Just say no to sedentary lifestyle in your golden years. If you have led a life that has been void of exercise and healthy eating you may be experiencing some minor or even major difficulties as you approach your 60’s and 70’s. While you can’t change what you haven’t done, it is never too late to change where you are right now to improve your quality of life.

One of the first steps you can take is to start some kind of exercise program. Even if you’ve been told to slow down, take it easy, you’re not as young as you used to be, it’s still important to stay active. Being active helps your bones stay strong, your heart healthy, and keeps your metabolism working. This is just to name a few benefits!

Due to sedentary lifestyles, many older adults reach their maximum ability just doing normal everyday activities such as climbing stairs, walking, or just standing up. This has put more than one-third of adults at risk for mobility problems and falls. Surveys show that only 32% of adults over 60 follow a regular exercise program and an even smaller percentage for ages 45-60. This explains many health problems that occur as you become older.

One of the first things to consider when planning a safe and effective activity of your liking is to assess your starting point. If you are extremely overweight, or likewise have been extremely inactive for a long period of time, you definitely want to listen to your body as you start moving. You also might want to consult your doctor if you are having outside medical issues that would interfere with or impact any type of physical activity.

To start, a good questionnaire that helps you assess your starting point can be found at http://www.topendsports.com/fitness/parq.htm. If you answer yes to any of the questions, it is important to consult a physician before beginning any exercise program. If you honestly answered no to all of the questions, you can do another test to help assess your mobility, physical movement, and strength.

There are many tests that are available free on the internet. I have included 2 to help you get started. The first one is http://www.topendsports.com/testing/senior-fitness-test.htm. Another very similar test can be found at http://www.interactivehealthpartner.com/pdf/fft_overview.pdf.

Both of these tests will assess where your upper body and lower body strength and flexibility lie, as well as some very basic aerobic assessment. Some activities require a partner and simple items such as a chair, so take your time, be prepared, and follow the instructions carefully.

Once you have assessed where you can start, it is time to begin exercising! This can be as simple as short walks, moving around the house, or riding a bike. Based on where you are, it is important to start moving however small it may seem like at first. Walk to get the mail or walk the driveway back and forth. If there are steps in your house, you may be capable of walking up and down them a few times slowly. Again, it is very important to not doing anything until you have determined that your body can handle it. Once that is determined, you still need to pay attention to what your body is saying. Any warning signs should always be heeded. Shortness of breath, dizziness, loss of balance, etc. All things that need to be addressed.

We know that physical decline in aging is not just the result of getting old, but also a result of becoming less active. The good news is that our bodies are created to repair and maintain themselves when they are treated with the proper care through regular physical activity, exercise, and healthy nutrition.

It is important to continue doing the things you love and that bring you happiness. You will live a much more qualified life if you Just Say No to being sedentary. It’s time to start today!

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