By Suzanne Coblentz
The pace of your daily schedule and commitments may ease up a bit as you age, but that’s no reason to let your physical activity levels decline. A study conducted at the University of Southern California indicates that your likelihood to commit to healthy behaviors is determined by one thing: whether you’ve made them a habit. When it comes to ensuring that you remain active over the course of your life, regardless of the changes or stressors that may arise, your best bet is to establish an activity routine that coincides with the things that are already part of your daily life.
Here are some simple ways you can incorporate more activity into your life, to feel more vibrant, strong and energetic.
Walk and talk: The convenience of mobile technology isn’t just the ability to take calls from friends and family anywhere — it’s that you can do just about anything while you’re on the call. Get into the habit of walking around the house or your backyard when you’re chatting on the phone, or take laps up and down the stairs while you talk. Not only will these little changes boost your energy levels, you’ll sneak an additional calorie burn into your day to help combat the weight gain that tends to creep in as metabolism slows over the years. According to the Compendium of Physical Activities, a guide that assigns a MET (metabolic equivalent) to the amount of energy associated with all kinds of movement, you’ll burn about 40 calories for 10 minutes of walking. The greater the intensity, the more you’ll burn.
Crank some tunes when you clean: The simple act of cleaning your house presents an opportunity to get moving. Make it even more beneficial (and enjoyable) by turning on your favorite tunes; the longer and more intensely you clean, the greater the benefit. In fact, simply vacuuming and mopping your floors for 20 minutes burns about 70 calories.
Supercharge TV time: Once you’re in your 50s, your body naturally begins to lose muscle mass, especially when you don’t intentionally work to keep muscles strong. Fitness expert and “Aging Gracefully” author Joan Pagano says that incorporating gentle strength-building exercises into your daily routine can help to both combat this muscle loss and make you feel younger. You may want to purchase inexpensive and portable equipment like an inflatable core stability ball that you can use at home for exercises, but your furniture can double-duty as equipment, too. For example, practicing single leg lifts as you hold on to the back of a chair can build core and lower body strength and boost your balance. Sneak the exercises in during the commercial breaks while watching your favorite TV shows, and you’re building muscle for at least 10 minutes a day, without even changing your daily routine.
Rise and shine: Add activity to your day before your feet even touch the floor by incorporating simple limbering exercises to your morning. To ease the “creakiness” you may feel after a night of sleep, start your morning routine by sitting on the edge of your bed, straightening your spine. Ease the neck into waking mode by gently turning your head from side to side, from shoulder to shoulder, and in slow circles, doing each exercise about four times, staying within your pain-free range of motion. Shrug your shoulders to your ears, and circle them forward and back. To wake the hands and wrists, “blink” the fingers by making a fist and then spreading them wide. Roll your wrists in each direction. Then, flex your toes, and make ankle rolls forward and back.
You can even incorporate activity when you brush your teeth. Holding onto the wall, do calf raises, alternate lifting your knee to your chest, and rest your back to the wall and hold a “chair” posture for several seconds.
Author Bio:Suzanne Coblentz is the Director of Offline and Social Media for Nava Health & Vitality Center. Nava Center focuses on introducing their clients to a new side of total body wellness.