With the new year upon us, it’s a popular time to think about goals and resolutions for 2019. If you’re thinking about improving your health and fitness (which, you’ve got to admit, most people do during this time of year,) consider the newly released Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans. Published by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services this past November, it offers updated, evidence-based recommendations for people of all ages. The guidelines outline the amounts and types of exercise needed for multiple age groups. Here, we’re going to focus on the newest guidelines for older adults and offer tips on how to easily attain them this year and beyond.
Move more, sit less
Unfortunately, more Americans are leading increasingly sedentary lifestyles. That inactivity raises the risks of illnesses such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease, stroke, osteoporosis, depression, cancer, and even early death. To offset those chances, it’s important to move more and sit less. If you’re watching your favorite TV show, march in place during the commercials. Instead of meeting a friend for lunch, go for a walk together at the park or around Soleil. Or take up a new fitness class. Doing something is always better than doing nothing.
For the maximum benefit, the guidelines state that older adults should aim for the following:
- Two-and-a-half to five hours a week of moderate-intensity exercise (such as brisk walking, dancing, or gardening.)
- 75 minutes to two-and-half hours a week of vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity (such as tennis, bicycling, or aerobics.)
- An equivalent combination of moderate and vigorous-intensity aerobic activity.
In all cases, avoid doing it all at one time. Your aerobic activity should be spread out throughout the week. Also, don’t feel like you have to stop right at the five-hour mark. You’ll gain additional health benefits if you do more — but always check with your health professional before starting any new exercise routine. Don’t overdo it. Start low and go slow. Your level of effort should match your level of fitness, and you should only be as physically active as your abilities and conditions allow.
Add strength training to your routine
Incorporating muscle-strengthening exercises twice a week is the goal for adults. Aim to involve all muscle groups as well, not just one “problem-area.” These exercises make your muscles stronger, of course, but they also increase your stability and make your bones stronger too. These last two factors are especially important as we age.
Fortunately for us at Soleil, we have lots of fantastic resources to help navigate your way to better health and fitness in the new year. Gina Beckwith is our highly knowledgeable (and friendly) fitness instructor. She has her older adult and senior fitness certifications, so if you need some guidance, she’s happy to help. Plus, we have both indoor and outdoor pools, tennis and pickleball facilities, walking trails, a well-equipped fitness center, and so much more. Why not stop by and see for yourself? We’d love to take you on a tour and show you the way to a better, healthier life here at Soleil. Contact us today.