Everyone can be fit. What is important is in recognizing and accepting what being fit means for you. Of course, your top fitness is very different from that of a 20-year old hockey player or a 40-year old lifelong runner. We want you to take a few minutes and think about what being fit means to you.
Maybe it’s being able to walk up and down the stairs without being tired. Maybe it’s building stronger muscles to support your sore joints and alleviating joint discomfort. Maybe it’s being able to continue to improve your weightlifting and bodybuilding goals. Maybe it’s being able to spend the entire day out in the garden or on the tennis court.
Anyway, you get the idea. Your fitness is about you – and not anyone else. Think about what you enjoy doing, what you’d like to do, any goals you have, and take into consideration any physical health limitations you may have. The next step is in moving forward, creating a plan or small weekly goals, and striving to meet these. There is no “too old” or “I can’t”. It doesn’t matter if one week you can’t get to the gym or you’re not able to get out in your garden as you planned – there is no actual failure in this get fit strategy.
We want you to set yourself up for the fitness that makes sense for you. You decide what you want, why you want it, and then focus in on it. No goal or target is too big or too small – what matters is that it’s important to you. Think of the famous question, “How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time,” – the same holds true for you.
We’ve put together some new habits you can focus on that will support you on your new fitness path. Remember to talk to your doctor before embarking on a new fitness plan.
Stand and Sit Tall
Take a quick scan of your body as you sit in your chair. Is your back straight? Are your feet flat on the floor and are your knees bent at 90 degrees? Is your neck straight or are you leaning towards your monitor? Yes, good posture habits are vital in ensuring your body can support any new fitness goals or routines.
When you’re walking and sitting, think about keeping your back straight, roll your shoulders back, and try to tense your stomach muscles. Yes, easier said than done, but with a little practice and attention every day, you’ll soon be standing and sitting tall.
Regardless if you’re a swimmer, cyclist, avid gardener, tennis player, bodybuilder, or yogi – you still need to walk. It’s very important to do regular weight-bearing activity to help support strong and healthy joints, bones, and muscles. You might think you get enough activity with your daily bike rides or lap swim, but you still need to walk. Along with helping to strengthen your bones and joints, a short daily walk invigorates your circulation, aids in digestion, and supports your heart health.
Get Out and About
It’s very easy to suddenly find yourself alone. Maybe you’re retired and live alone or have moved to a new community where you don’t know many people. At first you don’t feel isolated or alone, but over time it’s very easy to feel very alone. We are social animals and need regular friendly human contact for both our mental and physical health.
If you find yourself alone, think about joining some kind of club or group. For example, join a photography club, walking group, gardening club, quilting group, tennis club, or whatever meets your interests. Don’t be shy, talk to the cashier at your grocery store, strike up a conversation with your neighbor – make small talk with the people around you. It can be as easy as striking up a conversation about the weather or chatting about your local sports team. You never know who you will meet or what you’ll learn.
You are what you eat. Think of your favorite fruits and vegetables and look for ways to eat 5 – 10 servings a day. Add a chopped apple to your daily bowl of oatmeal. Enjoy some fruit and yogurt. Make a big batch of vegetable soup that you can enjoy for lunch all week. To make things easier, buy frozen fruits and vegetables – these fruits and vegetables are already washed and have been chopped and peeled. Remember to incorporate healthy sources of protein such as lean meats, beans, and other legumes. Of course, we want you to enjoy a treat or two, just keep an eye on your portions, but don’t be afraid to indulge every now and then.
Get a Checkup
Yes, please go see your doctor for your annual checkup. This annual checkup is the best way your doctor has to monitor and track your health. It’s important you get your blood work done, have your cholesterol monitored, that your blood pressure is taken, and that you are going for mammograms and colonoscopies as required. Even if you feel fine, it’s very important to see your doctor for an annual visit. This is your chance to ask questions, to learn how to monitor any arthritis pain or other joint discomfort, and to talk about any mental health concerns.
Set Some Goals
Think about what you’d like to accomplish – something big or something small. It doesn’t matter, just so long as it’s something that motivates you. For example, set a goal of completing a five kilometer run in three months or playing tennis twice a week or joining a hiking club and going out for weekly hikes. Goals are a great way to keep you motivated and focused on good healthy habits. There is no failure level attached to these goals – they’re goals, so they should be somewhat challenging and motivating.
If it helps, partner up with a friend and commit to the same goal. Plan to meet every Saturday morning for a regular walk or bike ride – when you’re lacking motivation, it helps to know that your friend is counting on you to come out.
Enjoy the Journey
We want you to have fun and enjoy your fitness journey. Don’t compare yourself to others or what you used to be able to do. Focus on what you’re doing today, what you’re going to do tomorrow, and how great you feel about this. Your confidence will increase, your mood will lighten, and you’ll be that person full of life and energy that others admire.