As we age we ponder the meaning of so many aspects of our lives. The term SUCCESSFUL changes for each and every one of us as those aspects we found integral to a successful existence change. Since our goals and desires change, so do our strategies. We do find, however; that health in all forms is integral to success and to living.
Health is defined as the state of being free from illness or injury. This can be mental or physical. Healthy aging becomes a priority not only for the ability to move freely and enjoy for the for the ability to function. When we look to the strategies to maintain the ability to maintain a state of being FREE of illness of injury, what do we consider the most affectual factors: Age, lifestyle, genetics, habits, diet, movement. . . . to list a few. As a healthcare professional we look to those factors we can change. While I may not be able to change my age, my gender or my genetic make-up. . . I can change my lifestyle, my diet and my choices.
What does the term lifestyle actually mean to our state of healthy being? Lifestyle is the very way in which we live. Do we stress? Do we drink excessively? Do we smoke, exercise daily, sleep regularly, meditate? All these are factors of our lifestyle, some of which are within our control. I am certain we all can agree that the lifestyle we were accustomed to living as a teenager or college student is not the same we chose as we age. I require more sleep, more water, less fat in my diet. . . all in all, more healthy choices.
One such choice is movement. The benefits of exercise are incredible for both physical and mental well-being. Some of the documented benefits include:
· Weight control
· Reduce risk of heart disease
· Help manage blood sugar and insulin levels
· Improve mood
· Improve thinking and clarity
· Strengthen bones and muscles
· Reduce risk of falls
· Improve your sleep
· Improve sexual health
Knowing exercise and movement can assist in improvement of so many aspects of our well-being, how do we do it. How do we find a way to incorporate regular exercise into our lifestyle?
· Start with your every-day activities! Find a way to make what you do every day a bit more active. Take the stairs, park further away, wash your own car. . .
· Incorporate friends and family. Find a workout group or partner. This makes the prospect of exercise social and fun!
· Track your progress. It is always nice to see results and tracking your progress will help you stay motivated.
· Make exercise fun. Listen to music or mix it up. Join a group class that makes having fun a priority
· Look for activities that fit your lifestyle. When I was young I loved the “hole in the wall” gyms with free weights, tons of mirrors and audible grunting to eek out that last rep. Now that I am older I appreciate a clean environment without mirrors and equipment that helps me ensure I will maintain proper form and not injure myself.
Whichever choice in movement you make, chose something. This is the single most beneficial option for both your mental and physical well-being. As goals in life change, maintaining self sufficiency rises to the top and a healthy lifestyle can influence that. Make it a goal to just MOVE!