Staying Active – Staying Healthy

 

Staying physically active is critical to staying healthy.  Physical activity is beneficial to the cardiovascular, musculoskeletal and endocrine system and is associated with lower mortality rates in older adults.

Before embarking on a new exercise strategy, keep in mind that physical activity can be accomplished in many different ways.  For some people, having regular structured fitness sessions work best, whilst for others finding other ways to add more physical activity to daily life fits better.  For most people, walking is the preferable way to easily add physical activity to ones life.  Whether one has a structured routine or not the following ideas will be a great benefit.

Walking is by far the best and easiest way to stay active and promote good health.  Walking long distances or for long periods or time is not required but rather just changing ones habits is all that’s needed to get the health benefits.  Just find ways to add walking into the daily routine e.g. taking the stairs instead of the elevator, parking slightly further from the entrance then you normally would.  Be creative by finding opportunities to walk – walk around the mall or even just around  the block.

A wonderful activity for people of all ages is dancing. Dancing doesn’t really feel like exercising.  Dance classes can be found at the local community center or senior center and most welcome new dancers and non-dancers alike. One doesn’t need to even have a partner to joining.

Swimming can be done in most places year round.  In places with cold winters an indoor pool at the local Y or community center would be just fine.  Swimming is a low impact activity which means it is gently on the muscles and joints. Actual swimming is not even required to get the benefit. Just being in the pool and walking around is fine.

Activities of daily living are a good way of keeping active. The activities of keeping up a house e.g. laundry vacuuming, sweeping, dusting can keep ones body active. . A chore a day can spread the activities over a week.  Before or after doing whatever the chore of the day is, one can focus on doing some light stretching too.  Hands over head,  Arms in large circles, legs lifts etc.  There are many excellent books on stretching available from the local library.

It is important to set goals and have a structure.  Be aware of what you would like to accomplish regarding weekly activities and write it down. Each day try and accomplish the activities and always be aware of just walking.