By Joli Guenther, MSSW, NASM
Perhaps more than any previous generation, baby boomers are committed to staying active as they age. Although we know that exercise is essential for a long life and physical health, recent research is beginning to demonstrate its importance for maintaining memory and mental health over the long term. Unfortunately, only about half of the baby boomer generation is exercising as much as they need to. If you're looking to stay healthy and strong as you age, try some of these tips for developing a fitness routine at home.
Keep it Consistent. Consistency is the most important part of ensuring the success of your fitness routine. Brisk walking on your treadmill, cycling on your recumbent bike, and using your elliptical in the comfort of your home are all great ways to maintain cardiovascular fitness that will benefit your body and your brain. A good program will have you exercising for at least half an hour most days of the week to maintain your fitness. If you're looking to lose weight through exercise, you need to gradually increase that time to 60-90 minutes most days. If you can't fit it in all at once, try scheduling exercise breaks of at least ten minutes throughout your day.
Balance Your Workouts. Cardio is important, but a good routine will also include strength and flexibility training to decrease injury and promote skeletal and muscular health. You don't need to schedule separate workouts to get the benefit of these types of training. Try including some body weight exercises (such as push-ups and squats) after you've warmed up with a bit of cardio exercise. This will help you maintain better form and burn more calories during your workouts. If you're looking to add some weight to your workouts, resistance bands are widely available and easy to use at home or on the road. Flexibility training can be added to the end of your workouts to avoid injury and balance any tight areas of your body. Click here for more tips on creating a balanced fitness routine.
Enjoyment. Sticking with your fitness routine is much easier if you're having fun. Find activities you like and ways to make your routine enjoyable. Many models of Horizon Fitness Equipment come equipped with docking stations that allow you to include music in your workouts and personal fans to make your workouts more comfortable. Teaming up with a friend or partner for weekend activities or joining in on an athletic fundraising event, such as a heart walk or cancer prevention fundraiser, can be a great way to keep your motivation high and add social connections to your workouts.
Avoiding Injury. It’s more possible to have fun with your fitness routine when you avoid injury. Although a consistent, balanced routine will go a long way, you should also check with your doctor for advice on how to begin the right program for you. Start your workouts slowly with a warm-up of your planned activity and include gentle slow stretching after your workout to reduce soreness the next day. If you're noticing sharp pains or inflammation associated with your workout, it's time to get a doctor's opinion. And finally, remember to schedule some rest between workouts. Strength training should not be done more frequently than every other day and hard workouts should be limited to two or three times per week. Click here for more ways to avoid injury.
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