It’s no secret that as we get older mobility becomes more and more important. At 90, it’s likely our biggest concern.
As we age we might notice our strength waning, balance deteriorating and our endurance more and more limited.
The nice thing, however, is that the solution to avoiding loss of mobility up to 90 and beyond is simple: exercise.
Now, if you’re like me, your vision of yourself at 90 years old doesn’t include running on a treadmill or throwing around heavy weights. Nope. Nuh uh. Pass. If I made it this far I deserve rest. In fact, my dream for 90 is sitting on the couch watching reruns of The Office that surely won’t hold up 55 years from now (if they even hold up today). Do me a kindness and don’t do that math.
The reality is though, fitness should be a part of that dream. If I want to be around at 90, let along strong enough to get to my couch with relative ease, it should. And it should stay a part of my life…well, right up until the end…oof, we’ll let that existential crisis have its moment another day.
Does that mean I should be taking my fragile 90 year old hips for a HIIT session on my futuristic treadmill? Heck no. Though, there are some 90 year olds out there running marathons today (and I marvel at them). What it does mean? Even at 90 we should be focused on moving and maintaining a certain level of physical fitness. This fitness should: 1) work within our day to day life, and 2) adhere to our limitations while challenging us.
Ok, so now that we’ve established that physical fitness should be a component of every seniors’ life, forever, duh, let’s talk about what that looks like.
Step 1: Check with your doctor
First, it’s a very rare occurrence that a doctor will tell a person to abstain from exercise completely. However, it’s always important to get your doctor’s go ahead before starting any new fitness regime (even if you’re planning on working out with a professional). Your doctor can give you a better idea of what is right for you based on your medical history.
Even if you’ve been working out for a long time, make sure to regularly check in with your doctor. Things can change in an instant and it’s always better to be safe, not sorry.
Looking to change up your program? Awesome. Now is a fantastic time to call and make an appointment. I’ll wait.
Step 2: Wake up every morning with the right mindset
Second, now that you have the doctor’s ok (if you didn’t already), wake up knowing that you can do this. It is never too late to be healthy.
In my eight years of personal training, I have found that the number one thing holding people back from getting started with any type of fitness is mindset. They don’t believe they can do it. People think they are too injured, too weak, TOO OLD. I’m here to tell you that none of those excuses are valid.
Exercise is not something that a person gets good at overnight. You don’t lift weights once and wake up the next day looking or lifting like The Rock. It doesn’t work that way. Everyone has to start somewhere. For many, not seeing immediate results fuels their misconception that fitness isn’t right for them. You can work out for weeks and see little progress but then, all of a sudden, each week that passes you’ll notice that things are changing. Things feel lighter, you can run a bit farther, breathe easier during that HIIT workout, fasten your belt on a tighter notch. It’s consistency that really unlocks the benefits of exercise and all you have to do to experience it is wake up knowing that you can.
Step 3: Work within your limits
Third, if your doctor clears you for physical activity, you probably have some idea of your limits. It’s likely that if you have high blood pressure, arthritis or another ailment your doctor has given you pretty specific dos and don’ts. Make sure that when creating your fitness routine you adhere to these guidelines. Furthermore, if you’re working with a personal trainer, tell them what your doctor has said as soon as possible. That’s information they need to help you workout safely.
If you reach a point where you think you want to drastically change up what you are doing, make sure to check back in with your doctor.
This advice is no different if you’ve been working out for a long time and are just looking to maintain the status quo. By this point though you probably better know your own limits. Do you have arthritis and certain exercises cause flare ups? Maybe you have anxiety and cardio only makes you feel worse? Have you got high blood pressure and burpees make you feel sick? Skip those things. Tell your trainer. Do the things that make you feel strong and healthy.
Step 4: Make sure you’re doing the right stuff
According to the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), seniors should be focusing on:
- 30 minutes of moderate to intense exercise 5 days a week (or 150 minutes total)
- Cycling, brisk walking, swimming, etc
- 2 days of strength training
- Lifting weights, using resistance bands, pushing a lawn mower, etc
- Mobility, balance training and stretching 7-days a week
- Yoga, walking backwards, balancing on one foot, etc
- balance training becomes especially important as we age and should never be neglected. It only takes one fall to put your life in serious jeopardy. Learn more about how you can reduce your risk of falling by reading our blog “Falls: Probable or Preventable”
Ultimately, if you can’t commit to working out?
Move more. It doesn’t matter what you’re doing, “motion is lotion”. Take the stairs. Stretch when you get up in the morning. Do a few squats while waiting for the microwave to beep. The more movement we can work into our days, the more our bodies will thank us for it. After all, movement helps us maintain healthy body weight, lubricates joints and tendons, strengthens muscles and reduces the risk for a whole host of diseases. There isn’t enough time here to include the whole list of benefits. Just move and you’ll feel the difference.
So, if you are looking to add a home gym to your space so that you can work more movement into your day, never hesitate to contact us! We’re also here to help facilitate the best program for you, no matter what your current fitness level, to help you achieve all of your wellness goals.
Or, just have questions? Email us!