By: Dr. Beth Templin
A new year brings a renewed sense of motivations and expectations for so many people. After all, we start with a "clean slate" and have the opportunity to reinvent ourselves. I frequently hear from people how they wish they'd found us sooner or reached out to us earlier. They wish they would have decided to make their health, fitness and independence a priority earlier in their lives. Too many times people wait too long before making this decision and seeking out help.
It's something we encounter all of the time. Why is that? Many older adults don't truly understand what a huge role they have in their aging path. They don't really believe they have control over how quickly they experience the declines of "old age". As a result, they don't believe they can change their aging trajectory. They just accept loss of strength and independence as a "normal" part of aging, when it is not.
The truth is that your physical activity level plays a vital role in how long you are able to continue doing the things you love and enjoy doing. As you get weaker and begin to lose your independence, you may have to start giving up these fun and leisure activities. If you continue on this path, you'll soon start having more difficulty with the things you need to do every day, like taking care of your home and taking care of yourself. With enough inactivity, you begin to become dependent on others for everything in your life. This is the path most people want to avoid, yet not enough people are getting enough exercise or physical activity on a regular basis.
The World Health Organization just updated it's guideline for physical activity and exercise from 150 minutes a week to 300 minutes a week! That's 40+ minutes a day, 7 days a week! The recommendation also specifies that the exercise level should be moderate. On a scale of 1-10, this would be an effort level of 5 or 6. If time is a limiting factor or you really want to push yourself, you can participate in vigorous activity which is at an effort level of 7-9, on a 1-10 scale. Exercising at this vigorous level would decrease the minimum recommendation to 150 minutes a week.
It's truly a choice in how you age and how quickly you travel down this path. You can choose to participate in more exercise and increase your physical activity every day and start seeing improvements right away.
I would challenge you to make this year different. If you are already taking an active role in your aging journey then take it up a level. Get an Annual Check-Up by one of our physical therapists to make sure you are covering all of your bases. Sign up for our Small Group Training to take your fitness routine to the next level.
If you are already struggling to do the things you enjoy or the things you need to do everyday, schedule a Free Assessment here at the gym or in your home to see if you qualify for Physical Therapy.
The great news is that you are never "too old" to get stronger, to improve your endurance, to get more steady on your feet. You are never too old to improve your fitness and enjoy new adventures. A new year means taking care of yourself and working with HouseFit is a great place to start.
Dr. Beth helps adults 55+ maximize their independence and fitness, so they can continue to enjoy a full and active life.