Make exercise as enjoyable as possible so that it becomes a lifelong habit. Some people naturally like exercising and savor the experience itself. However, for most people, including me, working out can feel like a chore. I exercise regularly because I know that most of what we think of as the effects of aging actually are caused by sedentary lifestyle. But I prefer the carrot to the stick, so I try to make exercising something I want to do rather than focusing on it as something I ought to do.
What motivates you? If you love music, create an invigorating playlist for your exercise routine (I’m currently hooked on Hamilton, the musical). Try a dance or exercise class with a good soundtrack, like Zumba or NIA. If you enjoy nature, find a hike with spectacular scenery or go to a park with colorful gardens. Spring is a great time to make the most of milder outdoor temperatures and beautiful flower displays. Make your exercise time social by walking or running with a friend.
Experiment with different forms of engagement and distraction to figure out what works for you. Moving regularly for the rest of your life can significantly extend your lifespan and, more importantly, your healthspan.
Both cardiovascular and strength training exercise are crucial for aging well. Cardio improves your circulatory system, which brings nourishment to your body’s organs and clears out waste generated by the cells. Cardio exercise includes any vigorous activities that increase your heart rate, and it helps prevent heart disease, stroke, dementia, and some forms of cancer. Strength training is any activity that maintains and builds muscle, which helps prevent arthritis, falls, and broken bones, thus improving long-term quality of life.
Be creative about your movement choices. Find fun ways to stay active so that exercise becomes a regular and enjoyable part of your life.
Please share your favorite strategies for enjoying exercise with me. I’m always looking for new ideas!