As you get into your 60s, it’s more and more important that you stay active. You don’t have to become a gym addict, any kind of physical activity will do. But the more you do the better.
Aim to exercise throughout the week
A good starting point is to commit to doing some light activity – going for a walk, a simple home workout, that kind of thing – every day. It’ll help keep your body from stiffening up. On top of that, aim to do some strength training exercises like crunches, press-ups or working with resistance bands on a couple of days. Then, if you can, add one session of vigorous exercise – jogging, energetic dancing or fast cycling, say – into the mix. It sounds like a lot, but once you’ve started, you’ll find you quickly slip into the routine.
Find an activity you enjoy
If you’ve not exercised in a while, it can be hard to find the motivation to get going. But there are a few things you can do to make it easier. Visit your local community centre which will almost certainly run a number of classes for the over 60s – try a few out and see what takes your fancy. If classes aren’t your thing, have a go at swimming, walking, or cycling - three low impact activities that are good for weight loss and easy on your joints. Another good tip is to find yourself a fitness buddy. That way you can both motivate each other when you’re not really feeling like exercising.
Give your home workout a regular slot
Everybody’s different. Some people love to get their exercise in first thing in the morning – to give themselves an energy boost for the day ahead. You might prefer to exercise at the end of the day, as a way to loosen up and relax before bedtime. Whatever works for you is fine. Just pick your timeslot and stick to it. Doing something regularly is the easiest way for it to become a habit. And once you’re in the habit of exercising, you’ll find your fitness levels start to skyrocket.
Give yourself time to get results
You’ve heard the phrase, ‘it’s a marathon not a sprint’ and that’s exactly how you have to look at exercise. If you get started with your home workout this morning, you’re not going to have the body you want by tea-time – but maybe in 6 months’ time you will. And if you keep going for six months, imagine what you’ll feel like a year from now. The point is that whatever you’re trying to achieve, whether it’s weight loss or something else, you need to think long-term and give yourself time to get results.
Don’t overdo it, build up slowly
You’re not trying to break any world records, so there’s no need to train like a professional athlete. Just take things slow and steady to start with. Remember that even just cutting down on the amount of time you spend sat down will have good benefits for your health. The other thing to bear in mind, especially if you’re out of practice is that exercising isn’t always comfortable. Feeling out of breath, heart pounding is normal. You may even experience the odd aches and pains as your muscles get to work. Just take things at your own pace and you’ll find your level of fitness in no time.
Strength training isn’t just for bodybuilders
When you hear the words ‘strength training’ it’s easy to picture muscle-bound bodybuilders lifting huge weights. But actually strength training – or resistance training, as it’s sometimes called – can help you stay strong and healthy well into your 60s. The trick is to make sure you take a sensible approach. A simple home workout routine that you can do sat down is ideal. Start with exercises that move just one or two of your joints. For example, arm curls, and crunches. These strength training exercises are good because they work both the top and bottom of your body.
The Orbitrek MX is like a mini version of the stepper machines you see at the gym. It fits under your feet and lets you pedal while you’re sat down. It’s small and portable meaning you could take it with you anywhere in your home, under your desk for example, or beneath your feet while you’re sat on the sofa. It comes out of the box fully assembled so you don’t have to worry about getting your screwdriver out. Best of all, with its smooth elliptical action, it’ll help improve your mobility, burn calories for weight loss, and help your balance, all while you’re doing something you enjoy like watching TV or reading a book.