Aging in America looks much different now than it did 100 or even 50 years ago. With medical advancements and a better understanding of the human body, life expectancy has increased 25 years since 1920. Americans are living 78 years and 8 months on average, according to the CDC.
With a longer life expectancy, today’s population will experience major milestones, like retirement, in a different way than past generations. With more Americans living into their late 70s than ever before, ensuring that physical fitness and mobility is maintained later into life will become even more paramount.
Thinking back to your physics classes in school, you might remember a lesson on Newton’s Laws of Motion and inertia – objects will stay in motion unless impacted by an external force and objects at rest are much harder to move than those already in motion. This lesson can also be applied to your life and physical fitness.
Regular exercise is not only important because it has the ability to lower your risk of diseases, like heart disease and cancer, and maintain your balance and coordination. As you get older, your body has a harder time adjusting to new or increased levels of exercise; making it key to establish a basic level of fitness and a foundational workout routine early on in life. This also means it is crucial to identify ways you can keep your body moving for years to come. Here are a few ways you can stay active and age gracefully:
- Low-Impact Exercise
As you age, high-impact exercises, like running, are harder on your bones and joints, and could possibly lead to pain or injury. Luckily, there are plenty of low-impact workout options available that also allow you to enjoy the great outdoors, like walking or biking. Additionally, low-impact machines, like the Bowflex TreadClimber and Bowflex Max Trainer, offer calorie-burning workouts that are easy on your joints. Group workout classes that incorporate dancing, like Zumba or Jazzercise, are another way to get a great workout without damaging your joints, while socializing with your community.
- Water-Based Workouts
Taking your workout to the pool is another option to spare your joints while getting your heart rate up. The water provides natural resistance during your workout as well as natural buoyancy allowing the perfect environment for a challenging, but low-impact workout. Simply swim laps for a great cardio workout, or try this 10-minute pool workout from Bowflex Fitness Advisor Tom Holland for a full-body workout.
- Muscle & Bone Strengthening Exercises
Studies have shown that strength training can slow bone loss and even build bone density, helping to delay the natural onset of age-related bone loss and osteoporosis. Using free-weights and resistance bands offers flexibility to customize the level of difficulty during your workout, and as an added bonus, these workouts can be done anywhere, even when traveling.
While there is no way to avoid the aging process, there are ways you can make the experience more enjoyable and set your body up for long-term success. Enjoy a long, vibrant life, by establishing healthy routines now.