Staying active as we grow older is essential in maintaining a healthy mind and a strong body. Sedentary lifestyles lead to muscle weakness and health conditions that greatly decrease our quality of life. Older adults may be disinclined to make fitness part of their daily routine as they may think it’s too late to try or perhaps, they make think it will be too hard to keep up. But this is not true.
Working out is beneficial at any age. Try not to be intimidated but rather allow yourself to have fun as you stay active and see it as an opportunity to explore and try out new activities.
Benefits of Working Out
Improves physique and boosts confidence
An active lifestyle helps maintain a healthy weight and also aids in weight loss. Exercises such as yoga and weight lifting have movements that align the back and shoulder muscles and engage the core muscles. This promotes good posture which not only improves physique but also boosts confidence.
Reduces stress and promotes better sleep
Exercising is known to reduce stress hormone levels in the body and provide a boost to both mood and energy. It increases blood flow which means more oxygen is being circulated in the body, allowing the optimal function of each organ. Working out plays a part in stress management and this helps regulate the sleep/wake cycle so you can get better quality sleep at night.
Promotes better management of chronic illnesses
A sedentary lifestyle can negatively impact mental health as studies have linked depression and sedentary behavior. Engaging in physical activities allows your body to get moving. It relieves the body of stress and anxiety and helps people with managing conditions such as depression and chronic illnesses.
Enhances mobility and promotes independence
A regular exercise routine doesn’t only help build muscles and increase strength. It also increases your range of motion, allowing you to move better and enhance your mobility. Incorporating stretches like Yoga or Pilates would also help improve your flexibility, allowing you to relieve muscle tension and help your body feel lighter and better. Core workouts are particularly effective at improving balance and this, in turn, helps with injury/fall prevention as well as exercising independence in your other day to day activities such as standing and walking,
Five Tips for an Active Lifestyle
Make a plan
Commit to setting a specific time to work out whether it’s early in the morning or sometime in the afternoon. Just be careful of working out too close to your bedtime as this may prevent you from falling asleep. Setting aside time to focus on one task makes sure that it gets done and also allows you to build a routine around it so it will feel more natural. Once you’ve set a routine, you’ll feel more inclined to continue working out regularly as it will feel unnatural to miss a day.
A part of an active lifestyle is recovery. Sleep is also important and incorporating rest days will give your body the time it needs to repair and build muscles. Getting enough sleep at night will affect how you perform the next day.
A healthy diet fuels an active lifestyle. The body turns food into the energy needed to do reps, take laps or hold poses. A balanced diet of whole, nutritious food will give your body the energy it needs to get through your workout as well as provide you with the boost to last you the entire day.
Make it enjoyable
If your workouts are an enjoyable experience, you will more likely stick to your routine. Try making it fun by playing your favorite music in the background as you work out or maybe even taking up a weekly Zumba class. You can even invite friends and family to join you in your sessions for both companionship and accountability. Having a support system is invaluable to your fitness journey.
You can keep track of your progress by jotting it down in a journal or using a fitness app to track your activities. Having a place where you can see your progress will serve as motivation to keep going. It will also help you build a well-rounded routine that doesn’t just focus on one aspect but rather, works out the entire body.
Exercises you can try
Before trying out a new exercise routine, it is best to consult your healthcare service provider. Some exercises may not be advisable for those who have medical conditions. Ask your doctor for exercises you can do that will suit your preferences and lifestyle.
Exercising in the water is great for those who have arthritis or joint pain. Water eases the stress in your joints, allowing you to move without causing damage or hurting yourself. There’s also a natural resistance when moving in the water, allowing you to build strength as you work on your flexibility and balance.
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Chair Yoga is a low-impact form of exercise that is easy on the joints and allows you to build muscle strength as well as improve mobility and balance. It provides the benefits of yoga such as stress relief and improved focus through stretches and poses that are modified for a seated position. You can also do yoga at the comfort of your home or attend best yoga classes within your locality.
Taking a daily stroll around a park is a good way to start. You can increase the distance as your endurance and strength build as you commit to a regular schedule. Walking is a great cardio workout that improves blood flow, allowing proper circulation of blood in the body for optimal organ function.
Bodyweight exercises promote muscle growth to build a strong and healthy body. There is no need to go to the gym or purchase a set of weights to get the benefits of resistance training. Your body can serve as weights as you do squats or hip bridges at home.
The key to making fitness a part of your daily routine is starting small and building up. You don’t even have to lift heavy weights or go on a ten-mile run to reap the benefits of an active lifestyle. Gentle and slow-paced exercises that are easy on the joints can also provide you with all the mental and physical benefits you need to live a healthy, active life.
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