by Michelle Sutton-Kerchner
Whether 25 or 90 years old, simple steps can help you approach your next birthday in better shape than your last …
It is never too soon to prepare your body for its later years. Habits created in childhood and long after have an effect on senior years. The sooner you begin to invest in your health, the more impressive your long-term benefits.
- Schedule a routine physical with your physician. Follow up with any required health screenings. The results will be a baseline for future readings throughout your life. They also will help you customize a safe, appropriate fitness program or evolve your existing workout.
- Has your workout become too routine? Discuss the information gathered during your health checks with the Center nurse and a personal trainer. Take inventory of your workout. Does it focus on areas in need of improvement? Has it evolved with your current physical and skill levels? Have you been lifting the same weights since high school football? Using the same equipment since early parenthood and your kids are now in college?
Include the basics. Be sure your fitness program includes cardio, strength, and balance training. A total-body workout manages to improve all aspects of health. Our body requires help in each area to avoid the aches and slow-down commonly blamed on aging. See below for exercises in each category.
Forget your age. Live as you wish! You are still the same person who loved thrill rides, enjoyed body surfing, and stayed up late to watch shows or finish a book. You may have to tone it down a little, follow up with a nap, or both. However, all these things are still possible, especially if you’re in good shape from regular workouts. Reunite with your inner child.
- Don’t look a day over your best year. Everyone ages, although some seem to do this without affecting the mirror. Sure, you’re smarter than you were yesterday. And, your body has been around a day longer. You may even feel older, more tired, and a little stiff from, well, you aren’t really sure. Stand tall with good posture, smile brightly, and walk with determination. Presentation can take years off your looks.
- Learn something new. Challenging the brain in new ways is scientifically proven to help avoid dementia. As young students return to school, consider joining them. Study a foreign language, learn to play piano, or join a team or club. Adult brains need intellectual workouts, too. If you don’t have time to commit, go in a different direction. Do puzzles, play cards, or try a few crafts. Keep your mind engaged in the world.
- Put the stamina you gain from your workouts to use! Get involved in causes important to you. Train for a fundraiser walk or run, help at your grandchildren’s school, walk your neighborhood’s dogs. Helping others gives a sense of purpose, which is proven to aid longevity and improve quality-of-life. Live longer and be more content by doing for others. It also boosts your social life, keeping you current on trends. At least you will know the hottest restaurants and shoe styles, even if you aren’t dining there while wearing them.
Surround yourself with friends and family. Communities with strong social support networks and close family, biological or “adopted,” tend to be nurtured for a longer life. It is easier to thrive at any age when loved ones depend on you. It also is easier to face life’s challenges when you can depend upon loved ones.
Pick One From Each. Alter Frequently.
A personal trainer or Group Fitness instructor can help you accomplish a well-balanced fitness program. Here are exercises to get you started. Choose one from each menu and enjoy a healthy serving of fitness.
- Free weights
- Exercise machines
- Fitness tools like balls, kettlebells, or ropes
- Resistance training using your body’s own weight or random objects at home (Ask a personal trainer.)
- Water workouts
- Walking or jogging
- Cardio-focused Group Fitness classes (Ask an instructor.)
- Warm-up/cool-down stretches (done anytime)
- Desk stretches
- Pilates classes and equipment
- T’ai Chi
Work with a Center nurse and personal trainer to determine the most effective, efficient workouts for your needs. Even the healthiest among us have obstacles during our journey. Maybe it’s a bum knee or weak bones. That doesn’t mean you are old. It simply means you have a little extra work to do.
Baby boomer riders: pixabay.com/en/baby-boomer-motorcycle-442244/
Sunset couple: pixabay.com/en/sunset-couple-lake-constance-538286/