The days are growing longer, irises and peonies are blooming and summer is just around the corner. As we enjoy more sunshine and warmer days, we also celebrate more people vaccinated and numbers of COVID-19 cases declining across Virginia.
Still, the pandemic continues, and staying safe through social distancing remains important. But that doesn’t mean you have to stop moving. In fact, it’s vital to your health to get daily exercise: The National Physical Activity Guidelines recommend 150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity a week. Movement is key to healthy aging.
So how can you stay active this summer? We’ve got a few suggestions.
Go for variety
We all can get in a rut with our exercise routines. Now’s a great time to try something different. Look for ways to incorporate all four types of exercise into your week:
If you normally just lift weights, add in some stretching or yoga. If you’re tired of your walking routine, try incorporating some strength and balance movements.
Check out this handout from the American College for Sports Medicine for more ways to keep moving!
Log on for fitness
The internet offers numerous free resources for workouts for all ages and fitness levels. AARP’s Senior Planet provides incredible variety — pick a workout that works for you. Try stretching, yoga, Fit Fusion, balance exercises and Tai Chi.
The National Center on Health, Physical Activity and Disability (NCHPAD) provides dozens of at home workouts that anyone can do, many of which use simple everyday items like water bottles and soup cans. Their resources are thoughtful and free.
There’s an app for that
You can find great resources on your computer, but also on your smart phone. In your app store, search for “fitness.” You’ll find many free and low-cost options. Spiro100 is a senior fitness and wellness resource designed specifically for older adults to stay active in the comfort of your own home. Try their 7- Day Movement Challenge or choose from dozens of classes. The SitFit Exercise app allows anyone to add movement to their day, even from the comfort of their own chair. Other popular fitness apps include the Nike Training Club, which helps you reach your fitness goals with free workouts, and the Daily Workout Fitness Trainer, with 5 to 30 minute daily workout routines with certified personal trainers.
Make simple changes
You don’t have to train for a marathon to add more movement to your day. Try making a few simple adjustments for your good health.
- Sit less. Try to get up and walk around, or at least stand up, every 20 minutes.
- Create habits with chores. Of course, you have things to do around your home so make the most of these activities. As you’re doing laundry, do a few leg lifts. After you make your bed, lie on it and do a few stretches. Let the chore trigger a habit of movement.
- Put on some music. Dancing around the house — by yourself or with a partner — is a really fun way to move more.
- Toss excuses. It’s easy to come up with reasons why exercise is just too hard or tiring. Push yourself to do something each day. You’ll feel better, and it will get easier over time.
- Make it a habit. If you have a routine that works for you, keep going! Good habits make all the difference in our long-term health.
Don’t waste summer sitting around, let’s get moving and grooving!