The past few years of stay-at-home COVID initiatives have made many of us less than active. And with easy access to comfort and snack foods, we may have also added some extra weight. The good news is, it’s easy to get moving and anyone at any age can get active and have fun while doing it.
Let's Get Active
Staying active is one of the best things you can do for yourself and can make everyday life easier. It can boost your stamina, improve your mood, manage weight, reduce the risk of disease, help maintain your balance and so much more. If you are overweight, losing even five to 10 pounds can help reduce your blood pressure and lower your risk for other medical problems like Type 2 diabetes. Research has also found that for adults 60 and older, taking 6,000 – 8,000 more steps per day is associated with living longer. The bottom line, physical activity will help you feel better about yourself in so many ways.
Before you start, always talk to your doctor about the right level of activity for you. The National Institute on Aging recommends at least 2.5 hours, or 150 minutes, of moving and getting active throughout your week for older adults. This includes anything that gets you moving, like walking up and down the stairs or to the mailbox, walking around the grocery store or sweeping your kitchen. Some ways to work physical activity into your day include:
- Walk around the block
- Walk at the mall or grocery store
- Play with your grandkids
- Walk the dog
- Yardwork, weeding or gardening
- Housework like vacuuming, sweeping, mopping or dusting
- Cooking or baking
- Swinging a golf club in the backyard
- Practice putting indoors
Remember, we're not talking about jogging or lifting weights necessarily but just getting more physical activity into your day. Be mindful of the medications you are taking along with any health problems you may have. It’s always important to get a physical exam and talk to your physician about safe ways you can get active.
Get Fit and Have Fun
Think outside the box about what motivates you. There are so many convenient options that can be enjoyable and help you achieve a healthier lifestyle. Many places, such as local Senior Centers*, offer activity programs and a variety of amenities. These resources have a strong sense of community and are great resources to help ease your way into getting active. Here are some ways to get fit and have fun:
- Water aerobics, hot tubs, tennis courts, walking tracks, golf courses, pickleball courts and more
- Wellness workshops, including healthy eating, brain health and stress management classes
- Personalized workout tips to tackle specific medical conditions like high blood pressure
- At home, on-demand video workouts
- Dance classes for line dancing, salsa dancing, ballroom dancing and more
- Chair aerobics and yoga classes
- Strength and fall prevention exercise classes
- Neck stretches and balance drills
- Guided hikes and other outdoor activities
- If you like competition, many local communities offer fitness challenges, races, and recreational sports leagues for specific age groups.
The key is finding something you like and sticking with it. The best part is that many of these services offer FREE door-to-door transportation. It can get you out the door and on your way to feeling your best.
Make a Plan
Start slowly and think about how much activity you need. It may be helpful to write down your short-term and long-term fitness and health goals and review them regularly with your doctor. Be realistic and write down health goals that are important to you. For example:
Today I will do some yard work and take a walk around my neighborhood.
By the end of the week, I will get at least 6,000 steps.
By the end of each month, I’d like to lose 1-2 pounds to improve my blood pressure.
It is important to plan ahead. Make sure to include warm-up and cool-down stretches when exercising. Drink plenty of water before, during and after your workout to reduce the risk of heat stress. Wear comfortable shoes that are supportive and breathable clothing that is appropriate for your fitness plan. If you plan to be outdoors bring a hat, pack sunscreen and don’t forget that water bottle to keep you hydrated.
Everyday movement unlocks so many benefits to your overall health, including maintaining your independence. Consider all forms of physical activity that you enjoy and that get your body moving. Any sort of activity counts, including things that don’t feel like exercise. Do what you can and build up your activity over time. It’s never too late to take your first step.
 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2022). Benefits of Physical Activity. https://www.cdc.gov/physicalactivity/basics/pa-health/
 The Lancet Public Health (2022). Daily steps and all-cause mortality. https://doi.org/10.1016/S2468-2667(21)00302-9
 National Institute on Aging (2020). How Older Adults Can Get Started with Exercise. https://www.nia.nih.gov/health/how-older-adults-can-get-started-exercise
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S7694_22-6987_enewsletter 2022_C Reviewed 07/14/22
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