 minutes of moderate physical activity per week, the recommended standard.
Adults may think they don’t need as much exercise to stay healthy because we naturally slow down as we age. But studies show that the opposite is true. As we age, we lose muscle mass and bone density. But staying active and strong can help mitigate age-related health issues like diabetes and heart disease. Studies even show a link between exercise and mental sharpness.
So, let go of the excuses! Physical activity is important--and possible--no matter how old you are or how long it’s been since you last picked up a weight. Here are some tips to help you jump back into an active lifestyle, regardless of your life stage and ability.
Find what works for you.
Don’t get caught up in the hype around gym memberships and CrossFit if that’s not your thing.
- Choose active hobbies–like outdoor walking, gardening, dancing, sports or yoga.
- Balance social and work life with exercise by combining them. Organize a walking or running group. It will hold you accountable and entertain you at the same time.
Try low-intensity strength training.
As we get older, we lose muscle mass, which can make normal daily activities more difficult.
- Lifting weights is an easy and simple way to prevent muscle loss.
- You can also use elastic bands, body weight or even cans of food.
- Focus on your main muscle areas: arms, back, chest and legs.
- Choose multiple exercises and aim for at least one set of 8-12 reps of each.
Strength is important, but so is flexibility. Try workouts that stretch your joints and muscles.
- Yoga, Pilates and Tai Chi are simple and easy to do anywhere with no equipment.
- Stretching can help build balance and relieve joint pain.
- Modify exercises like yoga to account for pain, limited mobility or injuries.
Go easy on yourself.
Don’t push it!
- Straining or twisting muscles could have an adverse effect and cause injuries.
- Always consult your doctor before trying new workouts.
Learn more at WebMd.com.
*Centers for Disease Control