Thursday, 27 September 2012

Don't let age slow you down!

Many of you may not know that the International Council on Active Aging celebrates Active Aging Week, from September 23-29.  A lot people participate in this annual event, with this year's theme being many journeys, many destinations.  To celebrate this week, we are giving some tips for healthy, active living, so you don't have to let age slow you down!

1. Determine your participation style - Do you prefer being with a running group/fitness class or do you like to fly solo?  Do you like indoor or outdoor fitness?  How much time can you dedicate to your fitness routine?

2. Warm-up - Before any exercise, your body needs time to adjust to the upcoming workout.  Be sure to take your time, rushing through your warm-up routine can increase your chance of an injury.

3.  Strength training - Don't be alarmed, you don't need to be a body builder to lift weights.  Starting with small weights and gradually working your way up will do wonders for an aging body.  Many studies have shown that strength training aids in maintaining muscular mass, benefits your joints and increases your metabolism. 

4. Take a Yoga, Pilates, or stretching class - These low impact classes are gaining in popularity with our aging population.  They are also a form of strength training and as an added benefit, help your balance which can reduce falls.  One class a week is good, but if you can add a daily stretching routine on top of it, you'll be doing your body a favour.

5. Eat a balanced diet - We hear this all the time, but it gets even more important as we age.  Try to get as many leafy greens, vegetables, nuts and fish as you can.  All are excellent sources of vitamins and minerals and will give you the energy you need to stay active.

6. Take your vitamins - If you can get enough vitamins through food, vitamin B12, vitamin C, vitamin E, vitamin D and omega 3's can all be taken as a supplement and are great additions to a balanced diet.

7. Get some sleep - Yes, exercise is important, but it's also essential to let your body recover.  Take a 15 - 20  minute nap each day; put your feet up, turn off the phone and let your body relax for a bit.

8. Regular medical care - Seeing your doctor for regularly scheduled visits is important for everyone.  Even if you are an athlete, we are all prone to the everyday problems of aging.

Exercise is beneficial to everyone, including those with chronic pain or special mobility needs. Even moderate activity can improve your quality of life so get out there, get moving and above all, have some fun!