In this life coaching series we have looked at the 5BE’s of living well at an older age. Be Curious, Be Connected, Be Moderate, Be Still and finally, today Be Active.
Living Well means having a sense of purpose, a joy in getting out of bed each day and a commitment to loving and caring for yourself as an individual in the later years of their life.
Viva 70 could simply be called Living Well. A magazine for people over 50 who want to live full and healthy lives. But to me there’s more. You see it in some older people- an energy, a sense of joy in being here, a human spirit that inspires others and finds curiosity in the little moments of life. I call it a Viva spirit- a life force. As we age we ache and wear out. We tire more easily, our thinking slows down and we need to acknowledge and adapt our lives to this our older selves. Trying to stay young is a futile process. Trying to age well- be fit and healthy and caring of ourselves is more useful.
Today’s topic is being active. In my 20’s – 40’s and beyond I was a runner, a yoga enthusiast and a dancer. In my 50’s the going got tough. Clinical depression, menopause and life crises started my struggle with being fit. I still struggle. There are phases where I walk my 10,000 steps, do yoga and eat moderately and I feel so much better. There are also times when I’m computer bound, winter takes a hold and I become a slouch. It’s so hard to get going. I know every reason why being active is important but I just seem too tired to make a start.
Here are some questions for you to think about
- How would you describe your fitness level- aerobic fitness and flexibility and strength?
- Do you have an exercise/ fitness regime? Describe it
- Do you have a fitbit or keep track of steps on your phone?
- How much moving around do you do each day eg walking to the shops? Gardening? Climbing stairs?
- Do you have any injuries or illness which impact you being active? What can you do?
- When did you last have a fitness assessment?
- Think of the time in your life when you were most fit. What conditions/ supports were in place to support your fitness regime?
- How do you keep up the momentum of fitness?
I’m thinking here of the time I had my son. I was 31, very fit but having a baby was exhausting. A friend in my parents’ group had been an Olympic canoeist. Every morning she knocked (and knocked some more) on my door at 7am. We pushed the prams with bubs to the centre of a local oval and ran its perimeter. Some days I could only do 1 lap but I slowly built up until most days I could do 10 laps. Her discipline pushed me through and supported me to get fit again.
9. Describe the activities you would like to be doing now to be active and fit. Be very detailed and precise.
Being active is just that- moving. We all know the reasons why being strong and fit in our later years is important- strength training, aerobic fitness, flexibility are all aspects of being active in older age.
Here are some tips on how to get active
- Get medical clearance- I’m serious- we are older and we need to acknowledge and manage any wear and tear to our bodies
- Have a fitness assessment from a geriatrician/ exercise physiologist or someone who understands ageing bodies. Learn what you need to focus on.
- If you can, hire a personal trainer or form a small group of friends and hire a trainer. Again make sure they aren’t Rambo and understand older bodies
- Variety matters- mix it up- walking, steps, yoga, dance in the kitchen, fitness videos, golf and other sports, gardening, stair climbs, hiking, swimming, visit new places and go walking, Try Living Longer Living Stronger programs
- Take it one day at a time- focus on “What will I do today to exercise given what’s in the diary.”
- Start small-be patient- build up
- Buy new exercise gear- even K mart gear can make you feel funky enough to get out there
How do you get started with being active after a low period? What do you do to stay active? Please leave your comments below and let’s share ideas.
Here are some resources that may be useful