Group of seniors making sport in the morning

What if I told you that I had a pill that could relieve stress and depression, help you lose weight, regenerate brain cells, prevent both heart disease and type two diabetes, boost confidence, give you more energy, reverse most of the symptoms of aging, help decrease the chances of getting seriously ill from infectious diseases, and it had no side effects.

Would you take it?

Most people would for sure until they hear the directions: “Take one pill with an eight-ounce glass of water fifteen minutes before exercising for at least a half hour every day.”

As you have probably guessed, it’s not what’s in the pill. It could be just a vegetable capsule filled with water.  It’s the directions that come with it…most notably the part that says exercise for at least a half hour every day. And it doesn’t even have to be nonstop exercise.  You could do 5 or 10 minute bouts that add up to 30.

Unfortunately, most people in our society are sedentary and now with people staying home in order to reduce their risk of contracting the corona virus, we have a serious condition now known as “sitting disease” which puts us at risk for almost every deadly disease known to man.

The good news is that it really doesn’t take that much exercise to see results, nor does it matter what type you choose…just a commitment to doing something active every day. Not only does exercise need to be a part of our lifestyle, we also need to make it fun, safe, and interesting and not something we dread.

Unfortunately, many people who start an exercise program, quit in as little as six months because they expect huge results and don’t get them right away, injure themselves, or get bored with their program.  It took us a while to get to where we are now and it’s going to take a while to change so we just have to be patient.  Here are some tips to keep you motivated on how to stay fit, healthy and vibrant for life at any age.

  • Start slowly. I see too many people get excited about starting an exercise program and end up doing too much, too soon and get so sore that they can’t move the next day. Starting slow will allow your body to adapt and be ready for more intensity later.
  • Remember to make the commitment to exercise every day. It should be a positive habit. You wouldn’t brush your teeth every other day or just on weekends so exercise should have the same priority.  For example, start off each day with a brisk walk outdoors. In order to be motivated to improve, get a pedometer that counts your steps.  Start off with an easily attainable number, and then try to improve each day.  You’ll be surprised how soon you start to notice results.
  • Pick the activities that you enjoy; go for the fun things first. Also, add new exercises and activities periodically to spice up your workout. Be adventurous! For example, if you have never tried yoga before, now is the time.  The benefits from yoga encompass body, mind and spirit and can be done anywhere. There are several excellent classes now online.  Just click “senior yoga classes” into your search browser on the computer and find a class that looks like fun. You can also check out dance classes and resistance training online.  I know several people who make their online classes an integral part of their day.  So much better than watching reruns on TV!
  • Replace negative incentives with positive ones. Focus on what you want instead of what you don’t want.
  • For some activities, a workout partner can help you get and stay motivated. You might find a reason why you don’t feel like working out, but if someone has committed to working out with you, that is an incentive to go. Otherwise, you might lose your workout ‘buddy”.
  • Stay off the scale or only weigh yourself once every two weeks. If fact, if you have the guts, throw it away. Instead focus on how you feel and how your clothes fit.
  • Vary the intensity and have some easy activity days. Walking along the beach or in a park, doesn’t feel like exercise, but it is.

 

Remember that exercise is not a punishment. It’s a joy, a reward and should be fun.  We are lucky to be able to do it, and I can guarantee you that once you commit to an active lifestyle your whole life will change in a positive, phenomenal way. Enjoy your workouts, progress slowly and make exercise a priority for the rest of your life.

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Sharkie Zartman Health Coach, Professor, Radio Host, Author

Sharkie Zartman, MA, is a college professor, a former All-American athlete, and award winning volleyball coach. She hosts Sharkie’s Pep Talk on HealthyLife.net Radio Network and is a certified health coach, speaker, and the author of five books including Shark Sense, Empowered Aging, Have Fun Getting Fit, Hey Sports Parents, and her newest, WIN at AGING. She is passionate about helping people take an empowered approach to life so they can have optimal health, happiness, and success at any age.

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