The best way to get in shape is to take it one step at a time.
A reasonable level of fitness is fundamental to making the most of life. Maintaining a simple exercise regimen that fits in with your lifestyle is one of the most important things you can do to make the most of every day.
If this sounds slightly daunting, just think of that old cliché – ‘move it or lose it’. All you have to do, at a base level, is move. You don’t need to turn your life upside down, you just need to move.
Here are our top tips to get into shape:
Try to make exercise something that fits in with your daily routine and is enjoyable enough so you can keep going with it and not feel as if it's a chore.
A simple exercise regimen can be something as basic as walking the dog every day, or doing easy stretching before breakfast – even a few bends and twists while you wait for the toast to pop up can make a major difference to your overall quality of life.
You can set a reminder to be active, or download a free fitness to guide you. You can join an exercise session in the comfort of your own home such as Move It or Lose on Channel 31. Broadcast every week day morning at 8.30am or every weekday afternoon at 3.00pm.
Focus on your health.
Many people reach retirement having spent most of their adult life focused on other people, particularly their children, and their career. Often what suffers is allocating time for the self care, particularly in relation to health and wellbeing. It’s only after children leave the nest and work obligations are over that you have time to focus on your bucket list – from travel to sport and recreation, among other things.
Surround yourself with like-minded people.
Exercising or playing sport with friends or in an organised group is a great way to build and maintain healthy habits. One of the best motivators is to have fun and get fit with friends.
Fashion doyen Coco Chanel is reputed to have said: “the best things in life are free”, and so staying active doesn’t have to break the budget. Walking, gardening and cycling are free and fun ways to stay physically and mentally active. Consider starting or joining a social walking group with friends or participating in the many low cost or free health and wellbeing activities on offer at Victoria’s Neighbourhood Houses, U3As, or checkout the many free or low cost activities and clubs advertised on your local council’s website.
The Seniors Card program is another way to stay active and involved in the community without breaking the budget. Search exercise on the Discount Directory for offers.
Keep it simple.
Anything you can build into your day without having to make too many changes to what you are accustomed to is going to be a regimen you will more likely stick with. And sticking with it is probably the most important thing.
Improve your mobility.
Reducing your risk of falls or injuries can be as easy as improving your mobility. You need reasonable mobility to be able to enjoy life to the fullest.
Start easy – you don’t have to run a marathon on your first day.
We all need to aim to achieve the same fundamental things regardless of our age or ability. So people over the age of 65 still need structural integrity of their skeletal system and decent aerobic ability for endurance.
You’re never to never too old to start exercising.
You are never too old to start and for many people, getting motivated is more than half the battle. So goal setting, such as travel or a wedding, is the big thing that helps people make a start.
Break down your exercise regimen to daily tasks.
Everyday rituals that make up that larger goal. If you only aim for the larger goal it can be a bit daunting and you may be more likely to give up.
Focus on improving and maintaining three important physical characteristics.
- Building bone mineral density because you naturally lose this as you age. You can do this through strength training.
- Cardiovascular capacity to improve endurance, such as walking up flights of stairs without losing your breath.
- Keeping a good range of motion in your body through stretching.
And remember do not over-do it. Don’t force things. Exercise should become like brushing your teeth every day. If you’re just starting out then what you need to conquer first is your mindset. So just do one small thing every day, like eating a bit better, until it becomes a habit and you feel like it’s something you want to do, rather than have to do.
Reviewed 27 December 2022