Move It or Lose It

blog-fitness-110217Remember the old-school exercise gurus: Jack Lalanne, Jane Fonda, Richard Simmons? These celebrities preached the benefits of physical activity decades before workout clothes and yoga pants were everyone’s weekend, and in some cases, weekday uniforms. Lately it seems like we live in exercise clothes (more on that later) but how many of us really exercise? If you don’t work up a regular sweat or at least stay moderately active, you should. There are important benefits to regular exercise for everyone, but especially for seniors.

According to Livestrong.com, seniors will improve their mobility, heart health and mood with regular exercise. Cardiovascular activity, no matter what level, from a slow walk to a fast run, is a great idea for every age. As we get older and our metabolism slows down, staying physically active is even more important to fight weight gain and retain strength. Most gyms, and in fact our own fitness and aquatic center at Eastcastle Place, provides a menu of options including cardio and weight machines along with a variety of classes.

Think you need a gym or class to get the benefits of exercise? Think again. Take a walk at your own pace, or put on your favorite tunes and dance.

Better Health offers a slew of great suggestions on how we can all become more active in our everyday lives. Some of them include:

  1. Taking the stairs instead of the elevator
  2. Parking far from your destination
  3. Walking to do daily errands

A trip to the grocery store to peruse the aisles counts as activity, so does doing laundry, and washing dishes. Pretty much any type of housework that keeps you moving is great. What doesn’t count? Sitting at your computer or in front of your TV, so minimize screen time to maximize health.

The best exercises for seniors according to Everyday Health.com include a combination of cardio (running, walking, dancing) and strength (lunges, squats, weightlifting, yoga).

Two very important things to keep in mind when starting an exercise program:

  1. Check with your doctor to make sure you’re healthy enough for an exercise program
  2. Start slowly and increase your time and build up your intensity

What should you wear to exercise in? Three words: comfort, comfort, comfort. Think leggings or yoga pants and comfortable t-shirts with jackets, not pajamas or baggy sweats. You want your clothes to offer mobility but not be so loose and baggy that they get in the way of your ability to move freely. Another tip: if you’re planning to sweat, avoid 100% cotton which absorbs sweat and stays damp. Instead pick dry-fit fabrics like nylon or rayon that wick sweat away and keep you dry and comfortable. Need inspiration? Zestnow.com’s put together a selection of cute workout clothes from a variety of companies, for the over 50 crowd. Take a look, then hit the stores for a workout clothes shopping spree. Bonus: shopping counts as exercise!

Check out our own events calendar to add Eastcastle Place’s trips and activities to your calendar.