Healthy and Fit: Getting and Staying in Shape over 60

Contributed by Kris Baydalla-Galasso

There is no doubt about it – the more you do in your 20s, 30s and 40s, the stronger you will be in your Golden years. However, it is never too late to get and stay in shape! The physical benefits of even a small amount of exercise will amaze you!

According to the CDC, daily physical activity will help maintain the ability to live independently. As we age, falling and breaking bones is a real fear. Strengthening muscles will absolutely help increase stability, which will, in turndecrease the chance of falling. Do you take blood pressure medication to regulate hypertension? According to Heart.org, more than 46% of American adults are on medication to manage blood pressure. The recently revised guidelines recommend that blood pressure should be less than 150/90. If you are over that number or on medication, the benefits of weekly exercise would outweigh the possible inconvenience of driving to the gym!

While diet is critical for managing weight and diabetes, just a little bit of exercise in your routine may increase your ability to stay off of medication. More than 100 million Americans have Type 2 Diabetes, so the disease is running rampant and exercise and a healthy kitchen are the two best defenses. Regular physical activity can also slash your coronary heart disease risk. Moving your body is good for all of your body! Healthy bones are important – but so are healthy joints! Incorporating movement, activity, and exercise into your daily routine can greatly increase your overall mobility and diminish signs and symptoms of arthritis.

So many of us need to keep up with kids or grandkids. We want to be able to tour the ruins of Pompeii or walk along the beach. Whether we are 35 or 65, we want to be able to hang with the younger crowd and keep up. Implementing a regular activity – even if it is just walking around the block to start – will help make all of those activities easier on your bones, muscles, and joints.

The benefits don’t end with the physical – the emotional and mental benefits start to stack up quickly. People new to a physical routine will rapidly feel better, from head to toe, as the body releases endorphins.

ALL Adults can benefit from physical activity. If you are looking to add physical activity to your daily routine, here are some things to remember:

  • Find an activity that works well for you. Swimming is great for your entire body, but if you don’t like the water, then it isn’t the right activity for you!
  • Activity doesn’t need to be strenuous or high impact. A daily walk around the block is a great way to start.
  • Daily activity is key. Sporadic activity is better than none, but true health benefits are achieved when your schedule is regular.
  • Start slow! Walk around the block every day this week. Next week – make it two blocks.
  • Implementing a physical activity routine doesn’t have to be expensive. Not everyone can afford a gym membership. Use soup cans as weights to get your arms moving. Time your walk around the block to determine your “personal best” time. If you are ready for something a little more strenuous, go up and down the steps! Your home is full of items that you can use on your personal fitness journey.
  • The more you do, the better you will feel.
  • Star small and set achievable goals. Something is better than nothing!
  • Write things down and keep track!
  • Be safe, be smart and don’t forget to make sure your doctor is on board with your new plan!

 

It is never too late to start making your life and health better! Why not start today?