Tips for exercise, especially for those who have been too sedentary


I’ll begin by saying that there are many opportunities for getting exercise these days.  This article is more about how to begin if you’ve been inactive for a long time.  Originally, I was going to write about exercise for seniors, but many seniors have already taken on the issue of getting  enough exercise to keep fit.

If one has money, personal trainers can be one way to get instruction for well planned physical training, but few people care for that extreme.  There are gyms and exercise centers scattered just about everywhere, so finding a place with good exercise facilities is easy. Memberships for the YMCA are available as well as for profit centers, which provide good exercise machines and other equipment that will aid one in getting physically toned.

Some choose to have a treadmill, elliptical or other exercise machine in their home for convenience.  This, of course, requires space and can be expensive.  I want to talk about simple ways to aim toward better fitness that will cost nothing but can provide comparable results.

Many of us are too sedentary. If we sit in front of a computer all day, it can be most difficult to feel as though we’re getting enough exercise.  There are a number of exercises, however, that one can do while seated without interrupting the work they’re doing.  Stomach flexing exercises can also be done while driving.

If you like to read, try standing up for every other chapter.  After a while you can increase the number of chapters you read standing up.  You can also do simple movements while reading.  Many people think they just don’t have the time to exercise, but if you will think in terms of multi-tasking, you will find that you do have the time.  In fact, a good exercise program will buy you additional time.  You will not only live longer, but you will have more energy and be able to complete various tasks more quickly.

You can buy five, ten or twenty pound barbells that will help you build some upper body strength.  If you feel that you can’t afford that sort of investment, you can use cans of food, or other items to exercise your arms for additional upper body strength.  Just a few minutes a day of pumping your arms with small weights can have a long term beneficial result.

I have never been drawn to running, though many people find that a wonderful form of exercise.  If you don’t care for running, walking is considered a highly effective but low impact method of strengthening legs and increasing endurance.  If you start by walking only short distances and then increase your distance daily, you will likely find that it becomes almost addictive.  Not only do you get physical benefits from such activity, but you can let your mind rest a bit and perhaps find nourishment by enjoying nature.  Seniors who don’t like cold weather often find large shopping areas where they can walk.

Exercise in water can be most beneficial.  Certainly Kirksville has year round opportunities for individuals to get involved in classes where water exercise is available.  In these classes, the resistance of the water, while exercising, helps build strength and endurance.

It is always wise to discuss any exercise program with your doctor, especially if you have particular issues that warrant such consultation.  The choices you make in your everyday patterns can really help you to increase your strength.  If you happen to be attending an event of some kind, make an effort to leave a bit early and park at a distance from your destination so that you can walk a portion of the way. 

Finally, make exercise a regular part of your day.  It might help if you do it at the same time every day.  If you really like to watch television, you don’t have to be sitting comfortably with a large bowl of popcorn.  You can stand and watch your programs and perhaps do more intense exercises during the commercials.  No one can decide any of these things for you, but I can almost guarantee you that not only will you be better off physically, but you will feel better about yourself.