Having recently completed Family Day in Canada we have been focusing on family fitness and with that comes parents and fitness for people as they age in general. In our recent Ipsos Reid poll we discovered that the most active household members were children at 69%, followed by male parents and then female parents. We also learned that 57% of parents would say that they are less active now than when they were younger. This makes sense if you think about all the access to fitness and even mandated activity time in your day when you were growing up. Also as we age we tend to get more aches and pains but did you know that being active can often reduce some of the discomfort you feel? By strengthening your muscles it helps support your musco-skeletal system and relieves some of the strain on your joints.
- Running or Walking on a treadmill: if you used to be a runner but now you have bad knees or ankles you should look into a treadmill with a quality deck. This will alleviate much of the strain that results from walking or running outdoors. You should also look into good orthotics and shoes with proper arch support.
- A rowing machine: As you get to adjust the resistance to whatever feels comfortable, you don’t have to worry about getting yourself into an “up the river without a paddle” type situation. There is also a very smooth sliding seat which is how you work your legs while also focusing on your arms. Get a water rower to set a more zen environment and mimic the sounds of rushing water.
- Swimming: Either swimming laps on your own or joining an aquafit class can be great ways to stay active without straining your joints. The water provides a natural resistance and there are many different movements to focus on different parts of the body.
- Yoga: Yoga will help you with flexibility and strength in a setting that is supportive and calming. Ensure you choose the best yoga for you, Iyengar yoga, Kripalu yoga, or Viniyoga focus on finding the safest, most precise alignment for each student in every pose and may be the best starting style for older people or those who are a bit out of shape.
- Ellipticals: You can try both traditional ellipticals or those like the S7100 that mimic a hiking motion as opposed to the traditional ski stride motion. These are again easier on your joints and result in less injuries or strains. Again as you can adjust the level and stop when you need, it is a much more controlled way to stay or get fit.
- Stationary Bikes (including spin bikes): Indoor bikes tend to be a more compact way of getting your cardio without the strain on your joints. Again you can adjust the resistance to your preferred level and you are in the safety of your own home without the hard concrete under your feet. There are many different types of indoor bikes to choose from recumbent bikes, upright bikes and spin bikes so you can choose the one that is the most comfortable for you.
As we get older we may have more free time, depending on where we are on our life’s path. If you are a parent with younger kids you may find this article helpful. But once your kids grow up and even move out of the house or if you don’t have kids but are able to take more time off work, there are certain benefits that you achieve with age. However we can sometimes using aging as an excuse…WELL DON’T. Here are some ways that you can increase your fitness in every day life.
- Take the stairs over the elevator or escalator. I always write this….so I am not going to stop now. A small but helpful change indeed.
- Go on walking or biking tours when you travel. It is easy to get on a bus and learn about the wonders of a new city but walking along the Ocean or main street of a new place can be both rewarding and more culturally rich.
- Do you have a local store you can walk to instead of driving to a larger grocer? It can be nice to walk out for an item or two on a nice sunny day, enjoy the fresh air and people watch. You don’t always need to go to the bigger guys just for some butter.
- Having a dog is another great way to stay active as you need to take them for walks or even hikes. Puppies are quite a commitment though so if you don’t have one yet, you may want to get one that is a little older and house broken.