It is important to manage your health at any age, but it is even more so when you age to keep an active lifestyle. Mobility, for example, typically declines with age which can lead to important loss of function and independence. Yet, we often take it for granted until it is too late. Regardless of the type of activity you enjoy, staying active as you age is critical to not only maintaining health but also your quality of life and independence.
In fact, it is never too late to start introducing new activities in your life. Even if mobility is currently a challenge, there are numerous ways to work around current limitations and introduce physical activity into your daily routine.
Here are some tips to consider:
The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends that older adults continue to be active. Here are some of the key recommendations made by the WHO1:
- Older adults should do at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity, or at least 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic activity throughout the week, or an equivalent combination of moderate- and vigorous-intensity activity.
- Aerobic activity should be performed in bouts of at least a 10 minute duration.
- For additional health benefits, older adults should increase their moderate-intensity aerobic physical activity to 300 minutes per week.
- Older adults, with poor mobility, should perform physical activity to enhance balance and prevent falls on 3 or more days per week.
- Muscle-strengthening activities, involving major muscle groups, should be done on 2 or more days per week.
- When older adults cannot do the recommended amounts of physical activity due to existing health condition(s), they should be as physically active as their abilities and conditions allow. Progressively introducing even small amounts of activity can have important and meaningful impacts.
For those who enjoy group activities, consider group classes that are specifically tailored for seniors.
Commonly, these are organized and instructed by trained professionals who have an interest and knowledge in supporting healthy aging. In fact, a chiropractor can also recommend specific movements and activity to help improve your mobility and enhance the health of your MSK system.
If you would rather exercise alone and on your own schedule, you may consider the following:
- Biking indoors or outdoors (weather dependent)
- Cardiovascular training like walking or wheeling, or even following a low-impact fitness video at home
Whether you are a senior or you simply want to enhance your mobility, it’s important to keep moving and introduce consistent physical activity into your routine. Consult with a healthcare professional before engaging in new physical activity.
1. The World Health Organization, “Global Strategy on Diet, Physical Activity and Health: Physical Activity for Older Adults,” http://www.who.int/dietphysicalactivity/factsheet_olderadults/en/.