According to a recent study published May 15, in HealthDay News, those who are out of shape in their 40s and 50s can begin a fitness regimen and still succeed in lowering their odds for heart failure later in life. Yet, according to the American Heart Association (AHA), getting Americans to move more and eat better continues to be a huge barrier towards achieving heart health; thirty-two percent of American adults continue to perform no aerobic activity.
The AHA Recommendation for heart health is 150 minutes of moderate intensity or 75 minutes of vigorous intensity aerobic activity each week. However, those who have reached middle age and find exercise a distant memory, or something yet to be attempted, chances are the barriers to initiating a fitness plan seem overwhelming.
According to Russell Pate Ph.D professor in the Department of Exercise at the University of South Carolina, in an Jan.11, 2013 American Lung Association article, “Building physical activity back into our daily lives is one of the great public health challenges of this century.”
So if you are over 40 and having trouble beginning an exercise program here are 5 top tips for ‘sneaking fitness’ into your life: be it dancing around your living room or walking to the fax, there are opportunities everyday to increase activity level for a heart health:
Get Fit in Middle Age to Cut Heart Failure Risk, Study Says; May 15, Health News, HealthDay, Steven Reinberg, Health Day Reporter
No time for exercise? Try our Top 10 Tips to get more! Updated: Jan 11,2013 American Heart and Lung association
1)Walk: for a purpose
Especially if you are not a fan of the treadmill, walking for a reason other than exercise can take the pressure off.
Get out the leash and walk your dog. It’s a great activity for both man and man’s best friend. Your heart — and your pooch — will thank you!
Go for a walk with your child, or other family member: builds quality one-on-one time while setting a healthy example.
Sweating (or shivering) at the thought of walking outside? Go for a mall walk: window shop, people watch and give your heart a workout in a climate-controlled and safe environment.
Walk and talk. Even if you’re glued to your phone for work calls, you don’t have to be glued to your seat. Make it a habit to talk and walk. Try to incorporate ‘walking meetings’ into your workday and instigate a health conscious culture at the office.
2) Add exercise to everyday activities:
Our bodies were designed to be physically active, but our modern day conveniences have encouraged a more sedentary lifestyle. It may take some effort to spare the extra time, but isn’t your heart worth it?
Park and walk. Stop wasting time circling the parking lot for that ‘perfect spot’. Spare yourself the stress and gain more energy by parking far away (or even in a remote lot) and walking farther to your destination.
Take the stairs. The elevator may go up and down, but your heart rate won’t budge unless your body does. Take the stairs instead. It may be a struggle at first, but take your time, and eventually you will adapt and your body will gain the benefits.
Reorganize your work space to encourage activity: is the printer and fax within reach? Moving them to a location which forces you to get up out of the chair not only adds activity, but gives your mind a good mental break.
3) Make it social
Connecting with others in similar pursuits will increase the chances of sticking with it.
Join a team: Pick an activity you enjoy and round up some friends. Team sports can be fun, and will keep you accountable and continue to stick with it.
Dance: Do it in a ballroom, at a club or even in your living room (at least at first!) You’ll burn calories and perhaps make new friends or create greater bonds with current ones. Try that Zumba or Jazzercise dance fitness class you have been eyeing.
Take a fitness class: According to the Physical Activity Council Top Line report, fitness classes rank among the top 10 aspirational activities for American Adults. Try something fun, and bring a friend so you can encourage each other. The AHA also recommends 2 or more days per week of moderate to high intensity muscle-strengthening activities in addition to aerobic activity, so try a muscle conditioning class to learn proper form and avoid injury.
4) Channel your ‘inner child’, but skip the sweets!
Bike Riding: Riding a bike is a skill most of us learned as a child. It is a great cardiovascular exercise and can be done almost anywhere. Make it an adventure and explore new areas, or even join a biking club that accommodates beginners if you are just starting back on a fitness plan.
Look for opportunities to ‘play’: Reframe your perception of exercise to be associated with the fun times of youth: take an explorative hike, take a few swings at the batting cage, jump in the waves of the ocean, play toss with the kids or even catch with the dog.
Say ‘no’ to cake and goodbye to pie: Remind your inner child that you’ll get a reward that’s sweeter than dessert: more years with your family! Take a walk after meal time to avoid temptation by lingering at the table.
5) Incorporate into leisure or relaxation
Tune into fitness during TV time. Reject your inner couch potato. Walk, jog in place or use the treadmill at the gym while you watch your favorite TV show, catch up on the news, or watch that movie you have wanted to see.
Take a Yoga, Pilates, or Tai Chi Class: Yoga can help lower blood pressure, increase lung capacity, improve respiratory function and heart rate, and boost circulation and muscle tone. It can also improve your overall well-being while offering strength-building benefits. Pilates is a system of strengthening and stretching exercises designed to develop the body’s core (abdominals, low back, hips, and gluteus) and ultimately lead to better posture and balance. Physical benefits of Tai Chi include better balance, improved strength, flexibility and aerobic endurance.
Of course the more energy you put into any of these modalities the more you get out of it.