You know you ought to be more active, especially now that you’re getting older and your health is growing more high-maintenance. Unfortunately, old habits are hard to break. If you’ve spent the last few decades largely sedentary, odds are you’re not going to become a gym rat overnight. However, that doesn’t mean adopting an active lifestyle is impossible!
If you want to start changing your health for the better, here are four low-pressure ways you can become more active in your daily life.
Exercise in Your Living Room
Working out doesn’t have to be an hours-long endeavor. Instead of suiting up and heading to the gym, exercise in your living room! With these ideas, you can get a great indoor workout without a ton of space or equipment:
- Follow along with exercise videos on YouTube, FitnessBlender, or another website.
- Practice yoga (you can find free online videos for this too).
- Do balance exercises like one-leg stands and heel-toe walking.
- Play active video games like Wii Fit.
There are many home workouts you can do without any equipment at all, but for comfort and traction, it’s recommended you use a yoga mat or an exercise mat. To add challenge and variety to your workout, buy basic fitness equipment like resistance bands, dumbbells, and a balance board.
Join a Walking Group
It’s easy to waste the day sitting, especially when you don’t have company, but too much sitting is bad for your health. Even if you exercise daily, long periods of sitting increase your risk of health problems like heart disease, diabetes, and cancer.
When you need to pass the time, don’t sit in front of the TV. Instead, join a walking group. Walking groups are a great way to introduce more physical activity into your days while also keeping your social life strong. Start your own group with friends and neighbors, or join an existing walking club. You can find them through local churches and community centers, at the mall, or through organizations like Meetup and the American Volkssport Association.
Run Errands by Bicycle
Not everyone is lucky enough to live in a bike-friendly community, but if you do, take advantage of it. Instead of driving to run local errands, commute by bicycle. Even if you’ve never been an avid cyclist, you can pick up bicycling now and comfortably ride several miles per day with a little practice. Always wear safety gear like a helmet and lights, pack a bike lock, and follow local bicycling laws. Most bike commuters also find it helpful to equip their ride with panniers or other equipment for hauling cargo.
Learn a Sport
You may not be as athletic as when you were younger, but that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy a recreational sport. Community centers and YMCAs are wonderful places for seniors to find facilities and partners for sports like racquetball, tennis, and pick-up basketball. If you’re a beginner, choose a partner who is also just starting out so you can take it slow and develop skills together.
Competitive sports are physically challenging, so don’t jump straight into one if you’ve been inactive for a long time. Build strength and endurance through less intense exercise first to reduce your risk of injury.
In your 50s and 60s, it can feel like your physical health is set in stone. The truth is that it’s never too late to make changes for the better. By incorporating more physical activity into your life through small tweaks like these, you can make a big impact on your health as a senior, all without ever stepping foot in a gym.
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