When it comes to physical fitness, we can't all be Mark Spitz, Hank Aaron, Willie Mays or Wilt Chamberlain, but there's no reason that, as you get older, you can't stay in shape. No one ever said you had to be an Olympian or a world class athlete, but a long healthy life is tied to physical fitness.
And what exercise is right for you? Well, here's a handy list, with some great examples.
Swimming: Swimming is a wonderful way to work the whole body as well as your cardiovascular system. Many seniors have trouble staying warm, especially in winter, so if you do have trouble regulating your body heat and you swim in winter, make sure the pool is heated! Also, depending on whether or not you have arthritis, you may want to be selective about which stroke you use.
Walking: Not as intensive as full-out running, walking is a truly wonderful way to get around, and to get your exercise to boot. A brisk walk gets the blood pumping, and can be invigorating on a gorgeous day. If that's not enough for you, why not consider,
Bicycling: You don't have to be Lance Armstrong (he won the Tour de France) to enjoy a good bike ride. If you're environmentally conscious, you'll be thrilled to know that by riding a bike instead of driving a car decreases your carbon footprint exponentially over time. It's also faster than walking or running. Depending on whether or not you have arthritis or other ailments, you might consider different styles of bike, like the recumbent, which lets you sit at your ease while peddling, which cuts down on the strain to your wrists, back and rear that normal bikes can cause.
Jogging: A step up, so to speak, from walking, jogging is basically gentle running. It's easier on your joints and ligaments than flat out sprinting or marathons, and it's a great way to keep your blood pressure down. As with any exercise, you will want to pace yourself when running, and to be careful when selecting shoes and running surface. Long jogs on hard surfaces can do a number on your knees and hips.
Working Out: Lastly, pumping iron, jumping rope and engaging in aerobics are also highly effective ways to stay in shape and to promote health. As with any exercise, there's absolutely no need to overdo it. And in fact, if you do, you're likely doing yourself more harm than good. As with anything, moderation is key.
As you get older, you'll probably start to find that things aren't as easy as they once were. So you have to find routines that work for you. What your friend does with his/her regimen might not be for you; everyone is different. That said, healthy living and fitness are well within your reach. If it helps, think of it as a new adventure; your Golden Years are sure to be full of them.
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