Exercise is good for the body! You’ve heard this mantra for years. But that still doesn’t mean you don’t cringe at the word “exercise.”
With studies showing physical activity to be a top contributor to longevity, it’s worth finding ways to add fitness into your life or to help a loved one stay motivated to be active every day.
Joanna Aronica, Wellness Manager at Maine Veterans’ Homes, points to three tips to incorporate physical activity into daily living.
Simple Ways to Add Fitness into Your Day
Find a hobby you enjoy. There are easy ways for seniors and older adults to exercise without going to the gym.
Whether it’s for you or you’re trying to encourage your parent to stay active, this tip applies to all: find something you enjoy and you’re more likely to do it. You and/or your parent can gain physical activity through gardening, playing with the grandchildren, taking a class together or volunteering.
Take a leisurely stroll through an area state park, Aronica advises. They’re beautiful, peaceful and Veterans get free admission.
Keep it simple. Exercise doesn’t have to be time consuming nor expensive. A 5-10 minute walk a couple times a day can provide many health benefits. Think of other easy ways to add in physical activity, such as taking the stairs, parking farther away from your destination or simply walking the hallways several times a day.Think outside the box. Staying healthy and active isn’t just about deliberate physical fitness. Your social connections with family and friends can do wonders for your health and longevity.
“Many older women grew up sewing and still enjoy it,” Aronica says. “Sewing can be a great way to stimulate the mind.” This could lead to joining a sewing circle and opportunities for outings and socialization.
Don’t get stuck on just physical activity. Think of creative ways to encourage overall well-being.
How to Get Started Exercising at Any Age
Aronica’s No. 1 tip to help you get started on your fitness journey is “camaraderie.”
Whatever you choose, do it together. Have a buddy or co-worker join you for a walk. Spend time with family out in nature. Encourage your parents to participate in activities at his or her long-term care facility or nursing home.
Staying active and healthy can be fun too!
Why Healthy Living is Important Throughout Life
Regular physical activity:
- Reduces the risk of type 2 diabetes, heart disease, stroke and some cancers.
- Keeps the body balanced and flexible to help prevent injuries and falls.
- Helps maintain a healthy body weight.
- Improves your mood.
- Improves your ability to think, learn and make decisions.
A final healthy living tip from Aronica: Pay attention to the amount of added sugar and preservatives you consume each day. Unprocessed, whole foods should fill your plate at each meal.
Employees at Maine Veterans’ Homes are often invited to wellness sessions on this very topic. Many people simply don’t realize the amount of sugar and unnecessary additives in their diet. Added sugar shouldn’t exceed 24 grams (6 teaspoons) a day for women and 36 grams (9 teaspoons) a day for men. Did you know, a single blueberry muffin can contain a whopping 38 grams of sugar?
Swap that blueberry muffin for a quick walk to add years to your life, and life to your years.
About Maine Veterans' Homes
Wellness is important at Maine Veterans' Homes. Each of our six Homes has staff in the activities and dietary departments that plan healthy exercises - for the body and mind - and nutritious meals and snacks for residents. In addition, each Home, and the organization's Central Office, has wellness coordinators who provide resources for employees when it comes to healthy living. Learn more about our Homes >>>