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Staying Active Without the Gym
You probably would not be surprised if I told you that
regular physical activity is essential at any age. As a senior, the goal should
be to obtain at least 30 minutes of moderate to vigorous activity five times
According to the Public Health Agency of Canada, regular physical activity improves balance, reduces the risk of falls and injuries, and helps you stay independent longer. It also helps prevent heart disease, stroke, osteoporosis, type 2 diabetes, some cancers, and premature death.
If you are already achieving 150 minutes per week, then keep it up and perhaps try adding some new activities to your routine to keep yourself on your toes. If you are not currently active, it is not too late! Becoming more physically active does not necessarily have to translate into a gym membership or weight training.
Consider the following ideas, but consult with your doctor before starting any type of activity or exercise program. If you struggle with any physical limitations, then ask for suggestions on activities that would be best suited for you.
Senior Sports or Activity Classes
With numerous classes and sports to choose from, you can find an enjoyable way to get active; for example, dancing, yoga, aerobics, tai chi, tennis, or golf. The Public Health Agency of Canada states that a strengthening activity, like yoga, keeps muscles and bones strong, prevents bone loss, and improves balance and posture.
If you are struggling with knee or hip problems, then water aerobics, aqua Zumba, or good old fashioned swimming might be perfect for you. Exercising in water places much less strain and impact on the joints.
If you are someone who enjoys being outdoors, then gardening, raking leaves, shoveling some snow, or mowing the lawn can be a way to incorporate more physical activity into your weekly routine.
Walking or Hiking
Brisk walking or hiking are both activities that will guarantee some exercise as well as fresh air. Just make sure that you are dressed appropriately for the season since having the right gear is key for sticking to this as the seasons change. Find yourself some light clothes and sunscreen for the summer months and some good walking boots and a warm coat and accessories for the winter.
In addition to being more active, reduce the amount of time spent sitting each day watching television, reading, using the computer, or driving. According to the UK National Health Service, excessive sedentary time is linked to being overweight or obese, type 2 diabetes, certain types of cancers, and premature death. Cut your sitting time getting up for a quick stretch or a drink of water at least every hour and keep your circulation going.
Find a few activities that you will enjoy and look forward to. Then, schedule them into your week so that you will have specific times dedicated to physical activity. This will ensure that you get moving, stay independent longer, and feel great about yourself!
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