5 Tips for Leading an Active Lifestyle
Do you have a desire to lead an active lifestyle, but are not quite sure where to start? Many in the 65+ community may find it easier to give up on an active lifestyle as they get older. This may be due to health concerns like arthritis, but it may also be from not knowing where to begin.
Seniors have not missed their chance on all the great health benefits to be gained from leading an active lifestyle. Those who still have the desire and drive to weave healthy exercise into their lives, no matter their age, will reap great health benefits! Here are 5 ways to get started!
Five Tips for Leading an Active Lifestyle
1. Start Small and Set Goals
Some may assume the key to leading an active lifestyle is by setting the expectation of where you would like to be. Meaning if you want to be the type of person that exercises a full hour three days a week, then that is exactly what you need to do in the beginning. However, this type of mindset can often lead to burnout.
A great first step to take when you decide to be more active is to start small. You may have the end goal of working out for an hour, three days a week, but starting small with just 10 minutes for three days a week will go a long way. It will be easier to prioritize exercising if it is broken down into manageable chunks of time or through simple workout activities. Start with walking instead of a run at first, or lift five pound weights instead of ten pounds.
Finally, start small, but with an end goal in mind. Set goals for yourself that are measurable and attainable based on your ability. Create smaller goals to help you achieve greater goals. If your hope is to run a 5k, start by setting a goal of walking two miles every week. Then work up to running a mile a week until you are ready to do the entire distance. Make sure to push yourself to reach your goals without overexerting.
Starting small and setting goals will help prevent exercise burnout and help you achieve the active lifestyle you want.
2. Add in More Steps
Another way to lead an active lifestyle is by adding in more steps. Walking has huge health benefits and requires minimal exertion on your joints, making it an easy way to exercise.
You can add in steps in multiple ways, including:
- Taking the stairs
Instead of taking the escalator or elevator, decide to take the stairs. This will help boost your steps for the day while also building muscle strength.
- Going on daily walks
It’s not about distance, it’s about building a healthy habit! A ten to fifteen minute walk everyday can help energize your body and mind.
- Park further away
If you’re out running errands, park your car further away from the building as an easy way to add more steps into your day.
- Walk while you’re on the phone
When the grandkids call you with an update or you get a call from your sister, consider walking while you are on the phone. Time flies when you are having fun and this is a great way to add in steps when your mind is focused on a fun conversation.
3. Make it Fun
Oftentimes the thing that holds people back from pursuing an active lifestyle is because they don’t enjoy exercising. Running is not appealing, weight lifting isn’t enjoyable, and certain exercise equipment seems too daunting to start. One of the best ways to achieve an active lifestyle is by making exercise fun! This will look different depending on the person. Some may find a Zumba class fun while others would avoid it at all costs. Exploring various options and trying new things can help you discover what types of physical activity are fun for you!
One avenue that can help you discover the right exercise outlet is the Silver Sneakers program. Silver Sneakers is a health and wellness program offered to 65+ seniors that gives access to gyms across the country, an online and in-person community, instructor-led exercises classes geared toward seniors, and on-demand library of video workouts.1
This health and wellness program is offered through certain Medicare Supplement plans. If you are interested in this benefit and would like to compare plans that offer the Silver Sneakers program, visit www.medicaresupplement.com/form or call a licensed insurance agent at today.
4. Make it Diverse
Another tip to leading an active lifestyle is making your exercise diverse. Don’t limit yourself to only cardio or strength training. Sprinkle in different exercise techniques. Your body needs both cardio and strength training to be at its best, so try to add in a healthy dose of each. Along with this, give your muscles a break and add in stretching before and after physical activity.
Keeping your physical activity diverse will help your muscles and lead to many great health benefits.
5. Use a Fitness Tracker
Technology has come a long way in the past decade which has led to the development of personal fitness trackers. Whether you use one of the wristwatch trackers or download fitness apps on your phone, there are multiple ways to track your steps, heart rate, and aerobic activity in a day.
Within these fitness apps or trackers, you can set health goals and track your progress. A wonderful way to lead an active lifestyle is utilizing a personal fitness tracker to monitor your physical activity and your health goals.
Why Being Active is Important
Exercise and physical activity lead to many positive health benefits for the human body. Not only can physical activity help you maintain or lose weight, it can also reduce risk of disease, improve brain health, and strengthen your muscles and bones.2 Along with this, exercise releases powerful neurotransmitters: endorphins and dopamine. Endorphins help block out pain and increase feelings of pleasure while you are working out. Dopamine also releases feelings of pleasure and helps with other facets of your body like regulating your heart rate, sleep cycles, mood, attention and working memory. Endorphins and dopamine can lead to more positivity, increased attention, and better memory recall, as well as the ability to push your body a little bit further to achieve your exercise goals.3 An active lifestyle will impact how you look and how you feel from your mental faculties to your mood.
Leading an active lifestyle provides a variety of health benefits and seniors can implement small strategies to improve their overall health and wellness. Being active does not mean working out hours on end or doing the same exercise over and over again. It can mean setting small measurable goals, taking extra steps, and making it fun through a variety of different workout methods.
Whatever your goals or whatever the exercise, leading an active lifestyle will improve both your health and mood!
1 Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs). Silver Sneakers. 2022. https://tools.silversneakers.com/Help.
2 Physical Activity - Benefits of Physical Activity. Center of Disease Control. 2022. https://www.cdc.gov/physicalactivity/basics/pa-health/index.htm.
3 Mental Well-Being - Exercise and the Brain: The Mental Health Benefits of Exercise. Healthline. 2022. https://www.healthline.com/health/depression/exercise#The-bottom-line.