As a running enthusiast, I’ve always been passionate about pursuing a healthy and active lifestyle. In fact, I just completed my second Flying Pig Half-Marathon this past May in Cincinnati, Ohio!
Running helps keep me at my best by lowering my stress, boosting my energy and increasing my focus … but the benefits of exercise continue long after I’ve completed my workout.
Recent studies now show that being proactive about your health today can help ward off a host of diseases later on down the road, including Alzheimer’s, arthritis, cancer, diabetes and heart disease.
Especially as you age, regular exercise plays a critical role in your ability to maintain your independence. A sedentary lifestyle can cause older adults to regress in four areas that are important for staying healthy and independent:
But you don’t have to be a runner to reap the benefits of exercise! There are plenty of ways to stay active with little to no impact on your joints, including:
- Walking – Get out and enjoy the fresh air! Take your dog for a walk or grab a buddy to keep you company. Not only will you benefit from working your cardiovascular system, but the extra Vitamin D from the sun can help protect you from some forms of cancer, and socializing with a pal can help boost your spirits!
- Yoga – This trend is quickly gaining momentum all over the country because you can begin at any stage in your life and see results! The benefits of yoga are multifold for seniors – yoga helps to improve your balance and flexibility, while reducing stress. Plus, it’s low-impact, making it a great choice for expectant mothers and elderly participants. Check out your local recreation center to see if it offers classes, and find the style of yoga that fits your lifestyle!
- Swimming/water aerobics – Again, this is a great activity if you’re looking for a low-impact exercise. Summer is the perfect time to take a dip in the pool and cool off, and your “weightlessness” in the water makes this activity easy on your joints.
- Elliptical bikes – This activity combines the basics of the elliptical trainer and stationery bike to result in a safe, effective workout machine for seniors who are looking for a low-impact alternative to running or cycling. Your local recreation center or community gym likely offers these machines.
Just remember, if you don’t use it, you lose it! Maintaining an active lifestyle now will help you enjoy your independence well into your Golden Years!