Here’s the bad news: The state of Ohio has an obesity rate of 33.8%, the 11th highest in the nation.
You’re probably aware that physical activity is important to one’s overall health and well-being. And, like many Ohioans, you may not get as much exercise as much as you should.
But here’s the GOOD news: If you’ve made a resolution to be more physically active next year, there are ways to get—and keep—you motivated.
Resolve to be more independent as you age
Physical activity is one of the single most important things you can do for your health. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), regular exercise can help:
- Reduce your risk of numerous diseases, including some cancers.
- Strengthen your bones and muscles, which helps prevent falls.
- Improve your mental health.
Disease, accidents due to falls, and a loss of cognitive function are all major reasons seniors become less independent as they age. Exercise helps prevent all three, increasing the likelihood you’ll be able to pursue your passions well into your later years.
Get a “workout buddy”
Exercising with someone not only gives you an opportunity to add a social element to your workout but also increases your chances of maintaining a regular routine. A study at Indiana University found that married couples who worked out together had a much lower dropout rate than couples who worked out separately (6.3% to 43%). This could be as simple as walking with your spouse or neighbor every morning. For even more motivation, take a friend to an exercise class at the local senior center. The more people you have supporting you, the more likely you’ll stick to a routine.
Get (or borrow!) a dog
A dog is a great workout buddy. First, they need to be walked, so you have a constant source of motivation. Numerous studies show that dog owners are healthier than non-owners and the benefits extend beyond physical health. In a study conducted by psychologists at Miami University and St. Louis University, researchers discovered that pet ownership led to better overall health and well-being.
If keeping a dog full-time seems impractical, you likely have neighbors or family members with dogs who would love to take a walk with you! And maybe their owner will join you, too!
Set a goal
If you walk in the mornings, set a goal to walk to the park and back or three laps around the lake. Having a specific goal will help you keep focused and make you less likely to become distracted by all the temptations that will try to keep you from keeping your commitment.
Think about setting a goal to participate in an activity at some point in the future – a walk for a charity, perhaps. You can already sign up for the 2020 Cincinnati Walk to End Alzheimer’s, which takes place in October.
Clip-on a pedometer
A study of more than 300 New Zealand seniors found that people walked almost twice as much when they wore a pedometer. These devices allow people to check their progress. Having something that keeps a record of your level of activity seems to be a great motivator for people to get moving.
Put exercise on your daily to-do list and schedule a specific time for it. Most people do best by having a regular time each day—perhaps first thing in the morning, mid-afternoon, or in the evening after dinner. Having a regular routine helps many stick to their commitment more easily.
Add in some fun
Look for activities in which you already have an interest—such as gardening, dancing, or golf. It’s much easier to get motivated for something you actually enjoy doing! If your main activity is walking, change your route to include new sights and sounds to keep you interested.
Caregivers are walkers too!
At Assisting Hands serving Cincinnati OH, our caregivers can help motivate you or your loved ones and let them feel safe and secure while getting more exercise. They won’t feel as concerned about falling if they know they have a helping hand available. Add life to you or your loved one’s years with healthy activity. Give us a call at Assisting Hands serving Cincinnati OH at (859) 444-5699 and learn how we can help meet those New Year’s resolutions.
Assisting Hands Home Care in association with IlluminAge. Copyright © IlluminAge.