Exercise is good for the body! You’ve heard the mantra for years. But that still doesn’t mean you don’t cringe at the word “exercise.”
With studies showing physical activity to be the No. 1 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 that make it easy to incorporate physical activity into daily living.
3 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 daily walk can provide many health benefits. Think of other easy ways to add in physical activity, such as taking the stairs or walking hallways more often throughout the day.
- Think outside the box. Staying active isn’t just about running, biking, yoga, etc. It’s also important to stay active socially and mentally, especially as we age.
“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 whole-person wellness.
How to Get Started Exercising at Any Age
Aronica’s No. 1 tip to help you get started on a new fitness of healthy living plan is “comradery.”
Whatever you choose, do it together. Have a buddy or co-worker join you walking the hallways or climbing the stairs each day. Spend time with your parent by going for a walk at a local park. Encourage your parent 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 you consume each day.
Employees at Maine Veterans’ Homes recently had a wellness session on this very topic. Many people simply don’t realize the amount of sugar in their diet and how quickly they can exceed the recommended no more than 25 grams of added sugar in a day. In fact, 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.
Maine Veterans’ Homes is an independent nonprofit organization serving Maine’s veterans and families. For more information, contact Maine Veterans’ Homes online or give us a call at 800-278-9494. We also welcome you and your family to explore employment or volunteer opportunities with us.