How to Stay Motivated to Exercise as You Get Older
Staying active is integral to healthy living, especially as we age. And exercise isn’t just good for our physical health – it also promotes our mental health, provides us with more energy, and improves our sleep. But it can be difficult for seniors to stay motivated to exercise. It doesn’t have to be, though! Below are 11 strategies that will help older adults remain motivated to work out and reap the life-changing benefits that come with it:
1. Understand the benefits of staying active
Understanding the numerous benefits of staying active can be an excellent motivator to keep you committed. Regular exercise and physical activity can
- lower your risk of developing chronic diseases like heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, and certain cancers
- help you maintain strong bones and muscles and keep you independent longer
- improve your balance and coordination, decreasing fall risk
- reduce stress
- decrease depression and anxiety
- help with cognitive functioning
- improve sleep
- increase energy levels
All of these benefits can significantly improve your quality of life.
2. Make a plan and set specific, attainable goals
Set yourself up for success by writing your plan for the week ahead. Then set specific, realistic goals that you know you can achieve. For example, instead of jumping right in and saying you’re going to exercise for an hour every day, set a goal to exercise for 20 minutes three times a week. That way, you’ll be more likely to stick to it, and you can increase the time commitment once you get into the routine.
3. Go outside
Spending time outdoors can help break up your routine and be a power source to keep you going. Going out into nature can be peaceful, calming, and good for your health. Instead of going to the gym, take a walk around the neighborhood, explore a nearby park, or try a gentle outdoor yoga class. Not only will you get the benefits of exercising, but you’ll also get the added benefits of fresh air and sunshine, which can improve your mood and help you sleep better at night.
4. Exercise with a friend
Having a workout buddy can inspire you to keep going and stay on track; plus, it’s way more fun! It helps to have someone else invested in keeping you accountable and celebrating when you stick to your goals. You can take turns planning activities to do together or sign up for group classes at your local gym, senior living community, or recreation center.
5. Join a group class
Group classes can be a great way to stay motivated because the instructor will keep you on track and encourage you while also helping you modify your exercises fit for your age and health status. Plus, as we mentioned in the last point, working out with others can help keep your workouts pleasurable and engaging. You may even make some new friends in the process! Consider senior-specific classes such as low-impact aerobics, Tai chi, yoga, or gentle strength training.
6. Switch things up
Variety is the spice of life! Mixing up your workout routine can add excitement and keep boredom at bay. If you usually take a walk in the morning, try going for a swim later in the week. You could even try new activities like aqua aerobics, chair yoga, or line dancing. Switch things up, and you may find a favorite activity you wouldn’t have thought to do.
7. Track your progress with a visual
Visualization plays a vital role in driving us to stay in front of our goals. A great way to do this is to create a habit tracker, either on paper or digitally – whichever works best for you. Write down your goals in one column of a spreadsheet or graph, then color in a cell every time you make progress on your goal. Seeing how far you’ve come and what goals you’ve achieved will keep a spark of energy. You can also use the habit tracker to reward yourself when you reach certain milestones.
8. Celebrate your successes
No matter how big or small, make sure to celebrate your victories along the way! Give yourself credit for all your hard work and effort, whether it’s increasing your walking time or simply showing up to your first yoga class. Celebrating your successes can keep you motivated and remind you why you’re doing all this in the first place.
9. Choose activities you enjoy
Physical activity should be enjoyable, not something to dread or force yourself to do. To keep your motivation high, make sure to find activities that you like doing. Give yourself permission to experiment and try out different types of exercise until you find something you enjoy. Maybe it’s dancing, biking, swimming, or something else entirely – there are plenty of options to choose from.
10. Incorporate rest days
Rest is just as important as physical activity in maintaining your health, especially as you age. Make sure to incorporate rest days into your routine so your body can recover, repair itself, and prepare for the next day of physical activity. And rest days will keep you motivated, too – you’ll return to your workout feeling refreshed and ready to tackle it!
11. Hire a trainer
It can be helpful to have a professional on hand to provide guidance, support, and motivation. A trainer can give personalized instruction and advice tailored to your specific goals. They can also motivate you by encouraging you as you work toward your goals and celebrate with you as you reach them.
Staying active is critical for maintaining physical and mental health into your senior years. And with the right plan, reaching your goals and enjoying a healthy, active lifestyle can be easy. Roland Park Place offers exercise & wellness classes designed to provide guidance and support to help you reach your goals while having fun. Contact us today to learn more and see how we can help you live your best life.