As we get older, staying active becomes more important than ever before, even though many older adults have a natural tendency to slow down. As activities become more difficult, many seniors shy away from them, which in turn creates long term health issues. Not only does staying active increase your longevity, but it helps with feeling positive, achieving better sleep, reducing the risk of falls, and keeps your mind strong. Overall, active individuals maintain independence longer while aging. The benefits are endless, but the first step is to make a commitment to working out to ease your way back into being active.

Talking to your doctor to develop an exercise routine and to make sure the exercises are healthy for your body is a good starting point. When you visit your doctor, present them with ideas to get their take on the exercise program. Your doctor will let you know what they think and help ensure you don’t over-exert yourself too soon resulting in injury.

Set aside a certain amount of time for daily exercise. This could be 10-20 minutes initially. These active minutes could include very moderate activities like walking, doing chores, or even completing some light yard work. Once the activities become easier (as a senior, you really shouldn’t be working out to the point where you are sore), it’s all right to increase the activity time allotted.

Make sure the workout program is a good fit. Depending upon what you and your doctor’s goals are, make sure you actually enjoy working out. The biggest way to kill a workout program is to not have fun while doing it. It’s difficult to motivate yourself when you dread the workout activity. If you enjoy hanging out with friends, it might be a good idea to incorporate a walk into the hangout time. Likewise, if you enjoy activities like dancing or other sports, these are what you should be focusing on. Depending on age, sometimes cleaning the house, walking up and down stairs rather than taking an elevator, or parking a little further away from the store than usual is all it takes to get back in the swing of things.

Many elderly adults enjoy volunteer work, which can also help maintain activity. With volunteer work you can be as active as you want. For instance, when volunteering at the local hospital you can help with running errands, flower delivery, providing directions and physically guiding people and much more. The more you enjoy the activity the more likely you are to continue.

Many seniors enjoy doing activities in groups. If you are looking for group activities, visiting your local senior center is a good place to start. Senior centers provide group activity listings such as swimming, group walks, biking or even tennis. You might be surprised with how many people participate and how much fun you actually are having while improving cardiovascular health.

Jacob Edward is the manager of Senior Planning in Phoenix, Arizona. Jacob founded Senior Planning in 2007 and has helped many seniors and their families find senior care and benefits.

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