No matter your age, it’s never too late to start an exercise program. As we age, our muscle function can decline, our energy can decrease, and our attention span can become limited. The best way to counteract these things and build up your confidence and enthusiasm is to be active both physically and mentally.
Want a healthy and fun way to do that? Join a group dance or fitness class. It’s fun to be with your peers and it’s a great opportunity to be active and social. You will feel like you belong to something and are with people who enjoy similar interests. Workout classes help build your confidence and self-esteem, create a positive attitude, and keep you motivated. As I say to my students, “We are all in this together”.
You will want to find a class that incorporates the three essential components of total fitness — stretching, strengthening and aerobics. However, you don’t need to wait for a class to get started! Here are some sample exercises for each component:
- Stretching: Warm-up and cool down exercises help reduce muscle soreness and lessen your risk of injury. A simple way to get started is to begin by either standing or sitting in a chair and bending your waist side to side along with moving your arms side to side. Do this for 1 to 2 minutes.
- Strengthening: There are many simple exercises that can help you build muscle mass and firm and tone your body. One of the easiest exercises is simple bicep curls. Use light dumbbells or fill up two water bottles and hold one in each hand. While standing or seated, extend both arms along your side with a slight bend in your elbow, keeping your wrists straight and your palms facing toward you. Keeping your arms at your sides, slowly curly the weights up and exhale as you bring them up. Then inhale as you slower lower the weights back down. That is considered one rep. Try to complete 8-12 reps, rest for 1 minutes and then do a second set.
- Aerobic: This refers to any type of exercise that utilizes your heart and lungs. Walking is the most basic example of this. If you’re just getting started, concentrate on walking for a few minutes, gradually increasing your distance and speed as you grow stronger. Other forms of aerobic exercise include hiking, dancing, jogging, jumping jacks, and marching. Don’t be afraid to mix it up!
Keep in mind that the best exercise is the one you enjoy most! Be healthy and happy and always remember – age is just a number!
This article originally appeared in the Ventura Breeze.