If we had to “brand” an overly streamlined, get-in-shape exercise philosophy for people who are over 60, chances are very good that we’d go with something like “The WWY Life”. For the record, “WWY” is shorthand for “weights, walking as well as yoga”. Do you know why older folks should prioritise those types of fitness? Well, while it’s great to take part in cardio exercise at any age and get in shape — and any exercise is good exercise — as you get older, your fitness goals could be better redirected at achieving strength and better balance as well as flexibility.
Weights are responsible for building and maintaining lean muscle mass for strong bones as well as better metabolism, while yoga and walking reduce stress and cortisol levels while also keeping your fat burn high and helping your balance and flexibility. Too much cardio stresses our bodies and can take our appetites out of control.
While that seems straightforward enough — lift weights, walk a lot, do yoga — we all know that, when it comes to fitness, it’s always easier said than done. However, here’s some incentive for keeping in shape.
Work Out Socially
If you can’t just seem to pick yourself up and get off the couch alone and get into gym to try and stay in shape after you’ve turned 60, try asking a friend or two to lend you a helping hand. A number of different studies indicate that working out with other people can improve exercise enjoyment.
This study which was published in the International Journal of Technology Assessment in Health Care, makes the conclusion that walking in a group leads to both greater workout enjoyment as well as overall quality of life. Researchers also found that people were more likely to stick with exercise for the long haul. “At a time when we are being encouraged to meet physical activity guidelines, a large proportion of the public fail to do so. Our review found that people may be more likely to exercise if they have social support,” explains lead study author Catherine Meads, professor of health at Anglia Ruskin University.
One more study which was published in Biology Letters even discovered that exercising in a group leads to the release of more “feel good” endorphins as compared to a solo workout.
Hack Your Personal Reward System
The key to getting and remaining in shape is to understand your personal reward system. People generally don’t have a problem following a healthy meal plan or doing a week of workouts in order to shape up. However, not everyone gives thought to the behaviours or patterns they fall back into after they’re successful for a week.
Say you’ve lost a few kilograms. Do you say, ‘I’ve worked I’ve worked so hard; I deserve a big dinner and drinks tonight?!’ Or do you say, ‘I’ve worked so hard, I deserve a better pair of running shoes to keep the momentum going?!’
If you’re the latter, your chances of being in shape are far higher. When you’re over 60, it’s challenging to burn the candle at both ends. Giving into an unhealthy reward system is much harder to come back from than it is for someone 30 years younger.
Start With Confidence
It may sound cheesy, but a little bit of self-confidence and positivity goes a long way toward a better workout. One study which was published in PLOS ONE found that believing in one’s athletic ability helps make exercise feel less strenuous. Study participants who reported a positive attitude and belief in their physical abilities found a 30-minute stationary bike session to be much easier.
In addition, when study subjects really believed in the benefits of a compression shirt they were wearing, they felt the shirt was an asset during their workout. Not least, the findings impressively show that for all those who don’t consider themselves to be great sportsmen and -women – the right product really can make sport more pleasant, if ‘only’ you believe in it.
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