LIVING & AGING WELL

Get motivated and creative with physical activity

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We are living in interesting times. Just a while ago our calendars were jam-packed with events. That quickly changed to having a wide open calendar and spending more time at home and in the beautiful outdoors.

Just because you’re at home doesn’t mean you have to cancel on being physically active! Often, it is believed that physical activity and exercise can only be completed in a gym setting or through sports, but physical activity can actually be found all around you even in your daily activities. You just need the motivation to move!

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that adults over the age of 65 participate in at least 150 minutes of moderate activity per week or 75 minutes of vigorous activity. In addition to the aerobic activity recommendations, the CDC also recommends that older adults complete strength training a minimum of 2 days per week. There are many ways you can meet these minimums outside of a formal setting.

Want to meet the recommendations for aerobic activity? Moderate activity is considered continuous activity that makes you take a breath after every sentence you speak. Walking is an excellent and simple form of exercise that’s good for almost everyone, from beginners to people who have been physically fit for years.

According to National Institute on Aging, studies have shown that walking is great exercise, and like other endurance activities has wonderful benefits, from weight loss to stress control and much more. For some, walking for the recommended 30-minutes a day can be difficult. If so, try building up to it by walking for 10-minutes at a time, three times a day.

As your endurance improves, work on walking longer to hit that goal of a single 30-minute walk. When you hit that goal, add new challenges, such as extending the time you walk, increasing your walking pace, or even adding an extra day of walking to your weekly routine. A helpful tip; be sure to wear sturdy shoes that give you proper footing when you do your walking.

Want to meet the strength training requirement but don’t feel comfortable going to the gym, have time to go the gym or have special equipment? You can easily add it in as you are unloading the groceries from the car. Hold onto the handles of a bag of groceries and do some bicep curls with it.

Bicep curls can also be done with a jug of milk - just make sure the lid is on tight. When doing strength training, it is important to work opposite muscle groups, so if you work your biceps, grab a can of vegetable soup and do some triceps extensions, too. You can also do some work on your shoulders while you have the soup cans in your hands. Just lift your arms straight in front of you or out to the sides; for safety just don’t lift your arms above shoulder height while doing these exercises.

So overall, remember that physical activity can be completed anytime and anywhere. You just need to get creative and get motivated! Get out and take a walk, run or ride. See what a wonderful job our Parks Department has done on all the trails. Add strength and balance exercises to your daily activities. Exercise with hand weights or substitutions you have available at home like soup cans. Practice yoga or tai-chi using free videos online or sign up to take virtual classes from your local recreation center.

Deni Jacobs, CTRS is therapeutic/senior programs coordinator with Parker Parks and Recreation. For additional information, questions or resources needed, please email djacobs@parkeronline.org. This column is hosted by the Seniors’ Council of Douglas County. Please join us for our next virtual online presentation Sept. 3 at 10 a.m. Our presenter will be Dennis DelPizzo with the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services regarding the annual Medicare update. For more information, please visit www.MyDougCoSeniorLife.com, email DCSeniorLife@douglas.co.us or call 303-663-7681.

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