Now that you know several types of physical activity and have set your goals, you are ready to start! This chapter has tips to help you start your program, resume your activities if you have had to interrupt them, stay active and over time, to increase the level of activity.
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Include physical activity in your daily life
To produce benefits, it is necessary that physical activity be a continuous and permanent habit. Again, the key word is you. To ensure success from the start, choose activities you like, exercise wisely, keep track of your progress to see the level of your achievements, and establish an activity routine that matches your personal lifestyle. Here are several ways to make physical activity a normal part of your daily life.
Make it a priority. Many of us have busy lives and it is easy to put physical activity at the bottom of the “list” of things we have to do. However, remember: staying active is one of the most important things you can do on a daily basis to maintain and improve your health. Include physical activities throughout your day. Try to do some physical activity early in the morning, before you start your busy day. Think about the time you have to exercise as if it were a special appointment and mark it on the calendar.
Make it easy. You are more likely to do exercises if they are easy to do. Place the 2-pound dumbbells on par with your favourite chair so you can do some lifting exercises while watching TV. Walk back and forth the soccer field during your grandchild’s game. Walk around the mall or all the aisles of the supermarket when you go shopping. When you go to pick up the mail, go around the block. Become a member of a gym near your home. Do more of the activities you currently like and know how to do. Older adults in a group exercise class
Make it a social activity. Invite a friend or relative to participate in this project. Many people recognise that having an “exercise partner” helps them stay in the physical activity program. If you still do not have an exercise partner, try joining a walking club at your local shopping centre or an exercise class at a nearby senior centre. Take a walk at lunch with a co-worker.
Make it interesting and fun. Do the things you enjoy and increase the level of effort. If you love being outdoors, try biking, fishing, jogging or hiking. While you are walking or working in the garden, listen to a compact disc containing music or reading a book.
Above all, make it an active decision. Take advantage of the opportunities. Choose to do activities in various places and in several ways:
- When you are unpacking supermarket groceries, strengthen your arms by lifting the carton of milk or a 1-pound can several times before storing them.
- When shopping, develop your stamina by parking the car in the far part of the parking lot and then walking quickly to the store. Or get off the bus one or two stops before your usual stop.
- Instead of calling or emailing a colleague at work, go see him in person and use the stairs!
- Go up and down the stairs of your house a few more times to strengthen your legs and develop resistance.
- Try to do some of your errands on foot instead of using the car.
- Do several things at once to stay active:
- When you are in line waiting, practice your balance skills by standing with one foot for a few seconds and then doing the same with the other foot. Gradually increase the amount of time on each foot.
- When you are talking on the phone, stand up and do a few leg lifts or stand on tiptoe to strengthen your legs.
- When you are waiting for the coffee to be ready or for your spouse to finish getting ready to go out, do a few push-ups against the wall or a few stretches of the calves.
Try to do all four types of exercises
Most people tend to focus on an activity or type of exercise and think they are doing enough. The goal is to be creative and choose exercises from each of the four types we have mentioned: resistance, strengthening, balance and flexibility. Combine them will help you get the benefits of each type of exercise and also reduce the monotony and risk of injury. You can use the weekly Plan of exercises and physical activities to record your activities.
If you lift weights, alternate these exercises by walking on the treadmill or using an immobile bicycle. Finish your routine by doing stretching exercises.
If you focus primarily on endurance activities, be sure to add stretching, balancing or strengthening exercises to your routine. If you want to do strengthening exercises every day, alternate groups of muscles or exercise all the muscles of a group every two days. See the weekly Plan of exercises and physical activities.
Prepare for interruptions in your routine
Aging can mean more time to travel and visit children and grandchildren or spend vacations outside of where you live. People retire and seek to live in new homes or even in different parts of the country. Sometimes unexpected things happen; For example, someone in the family gets sick and you assume the responsibility of caring for that person, or a loved one dies. All of these events can interrupt your physical activity routine.
These interruptions can make it difficult and even impossible to maintain your usual activities. But it can start again. Here are some ideas to help you stay active or start over if you have had to interrupt your routine.
- Do not be too hard on yourself. There will be periods when you do not want to do exercises or feel that it is very difficult to do them. You are not the only one; We all feel that way from time to time. But try to return to your activities as soon as possible. The sooner you return to do some activity, the better you feel and the easier it will be to resume the routine.
- Talk with your doctor about when you can resume your usual routine if you have stopped exercising due to illness or new symptoms.
- Think about the reasons why you started exercising and the goals you set. Remembering your motives and appreciating how much you have accomplished can help you recharge your batteries and start over.
- Ask your relatives and friends to help you. Sometimes, you may want to have an exercise partner; other times, maybe all you need to do is listen to some words of encouragement.
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