Exercise – a Key to Healthy Aging
Simple steps to stay young
By Terra Wellington
The first Baby Boomers—people born in the United States, Canada, and the UK between 1946 and 1964—are now over 60 years old. But this group has made it clear they don’t plan on sitting around in rocking chairs. If you’re a senior interested in staying young, agile, and healthy, be sure to get regular exercise and support it with a wellness lifestyle.
Your exercise program—what’s your pleasure?
Choose exercises or physical activities that you enjoy, that get you outdoors, and that you can do with friends. Some ideas:
- Walking is one of your best options for aerobic exercises. It requires no special equipment other than good footwear and a water bottle. Put on sunscreen, sunglasses, and perhaps a hat or scarf to protect yourself from the sun’s rays, especially if you go walking after 10 a.m. and before 3 p.m. For extra motivation, walk with a friend.
- Swimming is another great aerobic exercise, especially if your joints don’t like walking. Bring a water bottle with you to the pool. Ear plugs made for swimming can prevent ear irritation or infections.
- Tai chi maintains balance, flexibility, and strength. Dr. Jim Concotelli, the vice president of programs and services at Horizon Bay Senior Communities in Tampa, Florida, has documented that regular tai chi practice in older adults reduces falls by 50%. “Tai chi at any age can be fulfilling,” says Concotelli. Tai chi also lowers blood pressure, strengthens the heart, increases oxygen intake, calms a stressed nervous system, and improves immune function.
Give your workout a boost
Maintain vitality and get the energy you need for regular exercise by maintaining a wellness lifestyle:
- Eating balanced meals provides you with the fuel for exercise. If you exercise in the morning, make sure you eat breakfast. Combine carbohydrates with protein for sustained energy, such as fortified cereal with milk and fruit.
- Keep healthy snacks on hand to keep your energy up. Nuts, fruits, energy bars, flavored rice cakes, yogurt, and the like make delicious pick-me-ups.
- Sufficient sleep also gives you added energy. Get to sleep quicker by winding down before you go to bed. Tips include dimming the lights, reading a book, taking a bubble bath, or sipping some milk or warm herbal tea such as chamomile.
Terra Wellington is a wellness lifestyle television personality, writer, and actor. She is working on her butterfly stroke.