Regardless of how old you are, what your current level is, or what preexisting conditions you might have - staying fit is one of the most important things you can do for yourself throughout your life and into retirement.
Fitness isn’t about finding some idealised version of yourself. Instead, it’s about finding an attainable routine that helps you live a fuller life by the benefits it brings you; given your individual abilities, needs, and your schedule.
It’s never too late to start - Babysteps
The older we get, the more intentional we have to be to make it a reality. If you’re someone who hasn’t been consistent in recent days, weeks, or even years - please don’t let your current track record or your current reasons.
It’s all about taking baby steps. Even if the first step is taking a walk - make the second or third walk be to the gym. Not to start exercising, but maybe just to check out the facilities and their equipment. Then perhaps on the next walk, you can do some stretching. You see where I’m going with this. It’s all about being in it for the long haul.
Why staying fit matters
No matter how old you are or what your motivation is, staying in shape as you age is perhaps the single greatest favour you can do for your future self. Maybe you’re 70, and you want to age in place independently, or perhaps you’re 30, and you want to be able to enjoy your nights out without worrying about gaining weight.
Define what motivates you and remind yourself of it
While the list of health advantages is long, these are my favourite 3 reasons for maintaining a regular exercise routine:
- It reduces stress and anxiety and promotes mental well-being
- It reduces the effects of aging by ramping up my metabolism (which also keep my weight in check)
- It increases my energy, endurance, and promotes better sleep
My dad, the athlete
I’ve been active in outdoor activities or organised team sports my entire life. I’m currently in my thirties, and I plan on maintaining an active lifestyle my whole life. It’s the greatest gift my dad gave to me growing up.
The picture on the top of the post is of my dad who turned 70 recently. He goes to the gym at least 5 times a week, sometimes more, in addition to regularly going cycling.
It’s never too late, in fact, quite the opposite!
Studies have shown that seniors that exercise regularly tend to live as much as 5 years longer1. The benefits of picking up exercising are more beneficial to seniors than to younger generations.
The same study also found that all it takes is 30 minutes of daily moderate-intensity exercise, and the effects are comparable, giving up smoking.
Consistency > Intensity
For overall health, there are few better alternatives than a regular fitness regimen that includes exercises by supporting our body weight against the force of gravity. A few examples that you can start doing today include walking, running, yoga, and strength exercises such as squats.
Stay fit to prevent the “vicious cycle.”
When you exercise regularly and become stronger, your balance also improves. This will make you less vulnerable to falls and injuries. This is what often send seniors to the hospital, which can have a high likelihood of kicking off a cycle of inactivity, new accidents, and further decreased mobility.
Long distance care(giv)ing - Add to the quality and quantity of their years
As long-distance caregivers, encouraging our loved ones to stay active can be tremendously effective.
How to do this is very individual, you need to find what works for your family - as an example, one of my friends recently bought her mom a wearable. She consistently nudges her on taking her 10,000 daily steps or asks her if she’s on track with her weekly goal.
Maybe you can set up a family challenge and see who walks the most steps in a week :muscle:
Mon Tonton - wellness community for our aging loved ones
We want to help you start and maintain a healthy lifestyle. Reach out to find out what we can do for you!