Very few people will be surprised that in a study of popular New Year’s resolutions in the United States, getting more exercise topped the list, along with eating healthier and spending less money. For aging adults, getting active can be a difficult goal, but it’s an important one. If you’re pursuing active senior living in 2018, but are feeling discouraged, we’ve got a few tips on how to get back on track.
1. Have Fun With It
Exercising isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but getting active doesn’t have to be a chore. The key is to pick an exercise or activity that is fun and interesting for you. Ideally, you should think of something that will get you excited to get going; for example, if you love the feeling of slipping into a pool, try swimming every day, or if you’ve always enjoyed being out in nature, go for a walk or short bike ride whenever you can. Alternatively, explore some fun exercises that are new to you, like dance fitness, spinning classes, or yoga.
If you can’t find anything that speaks to you, incorporate hobbies and activities that you love into simple exercises. Try listening to audiobooks, music, or podcasts while you run or lift weights, or help out friends and neighbors with dog-walking.
2. Start Slow
One of the big reasons that people fail to keep their New Year’s resolutions is that they set goals, then get discouraged when they don’t see immediate results. Whether your goal is to lose weight, run a 5K, or simply pursue active senior living, it can’t happen overnight. Ease into daily exercise by starting with five or ten minutes of activity, and gradually increasing to 15, then 20, then 30 minutes every day. Starting slow will also help you stick to it -- jumping in at 30 minutes a day gets exhausting when your body isn’t use to that much exercise, leading to procrastination, frustration, and avoidance.
3. Keep Your Doctor Involved
It’s not empty advice -- you really should talk to your doctor before you begin a new exercise routine. Not only can they evaluate your heart, lung, muscle, and bone health so you have a good baseline to start from, but they can also recommend activities that will be the most beneficial for your body, age, and goals.
4. Make It Part of Your Daily Routine
Making a lifestyle change is never easy, which is why you should try to incorporate exercise and activity into your daily routine from the moment you set your goal. Set aside time before breakfast, or right before you shower at night. Maybe you want to do strength exercises while your favorite show is on TV. Whatever time makes sense for you, just be sure to hold yourself to a schedule until exercising becomes routine.
5. Get Others Involved
Getting active is so much more fun when you do it with friends. Get together with others who have resolved to achieve active senior living in 2018 and come up with a few things you can do together, like weekly jogging or a community fitness class. Even having one fitness buddy can help you stay motivated and enthusiastic about your goals. Share your progress, get feedback, and make exercising part of your social life.
Keeping your resolution to get active in 2018 may seem hard now, but by starting slow and having fun, you’ll be amazed at how much you’ll be able to achieve.