It’s easy to think that exercise is only for the young, but it’s an essential aspect of happy senior living. We’ve discussed the importance of regular exercise for seniors to help them enjoy a long, independent life. At Village Park Senior Living, we’re always looking for ways to help our seniors improve their quality of life, so we’ve come up with a few daily exercise tips for our readers:
Making it happen
Whatever you do, take the time and expend the energy to find ways to exercise that you won’t dread doing on a regular basis. In the beginning, building a habit could be more important than the exercise itself. Whether you want to get in shape to look better or just to benefit your health, you’re not going to reach your goals if you can’t keep up a consistent routine.
- Start small. For example, if you want to start walking 20 minutes per day, start walking for five minutes at the same time every day. Then, increase your time bit-by-bit at a pace you’re comfortable with. This will help keep your routine doable and help you avoid injury.
- Find forms of exercise you can enjoy. This may sound impossible to some readers, but you might be surprised if you try several different things. We’ve known people who’ve tried walking again and again over the years, only to reliably abandon it after a few months. Then, when they finally discovered how much they enjoyed weight training, yoga, martial arts, etc., they were able to stick with it and get in shape. At Village Park Senior Living, we have several health and fitness options you can learn about at our senior Lifestyle & Amenities page.
- Incorporate exercise into other activities. Have some extra time? Take the stairs instead of the elevator, purposely park in the farthest spot from the grocery store entrance, or walk around while you’re waiting for that phone call.
- Incorporate activities you enjoy into exercise. Music and working out are a match made in Heaven for a lot of people. Watching TV or listening to music, podcasts, or audiobooks while doing something difficult or dull might allow you to get lost in that material, making the drudgery more tolerable and the time go by faster.
When it comes to exercise, it’s important to set and keep track of realistic goals. Moreover, it’s helpful to make yourself accountable for maintaining those goals.
- Set long-term fitness goals. Do some research or consult an expert to find out how much and what type of exercise you’ll need to do to get the body and/or health level you want. Where do you want to be a year from now? Two years? Write down your long-term goals, then ask yourself: What will you need to do every day to get there? Once you have a few answers, you’re ready for the next step.
- Set short-term workout goals. It may be something as simple as healthily increasing your heart rate for five minutes every day this week, increasing your sets of weights from 5 pounds to 7 pounds by next month, or even just ordering new appropriate workout clothes before you go to bed tonight. Put your short-term goals in writing and cross them off your list as you accomplish them. This can go a long way toward building confidence and making you feel like you’re getting somewhere. Make sure that accomplishing your short-term goals contributes to you accomplishing your long-term goals.
- Make sure that your goals continue to challenge you. Increase your time, amount of reps, weight, resistance, etc.—again, at a pace you feel comfortable with—as you progress. This will help you continue to get results. Most exercise should result in some discomfort and/or soreness, but never in pain or injury. Use any resources you might have (research, personal trainer, etc.) to learn proper form and technique. Otherwise, you could run the risk of injury. Most importantly, check with you physician to ensure that whatever exercise you’re planning to do is safe for you.
If you’re interested in learning more about independent living, assisted living, or memory care in one of our communities, contact Village Park Senior Living to schedule a tour. Our courteous staff will go over our options and help you determine which one might be right for you. For more special interest stories and informative articles about topics for seniors and our community, you can also check out our weekly blog or follow us on Facebook to get the latest news and updates.