While we all know how important it is to move our bodies, many of us have become more sedentary as we age due to an office job where we sit most of the day, time spent on the computer, time spent watching TV, and just not carving out the time for our health. My idea of exercise these days has changed from years past. I no longer feel the need or desire to do intense cardio for 30 - 45 minutes every day. I must admit, walking and stretching each day have provided me with more flexibility and a positive attitude. Pilates, Yoga and Tai Chi are my new favorites in terms of giving me the confidence in knowing that my body is becoming younger every day.
Make Gravity Your Friend
While gravity tends to pull things downward, which is not always great for certain body parts, we can use this force to our benefit. Here are a few ways to do this:
- Stand up from a chair a few times a day; do you use your arms to help you up
- Take your time in sitting down - go very slowly, resisting gravity
- When you bend down to pick something up, bend your knees and rise up slowly
- Use the stairs instead of the elevator - especially going down the stairs
Make stretching a big part of your exercise routine. If you can't get to a gym or a yoga/Pilates class, do some stretching at home. One important thing you can do is stretch before you get out of the bed in the morning. When babies wake up, the first thing they do is stretch. Dogs and cats do the same thing. We have forgotten this important part of staying healthy! Instead, we jump out of bed as soon as the alarm goes off. Remember, as you age, your muscles tighten and the range of motion in your joints diminishes. Also, when you stretch, make it last -- extend the stretch and hold it for at least 30 seconds -- no bouncing.
Don't Become Like the Tin Man from The Wizard of Oz
You remember how he couldn't move when he stayed in one position for too long? Well, don't let that happen to you. Continue to move your body in ways that honor how you feel each day. Functional activities like gardening, house cleaning, grocery shopping, etc., are all ways to move your body. If you want to sit to watch a movie, keep your water bottle (or popcorn!) in the next room so you have to get up to get them.
What is your favorite way to exercise?