As a growing number of Americans cross the 50-year milestone, studies show that the overwhelming key to maintaining health and well-being is to keep moving…despite obstacles or physical impairments.
Inspiration and Motivation
If you have not been athletic for some time, finding inspiration is a good start. Experiment to discover which activities you enjoy and create strategies to keep motivated. Remember that sheer physical skill is not a requisite to make physical fitness a central part of your social activities; find a partner or a group of like-minded people to help keep you interested and motivated.
Setting clear goals and creating time lines for achieving them is also helpful when you want to stay physically active. Competing against your own best time rather than against others, is a good way to measure progress. Keep a log or progress diary of your accomplishments, you will be amazed by what you can do over time. Register for an event and start training for it.
Low impact and aerobic activities such as cycling, swimming, golf, or gardening are good ways to stay active while preventing wear and tear injuries that often come with contact sports. Here are some steps to help you stay active for many years to come:
3-Steps to Better Fitness
Step 1, See your doctor:
- Ask your doctor if there are restrictions on the types of physical activities that you can participate in.
- If there are restrictions, ask which modifications or alternatives can be substituted. Don’t let restrictions deter you from setting goals.
Step 2, Create a balanced physical activity plan:
- Muscle Strengthening 2x’s week:
- Flexibility Training 3x’s week:
- Balance 2x’s week (can combine with strength exercises):
- Accumulate 30 minutes a day of focused activity, at least 10 minutes at a time, 4-5 x’s a week:
Step 3, mix it up – Variety is the key to success:
- Nature Activities: Walking, Hiking, and Gardening; there’s nothing like fresh air and exercise to help you feel great.
- Social Activities: Dancing, Walking Clubs, Golf Groups, or Sit and Be Fit for Seniors programs at your local Community or Senior Center are good choices.
- Mind/Body/ Spirit: Yoga, Tai Chi, Nature walks and even a vigorous massage can all help keep your mind, body and spirit enlivened.
- Wet n’ Wild Water Activities: Water aerobics, Water Zoomba, and Pool Noodle Classes Water activities are a great choice for anyone who can’t do a lot of weight bearing exercise.
October is National Physical Therapy month and we want all of our patients, family members and caregivers to “Be Active and Be Well“ by choosing to live an active lifestyle, at any age. By “active” we don’t necessarily mean exercise involving push-ups and squats, just any activity that gets you to move your body on a regular basis. If you have fun doing it, you will likely do more of it, and it’s never too late to start!
~Michele Hession, PT, (Past) Director of Clinical Services
Fitness resources and inspiration:
Active and Healthy Lifestyles in San Mateo, CA