Adjust Your Workout To Stay In Shape At Every Age

Adapting a healthy lifestyle is a key component to living a long and fruitful life. Getting in shape and staying in shape at any age can help prevent injuries, prevent disease, combat depression and fight off illnesses. Here are some tips for staying limber and selecting the best exercise routine for your body at any age. Of course, it is always a good idea to seek input from your physician before embarking on a new exercise program.

Focus on Flexibility 

Many people, even those as young as 40 or 50, experience general aches and pains or a little joint stiffness in the morning. Not surprisingly, sore joints and muscle stiffness can make movement more challenging and exercise less appealing. Throughout our lives, ligaments tend to shorten, cartilage becomes a bit thinner and the lubricating fluid inside the joints decreases. These changes, which can lead to joint stiffness, can be age-related but can also be due to disuse. Fortunately, by maintaining flexibility, it is possible to sustain or improve both balance and mobility. Good flexibility can also help prevent or lessen injuries that may have long recovery times. Stretching with stretch bands before and after golf, tennis, running, biking or any other cardio or weight bearing exercise can help improve flexibility. Another strategy is to try incorporating a session or two of yoga or Tai Chi into an existing weekly workout routine.

Add Strength Training

Weight bearing and resistance exercises do more than just build muscle strength. This type of activity also preserves or improves bone density and can reduce the risk of osteoporosis as well as other chronic conditions such as arthritis, type 2 diabetes and heart disease. Weight-bearing exercises, such as hiking, tennis, dancing or climbing stairs, force the participant to work against gravity. Resistance exercises, such as lifting weights or working out with resistance bands, force the participant to work against the weights. Activities that are purely cardiovascular help burn calories and strengthen muscles, but do not strengthen bones like strength-training activities. This is why strength-training is an important component of a well-balanced exercise program.

Implement a Cross-Training Regimen 

Cross-training refers to the practice of alternating a variety of activities to ensure that all parts of the body are developed. In some cases, cross-training can be incorporated into one workout. Cross-training is useful for reducing the risk of a repetitive motion injury which can occur from participating in just one sport and it is also helpful for avoiding boredom. As an example of cross-training, a person who plays tennis three days a week, might take a class with weights twice a week. Alternatively, a regular golfer might take a spin class each week to get more cardio and also stretch or do yoga.

Mix Interval and Endurance Training 

Many people get more out of their workouts by participating in a high intensity activity just once or twice a week and then focusing on endurance training for the remainder of their workouts. Often the difference between high intensity and endurance is just the pace of the activity. For example, a quick run is a high-intensity form of exercise, but a long, leisurely jog or a brisk walk are both forms of endurance training. Similarly, many exercises like tennis, dancing, kayaking or biking can be enjoyed at different levels of intensity. Mixing up the intensity of workouts can help prevent injuries and keep fitness goals on track.

Set Goals

The CDC recommends that adults 18 and older get at least 150 minutes per week of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise, or at least 75 minutes per week of vigorous-intensity aerobic activity, or an equivalent mix of the two each week along with two or more strengthening workouts that target all muscle groups. For people in their 60s and older, the CDC recommends at least 150 minutes per week of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise and two or more weekly strengthening workouts that also incorporate balance. These recommendations may seem like a lot of time, but it is really just 30 minutes a day. The key is to pick activities that are fun. Choosing activities that can be done with one or more friends is helpful as well.

Adopt Other Healthy Habits 

Staying healthy at any age requires a focus on the whole self, both body and mind. Here are some additional tips for maintaining health and fitness at any age: 

  • Get plenty of shut-eye. Practicing good sleep hygiene and following a consistent sleep regimen can help prevent many health issues as well as excess weight gain. 
  • Eat for energy. Consider food as the fuel of the body, select a healthy balance of foods and eat for energy to help the body stay powered up. It may also be helpful to meet with a nutritionist. 
  • Reduce stress. Stress can wreak havoc on the body and immune system, and it often can go unchecked. Make identifying and reducing stress part of your daily routine - just like brushing teeth or getting dressed. Practice meditation, talk regular calming walks, soak in a warm bath or follow other techniques to manage stress.

At Echo Lake we advocate purposeful movement as being essential to good health. We offer a multitude of fitness opportunities that accommodate all interests and abilities and work with residents to keep personal fitness goals in sight. Contact us to learn more about our luxury retirement community and to schedule an in-person or virtual tour. Our 25-acre campus connects to extensive walking trails and includes a putting green, gardening beds and a Pickle Ball and basketball court.