Happy New Year. If you want to improve your fitness in 2020, the number one way is to keep moving and avoid sitting around very long. Research proves maintaining regular physical activity helps to prevent common diseases, such as heart disease and diabetes. Exercise improves overall immune function, which is important since our immune systems are often compromised.
With age, we tend to slow down and become more sedentary. It may be due to health problems, weight or pain issues, or worries about falling. Or perhaps you think that exercising simply isn’t for you. But as you grow older, an active lifestyle becomes more important to longevity and good health.
When you get up and move around, it boosts energy, sustains independence, protects the heart, and lessens pain and weight. Regular exercise is also good for the mind, mood, and memory.
Because exercise has so many benefits, it’s important to follow through. I’ve researched and came up with the most innovative ways to get you moving. No two people will choose the same exercise, so find something on the list that looks interesting and fun to do, who knows, at the end of the month, you may have developed a healthy habit.
– Get out walking and enjoy the outdoors. Walk new trails or streets in your suburb, town, or farm country. How about walking through historic cemeteries, or the art district? Try “walking” to do errands instead of driving.
– Window shop. Hit the mall and check out window displays. Bring your cell phone for a podcast or music that will make the time fly. I know malls encourage walkers by opening the doors early to beat the crowds. It’s the perfect time to check out winter sales.
– Plant a vegetable or flower garden. Do you enjoy fresh garden vegetables? Does the thought of bright-colored tulips make you smile? Tend a garden of flowers or vegetables and get in shape by weeding, watering, and mulching.
– Dance your way to fitness. (My favorite.) Does music make you gyrate? Get the basics with a video lesson, then two-step over to your local club to get started.
– Live with good balance. Learn Tai Chi, my doctor says it’s great for building balance. Tai Chi, Taekwondo, yoga are Eastern practices which reduce stress and increase cognition. Try chair yoga, it’s easier to do.
– Get outdoors with your grandkids and build a fort, go on a scavenger hunt, jump rope, or play other child games. Be sure to wear clothes that can get dirty.
– Rent a bicycle and hit the local trails or country roads. Invite friends along. Don’t buy one until you decide whether it’s an activity you want to maintain.
– These are a few exercise ideas to get you moving. Start one or two now, and stay active for the rest of your life. Here’s to better health!
– Check with your doctor before you start a new health regime.
Carol Marak is an aging advocate, Seniorcare.com. She earned a Certificate in the Fundamentals of Gerontology from UC Davis, School of Gerontology.