Staying Active: A Guide to Exercising Safely at 55+
Who said growing older meant slowing down? For years, active adult communities, like Del Webb, have been incorporating a wide array of programs to help meet the increasing desire to stay fit and healthy as we age. From the Blue Zone living approach to an ever-expanding list of exercise options like Zumba®, pickleball and more, one of the leading benefits of 55+ communities is all the ways they can help you stay healthier, longer.
Looking for ways to incorporate more exercise into your daily routine? Use these tips to help you keep moving and stay fit for years to come.
1. Respect your limits
Our bodies’ limits change as we grow older. These changes mean we can't stretch as far as we did 20 years ago or run a mile with the same kind of splits. While it’s fine to push limits, do tune to your body. Exercise should not make you feel horrible or be painful. Respect the message your body is sending to keep active as you age.
2. Be active every day
The law of physics says a ball in motion stays in motion. The same is true of exercise. Stay in motion by making activity a daily habit. Routines make it easier to stay healthy and fit. Today’s over 55 communities offer opportunities to be active out your door with walking trails, fitness centers, and community activities.
3. Be honest with your doctor
Talk about your exercise routine with a medical professional. Especially with certain health conditions, like diabetes or cardiovascular issues, continuing with an active lifestyle may mean following a specific program or guidelines to keep healthy.
4. Add warm-up and recovery time
As we actively age, taking time to properly warm up the muscles for the activity and to cool down afterwards reduces the chance of injury. The warm-up ensures joints and muscles are limber for the activity we are planning to do. The cooldown flushes out the built-up lactic acid for an easier recovery.
5. Work on stability and flexibility
Everybody loses some stability and flexibility as they age. Core muscles are essential for engaging in activities and daily life. Senior exercise programs should incorporate routines to target posture and strengthen core muscles. This will create confidence in your balance and reduce the risk of falling as you age.
6. Build over time
It’s never too late to start an active lifestyle. Start a routine now, even if exercise wasn’t part of your daily life before. Start small and persist. Begin with small time increments or easier exercises. Physical stamina and strength will grow over time.
7. Stay hydrated and fueled
Safe exercise includes drinking enough water appropriate for the activity and the environmental conditions. Bring water with you to the activity. Proper nutrition also helps fuel your body for physical activity.
8. Monitor your progress
We have plenty of easy-to-use technology that helps track physical activity. Use a pedometer to track daily steps. Try one of the watches that monitor heart rate to make sure you're not overdoing your activity. Create a journal recording how many minutes you worked out and what you did.
9. Find activities you like
There's no one way to be physically active. Do something you enjoy and you're more likely to stick with it. Don't be afraid to learn something new or to try an activity you always wanted to do. Learning to play pickleball, taking up golf or even just joining a hiking or walking clubs are easy ways to get started.
One way to support an active lifestyle is to look for active adult communities. Today’s retirement communities know how important staying active is to living life to its fullest and builders, like Del Webb, focus on communities designed around active living.
Curious to find an active adult community near you? With locations throughout the US, Del Webb’s modern over-55 communities are a great place to start your new active lifestyle.
Contributed to The 55+ Society by Casey McKenna-Monroe
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