Being a senior doesn’t mean that you’re doomed to ‘light’ activities. There are many who have improved their fitness to a point where they are stronger and have more stamina than people half their age.
But of course, the first step to getting fitter and healthier is to start exercising. This is the most important step, albeit the one that most seniors struggle with. However, once you start and stay consistent, you will see the difference. And the good news is, your body is highly-intelligent and adaptive regardless of age.
If you start off exercising by walking 30 minutes a day, after a month or so, you’ll notice that the walk is no longer as tiring as it used to be. Now you’ll be able to walk without feeling drained or exhausted. Your body has become stronger.
While this is good, diminishing returns are setting in. Your body is no longer challenged, and it can easily handle the workout since it has become stronger. Your goal now is to gradually challenge your body so that your strength and fitness levels improve.
While you do not want to overdo it, some challenge is required for you to grow and get better. The pointers below will show you how to progressively train so that you make improvements and get better.
The first way to challenge yourself is to increase the duration of your workout. If you’re accustomed to 30-minute walks, try 35 minutes or even 40 minutes. This will require more effort and stamina.
You’ll burn more calories and the extra minutes will challenge your body and force it to cope with the added demands.
If you do not wish to increase the duration of your workout, you can add resistance to it. If you’re walking, find the slopes and hills and walk uphill. If you use a treadmill, adjust the incline so that you are walking against gravity. This will be challenging.
Alternatively, you could wear a pair of ankle weights. This added weight on your ankles will require you to exert more effort during your walk.
If you cover 2 miles during your 30-minute walk, try and cover more distance in the same period. Aim for 2.2 miles or 2.5 miles. This will require you to walk more briskly to meet your goal.
This is an increase in intensity that will boost your metabolism, burn more calories and increase your stamina. If you’re doing resistance training, that will mean pumping out more repetitions during the same workout without increasing the duration of the workout.
Another way to challenge yourself is to change the activity. For example, if you’re used to walking, you can switch to swimming. This is a new activity that your body is not used to. Swim for a month and your body will be forced to adapt. Swimming is an excellent activity for seniors. It’s both a cardio and resistance training based activity.
All you need to do is follow these tips to slowly improve on your strength and fitness. Your progress will be amazing if you shift your mindset. Age is not a curse. Your body will adapt to the challenges over time.
You just need to be consistent and aim for measurable progress in reasonable time. Small daily improvements are key to staggering long-term results.