Working out is necessary for weight loss, or even to maintain current weight. But for the office bound masses, or those who simply don’t like to exercise, it simply isn’t reasonable to make a plan to go to the gym three or four times a week. Here are some easy workout tips for those who want to be active without being chained to a treadmill.
Get a Pedometer
A good pedometer is essential to a non-workout. That’s because a pedometer tracks how much a person is currently moving around, can help monitor changes in the norm, and can even encourage people to work a bit more to meet a goal. The best pedometers are small waterproof types that fit in a waistband. iPhone pedometer apps will work as well, provided the user has their phone with them at all times.
Wear the pedometer for a week, and simply write down the total number of steps at the end of the day. Don’t work out right away. A norm needs to be established before it can be challenged. The following week, try to add at least 10,000 steps to your daily total. This can be done by parking farther from the door when running any errands, by cleaning around the house, by making extra trips to the copy machine at the office, or walking the dog an extra block. Incrementally increase the amount of steps on the pedometer each week after that, until the new “normal” is twice what the old “normal” was.
Use the Computer and TV to Take the Mind off the Workout
It’s possible to work out at the office. Buy a small floor model elliptical or stair step machine. These small machines easily fit under a desk, and can be used while sitting down. Use a floor bike to pedal while you work on company emails, or take steps while you watch TV. Lift small weights while watching a favorite show in the evening, or pause during commercials to do leg lifts in bed.
Chair yoga is another great exercise for the unmotivated. Chair yoga will let a person stretch, wake up muscles, and improve muscle tone overall. Chair yoga is also ideal for anyone with limited mobility.
Games, like oppa888, Wii Fit, and Wii Sports can help, but Wii isn’t the only console that can help people lose weight. It’s possible to play any game standing up. Get a group of friends together for a loud session of Rock Band. Play the virtual drums, or dance while performing vocals. If nothing else, the laughs will tone abdomen muscles.
The most important aspect of working out is to be reasonable. Those exercising need to understand what they are, and are not willing to do on a long term basis. It’s easy to ditch a strenuous workout, but with a fun workout that fits neatly into the normal day, there’s nothing to ditch when laziness strikes.
According to the National Institute of Health (NIH) Senior Health website, “most people will lose twenty to forty percent of muscle tissue as they age” resulting in a condition called sarcopenia. Even though many older adults are physically active, they can still gain additional benefits from participating in structured exercise programs.
As many adults age, less emphasis is placed on physical fitness through strength training and cardiovascular exercise. Even though fitness programs are typically viewed as activity for younger and middle aged adults, people of all ages and all activity levels can benefit from an increase of physical activity though exercise plans and programs. Senior fitness programs can provide a number of health benefits for older adults such as the delay and prevention of illness and disease, increase strength, develop balance and improve mental health.
Safety and Senior Exercise
Before beginning an exercise routine a physician should evaluate an individual’s current health, including current medical conditions and health risks. Exercise should begin slowly and progress based on the doctor’s recommendation. Senior fitness programs do not have to be intensive to provide optimum health benefits. Even mild to moderate exercise programs can increase physical and mental health.
Any exercise program should be discontinued if it results in physical pain or discomfort – and physician consulted for medical diagnosis and advice.
Physical Activity Versus Physical Exercise
Many older adults and seniors are already physically active – but physical activity is not enough to prevent the loss of muscle tissue associated with sarcopenia.
- Physical Activity – are activities that are planned or unplanned, and part of a daily routine. Even though physical activity can delay loss of muscle tissue, it should be combined with an exercise routine for maximum results.
- Exercise – a planned and structured activity done alone or in a group setting. Activities are related to strength training or aerobic exercise and are meant to improve muscle strength, balance, flexibility and endurance.
Benefits of Senior Exercise
Starting and exercise plan for seniors will not only prevent muscle loss, but can prevent the onset of physical conditions and disease associated with aging. Some benefits of senior fitness include, but are not limited too:
- Decreased risk of falling – increased muscle strength and balance can decrease the risk of falling, which is a major cause of health related injuries for older adults.
- Increased mental health – being more physically active assists the mind in staying active and can decrease risks associated with diseases such as Alzheimer’s. Exercise also releases chemicals into the bloodstream that can increase sleep quality, improve mood and decrease the risk of depression.
- Reducing health risks – Current health conditions can be improved with regular exercise and can be used to reduce high blood pressure, decrease risk of heart disease or stroke, weight management and increase bone density.
Improving Health Through Exercise
Starting a healthy lifestyle through an exercise program can be done at any age, but is particularly important for seniors and older adults. After a physician approves the start of an exercise program by evaluating current health conditions and level of fitness, exercise should begin slowly to avoid injury. With regular participation in an exercise program muscle loss will begin to reverse, health conditions can improve, risks decrease and mental health improve.