Friday July 19, 2013 kicked off the National Senior Games in Cleveland, Ohio. They’re all about seniors demonstrating how physically fit they are and how well they compete in games to demonstrate that fitness. The National Senior Games Association is dedicated to getting, and keeping, seniors to stay physically fit. Research has proven that physical fitness throughout life helps you stay healthy, age much more slowly and stay independent and active in your life.
Exercise isn’t just for losing weight – it has a number of other health benefits, especially to older people. The following are some tips from the NSG to get and stay physically fit – even if you haven’t exercised for many years.
1. Make it fun. Exercise doesn’t have to be the boring “duty” you dread doing every day. Doing something you enjoy and do anyway, like swimming, riding a bike or walking, can become part of your fitness routine.
2. Start small. If you haven’t exercised for years, you don’t have to get into an athlete’s program to benefit from exercise. Think small steps…start out walking, riding a bike or swimming – less strenuous forms of aerobic activity. Even cutting the grass and cleaning your house from top to bottom can be exercise. Moving more during the day and sitting less can help.
3. Make a schedule. Pick a time during the day when you are most likely to be able to exercise without interruption – either early morning or even later at night. Pick a block of time and make that your “fitness health time”. You may need to adjust your exercise schedule to the timing of certain medications – for example, diabetic or hypertension medication.
4. Set goals. Setting achievable goals for yourself every week, every 2 weeks, every month, can keep you motivated. Keep your goals realistic. Trying to lose 10 lbs in a week is going to discourage you and deflate your motivation quickly. Aim for 1-2 lbs of weight loss while cutting back some calories and moving more. Reward yourself every time you meet, or surpass, a goal.