Exercise is so important at any age — and perhaps even more so as we get older. In fact, we’ve told you before why a sedentary lifestyle is dangerous at any age. But unfortunately, many seniors feel like it’s too late to start exercising, aren’t sure how or where to begin, or don’t know how to get into a routine. We’re going to give you some great tips on how seniors can start — and stay — motivated to exercise.
Know the Benefits of Exercise
Exercising can do so much! It can help reduce stress, manage or prevent health conditions, help you sleep better, and improve mobility and balance. Sometimes, all it takes to keep up the motivation to exercise is to realize how much it benefits your mind and body.
Simply Do What You Can
Perhaps a health condition or injury is thwarting your plans to lift weights or go biking. But that doesn’t mean you have an excuse to sit back and do nothing! Go for a short walk, do some gentle stretches, or even participate in some chair yoga. It’s essential to continue doing something — no matter how simple or quick — to benefit your health and continue your regular exercise routine.
It can be hard to get motivated to get up and exercise — especially if you’re tired or the weather is bad. Find a friend or neighbour who is willing to join you so you can motivate each other. Or at least find a friend or family member who can call or email you on your exercise days to check-in to see if you’ve done your exercise for that day.
If you live in senior housing, they often schedule exercise classes you can attend. Try buddying up with another resident, so you’re one another’s accountability partner!
Keep It Fun
Exercise can be a dreaded task for many people — but it doesn’t have to be! Try various activities until you find one or two you like or mix them all up, so you don’t get bored. Here are a few other tips to keeping it fun:
- listen to some favourite music while you exercise
- treat yourself after with a fun activity
- watch television while you work out, or
- join a group of people online or in-person to have some conversation and laughs while you get fit.
Enlist the Help of a Professional
There are plenty of personal trainers who specifically help seniors attain their exercise goals and put individual plans together for each person they work with. Having a personal trainer meet at your home, outdoors, or at a safe space in a gym regularly is a great way to keep accountability and motivation to continue exercising up. But if cost or time is a factor, a single meeting with a potential follow-up in the future to set out a plan is usually enough.
Alternatively, you can also check in with your doctor or another health professional who knows your history to see what types of exercises and frequency they suggest. Typically walking or other gentle senior-specific activities are where they’ll suggest starting. If you live in an assisted living or independent living home, there are usually exercise programs and classes set up that you can attend safely and regularly.
It’s essential to set goals for exercising to keep you motivated. They can be small, simple goals like walking around the block or bending down enough to touch your toes. Or you can try for something more challenging, such as lifting heavy weights or even running a marathon. The important thing is that, with a little hard work, these goals are achievable.
We hope we’ve given you some simple tips on how to start — and continue — exercising regularly. At Trillium Communities, we’re proud to offer many fun and safe exercise options for seniors. For more information on this or to learn more about our boutique communities, please contact us today.