Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Busting the Boomer's Barriers to Exercising (What Are Your Excuses for Not Moving Your Butt?)

Since this blog is directed toward boomers, I'm going to deal with the biggest excuse (barrier) boomers have for not being more active.


In case you forgot, these are the health benefits of increased activity (straight from Dr. Oz's Realage/sharecare web site):

Thirty minutes of moderate activity each day (or at least 4 or 5 days a week) can help to:
  • Reduce high blood pressure
  • Prevent heart disease
  • Reduce risk of stroke
  • Lower cholesterol levels
  • Reduce total and visceral fat
  • Improve cardiovascular function
  • Reduce risk of colon cancer
  • Prevent osteoporosis
  • Reduce risk of developing type 2 diabetes and improve health outcomes for those with diabetes
  • Reduce risk of depression, elevate mood
  • Support restful sleep
  • Reduce tension and increase energy


According to this article, the biggest boomer excuse for not exercising is as follows:

I'm getting older, don't know what to do at my age, and am worried about injury.

Yup, those are real concerns. Here's the good doctor's response (with my editorial and hopefully helpful info in blue type.

It's never too late to get active. Regular physical activity will help keep you strong as you age, making it easier to remain active and be independent longer. For most older people, moderate activity is safe. Moderate physical activity should cause a slight increase in heart rate and breathing. It should feel somewhat challenging, but you should still be able to carry on a conversation without difficulty.

Examples of moderate-intensity activities include:
  • Playing tennis (doubles)
  • Raking leaves or sweeping the patio
  • Walking laps in a pool
  • Walking briskly
Check with your doctor before beginning an exercise program for the first time. Your doctor can help you design a program that takes into account any physical limitations or medical conditions you have. A well-designed exercise program should be able to accommodate just about any special circumstances.

Build up your level of activity gradually to help prevent sore muscles or injury. Listen to your body, and don't try to do too much too soon. If something is painful or seems impossibly difficult, ease up or find a less intense activity.

Three Tips to Get Started:

  1. Block out some walking time. Walk around the block each morning or every evening after dinner. Walking is a simple and effective way to be active. You don't need any special equipment, just sturdy walking shoes. If you are worried about hurting yourself, recruit a friend, family member, or neighbor to walk with you. Having someone close by who can assist you, if needed, can bring peace of mind. If the weather is bad, buy an indoor walking DVD. See Leslie Sansone's DVD: Start! Walking At Home with Leslie Sansone: Beginner/Intermediate - 1 and 2 Mile Walk

  2. Focus on your flexibility. You may benefit greatly from flexibility exercises and can spend more time doing these and less time doing cardio, if you prefer. And strength and flexibility exercises can help protect you from injury. Simple stretches work fine. For some variety, find out whether your local community center offers dance classes for older adults. Dancing can build balance, flexibility, strength, and aerobic fitness. You can also build balance skills with either instructional videos or structured classes on yoga or tai chi. Or check out the simple flexibility exercises in this book: Age Defying Fitness: Making the Most of Your Body for the Rest of Your Life

  3. Seek water. Swimming and aqua aerobics are good options if you have aching joints, arthritis, or certain physical limitations. Water activities can build aerobic fitness, muscle strength, and flexibility. And because the water supports most of your weight, water activities won't be jarring on your joints. 

If these tips don't jumpstart your fitness program, don't give up. The options are endless, and with appropriate guidance from fitness and healthcare experts, you should have all the tools and support you need to work out safely and effectively.

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