By Liz Masik, NBC-HWC
September is Healthy Aging Month, and it is a great time to get back on a schedule and refocus on building better lifestyle habits. It is also a reminder that time keeps moving and getting older is a fact of life. We all want to live long, healthy, and happy lives, but unhealthy habits can put the kibosh on the quality of your life. To equip your body for the marathon that is called life, start incorporating these habits now:
1) Sit less, move more: Sitting for long bouts is the kiss of death. The Sax Institute’s “45 and Up” study found that adults who sat eleven or more hours per day had 40% greater risk of dying in the next three years than those who sat for fewer than 4 hours per day. Stand up every half hour, walk around your house while talking on the phone or add in a morning and/or night walk.
2) Pick an activity that you enjoy, and get moving! The American College of Sports Medicine recommends that American adults do 2.5 to 5 hours of moderate-intensity aerobic activity or 1.25-2.5 hours of vigorous-intensity aerobic activity each week.
- Playing racket sports had the highest return for cardiovascular issues: There was a 27% reduction in risk for death from heart disease and 16% less risk of early death after rack sports.
- Walking for exercise is also beneficial for lowering risk of early death. Not only does it burn calories, it also improves the strength of your heart and enhances problem solving skills, which is great for the brain!
3) Build in strength training: Muscle is key to better metabolism, especially as you get older. Not only do muscles keep our bodies functional, but they help burn calories at rest. In addition, building and maintaining strength as we age can actually lead to living longer. According to the National Health Interview Survey (NHIS), active agers who performed strength training at least two times per week had 46% lower odds of dying for any reason compared to those who did not participate in strength training. Additionally, as we get older, we lose about 8% of our muscle mass per decade (starting at age 40!). To reap the benefits from strength training, focus on lifting enough weights/bands/body weight to cause fatigue within 8 to 12 repetitions.
4) Work on your balancing act: Balance is the new fitness trend, for a good reason. Among 65 year and older adults, 35% to 45% of otherwise healthy adults fall at least once per year. Decreased balance is attributed to decline in muscle mass, flexibility, strength, central nervous system processing, and slowed motor responses. Want a quick way to work on balance? Channel your inner flamingo and balance on one foot while brushing your teeth in the morning, and switch legs when brushing your teeth at night.
Want to learn more about ways to age in a healthier way? Click on the registration link below and join our September SENS Solution Webinar to listen to Dr. Jordan Metzl as he educates and motivates us on optimizing our health and wellbeing through movement.
Click here to register for The Exercise Cure: Optimizing Health & Wellbeing Through Movement.
Are you struggling with setting, achieving and maintaining health goals? Get the tools and ongoing support you need from one of our SENS Solution Health Coaches at no additional cost. Your personal SENS Solution Health Coach will provide support via remote phone sessions to help you set realistic health goals and develop an ongoing plan to reach your wellness goals and adopt a healthier lifestyle. Health Coaching has shown to be quite effective in developing and maintaining new healthy habits! Members begin to see positive behavioral changes in as short as 2 sessions.
To get connected to a health coach, fill out the form below.