It is never too late!
Life gets busy, and it can be hard to squeeze in that extra-time to be physically active. Many of us want to relax when we get home from work, or there are other things competing for our attention—laundry, dishes, preparing dinner, or helping the kids with their homework. If we are an older adult, we may believe that it is our time to just relax or that physical activity is not for us.
Moving can benefit all of us by increasing our endurance and resilience as we face life’s challenges, and by reducing the level of stress we feel. In fact, moving is medicine. It can help us maintain our memory and restore muscle loss as we age. Moreover, a new study showed that a structured physical activity program can prevent disability even if there is some impairment. The take away lesson is that regardless of our age or current level of fitness, it is not too late to get moving.
Tips to Get Moving
- Remind yourself that you are OKAY. No need to beat yourself up about your starting point. Many of us do feel bad about the decisions we have made, shift the focus to your strengths, values, and other things that you are proud of achieving.
- Set a goal for yourself, and plan a reward if you make your goal.
- Set a specific plan. For example, rather than making a general statement, such as “I am going to start walking more,” a specific plan would be “after eating dinner, I am going to walk 30 minutes in my neighborhood.” Click on these links to see ONIE’s walking or running training plans to help get you started.
Moderate-level Physical Activity
According to the American Heart Association, monitor your level of exertion by watching to see if your heart rate or your breather rate has increased. Examples of activities of moderate intensity include walking briskly, water aerobics, bicycling (slower than 10 miles per hour), ballroom dancing, or gardening.
Choose to make your plan and start moving now! My plan is to start moving by walking at easy pacy for fifteen minutes, five times a week, adding 5 minutes each week, until I am able to walk 30 minute at a time.
- Epton, T., Harris, P. R., Kane, R., van Koningsbruggen, G. M., & Sheeran, P. (2015). The impact of self-affirmation on health-behavior change: A meta-analysis. Health Psychology, 34(3), 187-196.
- Gill, T. M., Guralnik, J. M., Pahor, M., Church, T., Fielding, R.A., Marsh, A. P. …. Miller, M. E. (2016). Effect of Structured Physical Activity on Overall Burden and Transitions Between States of Major Mobility Disability in Older PersonsSecondary Analysis of a Randomized, Controlled Trial Effect of Physical Activity on Mobility Outcomes. Annals of Internal Medicine. N/A
- American Heart Association (2014, March). Moderate to Vigorous – What is your level of intensity?