Life gets busy. It can be challenging to find time to be active, and it can be easy to fall into bad habits. But staying active is a great way to support your physical and mental health, especially as you age. Here are a few tips to help keep you moving.
Listen to Your Body
First and foremost, it is extremely important to always listen to your body. This is good advice in general, but it’s especially important during exercise – particularly if you’re starting a new routine or pushing yourself during a hard workout.
Continuing through pain can make minor injuries much worse. Broken bones are more common in older populations as bone density decreases. When in doubt, it’s best to see a doctor. They’ll likely use a machine such as a Patient Image X-ray to check for any breaks or fractures.
Stretching is a great way to get yourself moving and is a good practice in general, especially for those of us who spend a lot of time sitting down. It helps get the blood flowing to your muscles, keeps you limber, and supports joint mobility.
Try adding stretching to your daily routine. Some people like to stretch in the morning and evening, but it’s also important to make sure you always stretch before and after exercise.
Find Activities That You Really Enjoy
It sounds obvious, but a lot of us exercise solely for the health benefits. A lot of times, we don’t even enjoy what we’re doing. How many people have had to drag themselves to the gym or to go on a run?
Look for activities you genuinely enjoy doing – you’ll be more likely to stick with them. It could be golf, hiking, water aerobics, yoga, or even walking. Don’t be afraid to branch out and try new things.
Get a Group Together
Having an exercise group can help keep you motivated and hold you accountable for your goals. It’s harder to bail on a workout when you’d also be bailing on other people.
Aside from that, having a dedicated exercise group is a great way to stay social. Aging can be isolating; it helps to have a group of friends you see regularly. Exercise is also a great way to meet new people! Don’t be afraid to strike up a conversation on the pickleball court or walking trail.
Find Modifications That Work for You
Maybe things don’t move quite as well as they used to – that’s perfectly fine. You don’t have to be a contortionist – or even be able to touch your toes in yoga – to be active.
Most exercises can be modified so they’re comfortable and achievable. Do what feels right for your body, and don’t worry if it’s not exactly the same as everyone else.
Movement and exercise are important for staying healthy. Find something you enjoy and people you enjoy doing it with. Listen to your body and do what feels right for you. And remember to have fun!