The saying “use it or lose it” can sum-up many things in life, including physical fitness. For older individuals, incorporating the different components of physical fitness is key to maintaining a good quality of life and independence. Would you say you are incorporating these fundamental components from the table below into your life?
|Physical Fitness Component||Training Examples||Activities of Daily Living Examples|
|Aerobic/cardiovascular activities at least 150 minutes per week in sessions of 10 minutes or more.||Going for brisk walks, swimming or playing tennis||Walking to the store|
|Balance activities to help prevent falls on most days||Balance exercises (ex. standing on one leg near a wall) or Tai Chi||Not losing balance on a crooked sidewalk|
|Muscle strengthening activities at least 2 days per week||Using resistance bands (working a muscle or group of muscles against resistance to increase strength and power)||Lifting your grandchildren, picking up your laundry hamper|
|Flexibility activities on most days||Doing stretches and range of motion exercises such as arm and leg circles||Bending down to tie your shoes, reaching shelves above your head and gardening|
Remember…EVERYONE can enjoy the health benefits of physical activity. There is always a way to modify exercises to one’s level of mobility. For example, strength exercises can be done seated, and mobility aids can get you out and walking.
If you haven’t been active in a while, don’t let that hold you back. The trick is to start slow. Then, as you build strength and stamina, activity levels can be increased.
To top it off, there are many resources available to help older individuals stay active. Community centers have senior specific exercise classes, doctors are prescribing exercise to help improve many health conditions, the Move for Life DVD learning resource is great for individual or group settings, and the qualified exercise professionals at the Physical Activity Line are only a phone call away (1-877-725-1149) from providing you customized recommendations.
Let’s work together to inspire and encourage others to get out and get active this summer. If you’re an older adult who has experienced the benefits of physical activity we would love to hear your story. Please share on our Facebook page.
References and resources
Physical Activity Line: Older Adults - Recommended Activities
Canadian Physical Activity Guidelines for Older Adults