Guest Post: Gary is a retired web blogger from Active Authorities who has made it a mission to live more actively in age while encouraging others to do the same. He hikes, explores the outdoors, and plays backyard sports games with his wife and two children.
How to become more active even as you age
Trying to maintain an active lifestyle can become harder as we get older. We get caught up in work, life at home with our families, or just get too tired from the other activities we have to do throughout the day to even bother getting up and moving. I have been there, and it is a tough mentality to break.
However, I eventually disciplined myself to continue being as active as I can to promote my well-being and to avoid the numerous health problems that typically comes up for people in their 50s. Because of this, I am able to do something active at least 5 times a week, usually once every day. Most commonly, that activity is running or biking, but other days it could be playing croquet with my family for an hour or so. Regardless, I am on my feet and away from a sedentary lifestyle.
Today, I want to give some personal advice on how to maintain an active lifestyle, particularly if you are already past your physical prime like I am.
How to make time for exercise
This is by far the biggest issue that scares people off; they have the impression that their life is getting too hectic to make time for exercise. For those just starting, my best advice will be to start waking up earlier and make time for it that way. Oftentimes, our least productive hours are spent right before bed, so if we can eliminate those in favor of sleep and, as a result, waking up earlier, we can reserve more time for our bodies.
For those that are struggling to keep going, I suggest thinking of it as part of your lifestyle, rather than something you “try” to do in order to improve your body. This mindset has helped me tremendously whenever I hit streaks of laziness. I have made jogging in the morning, hiking with friends, and playing backyard sports with my family a part of who I am. These activities become habits that I enjoy doing, rather than chores that I feel obligated to do.
Make sure you love what you do
The old saying “if you don’t love what you do, what’s the point in doing it?” applies perfectly here. You could jog everyday for a month, but if you absolutely dread doing so, you probably won’t be jogging for long. So find something you enjoy, as you will have a higher likelihood of coming back to it.
It is also important to find something that your family or close friends may like, too. I go hiking with my family and my closest friend’s family at least once a month. It is becoming something of a family-to-family tradition. Everyone there enjoys the activity and it makes for great bonding time together.
Understand your limits?
I want to stress this as much as I could because, although doing cardio work like running is extremely beneficial to you, you will want to ease into it as smoothly as possible. A lot of us are getting old, so changing our daily routine to include strenuous activity right away could be harmful. My advice is to understand your limits, and slowly push to raise those limits.
I admire anyone that already has a target goal in mind for whatever they are doing, be it wanting to run a whole mile without being short of breath or going on hikes every weekend, but we also have to be responsible with our bodies. We obviously want to improve them, but the most efficient way of doing so is easing into a routine you know you can work with.
The results of being active on a consistent basis are phenomenal. I don’t quite have the ability to play sports as competitively as I would like to anymore, but that does not stop me from being in great shape. My heart feels much healthier and I have been fortunate enough not to experience any serious complications with it. The joints in my legs feel strong and I have successfully avoided back problems.
Most importantly, however, I feel a renewed connection with my family and my friends. I am able to compete, although not to the level I was in my 20s, with my children in numerous sports. We play horseshoes together, we bike and run together, and we go hiking frequently. I truly believe that many of these connections would not have been possible had I not made the effort for my body. I hope I have inspired as many people as possible with this post to continue their journeys toward a healthy and happy lifestyle!