Activity & Exercise
Physical activity (anything that gets the body moving) is necessary for health and well-being.
It has gained national attention; it is the compliment to a good diet--for everyone.
First of all, consider your ultimate goal in every day living -- to maintain your independence! Begin by thinking about reducing or limiting the amount of time you sit each day. Walk about the house (avoid the kitchen, though) every hour if your are prone to sitting a lot.
Here you are going to receive guidance on beneficial activity . . .
What Exercise Activity are You Doing Each Week?
How Many Minutes Do You Invest in Regular Exercise?
Is Your Exercise Aerobic, of Moderate or of Vigorous Intensity?
For most people, light daily activities such as shopping, cooking, or doing the laundry falls under light exercise. Why? Your body isn't working hard enough to get your heart rate up.
Moderate-intensity aerobic activity means you're working hard enough to raise your heart rate and break a sweat. One way to tell is that you'll be able to talk, but not sing the words to your favorite song. Here are some examples of activities that require moderate effort:
- Walking fast
- Doing water aerobics
- Riding a bike on level ground or with few hills
- Playing doubles tennis
- Pushing a lawn mower
Vigorous-intensity aerobic activity means you're breathing hard and fast, and your heart rate has gone up quite a bit. If you're working at this level, you won't be able to say more than a few words without pausing for a breath. It is approximately twice as challenging as moderate intensity exercise, such as jogging, swimming laps, riding a bike on rough terrain or hills.
Adults need 2 types of exercise; besides aerobic exercise we need muscle-strengthening activity to help us maintain flexibility, keep our upright balance, perform normal chores, drive the car, walk upright, rise from a chair, pick-up and carry objects, breathe deeply, etc.
What Is Your Fitness Level?
If you want to get serious - Mayo Clinic
Find out with this online Cooper test calculator, then come back
So, How Much Exercise is Enough to Maintain Your Health?
The CDC provides us with guidelines about frequency and duration of exercise. Those are the minimum guidelines. With your health care provider's approval you should challenge your body incrementally to gain the strength and agility you are capable of.
The American Council on Exercise (ACE) announced the launch of two walking toolkits, Walk this Way! and Walk the Talk!, "as part of its commitment to support the U.S. Surgeon General's landmark national call to action to promote walking and walkable communities. The toolkits contain a variety of resources designed to help create a culture of health that values and supports walking as a fundamental physical activity." Download it today!
Keep Hydrated! Drink Water!
Do you know how to recognize dehydration?
How much water do you need for your activity?
Thirst is not a good gauge to judge adequate fluid intake; the color of your urine is . . . If it is pale yellow, your status is probably good. It is a good practice to drink about 6 oz. of water before your activity and carry a bottle with you to sip on along the way. Avoid caffeinated drinks (soda or coffee) because caffeine is a diuretic.
Here is a website that guides you in rehydrating a person who has been sick and losing fluids from fever or other symptoms.
For the Hydration Calculator, visit here . . .
Once your physician has said it’s OK to start a physical activity program, you are ready to begin the First Step to Active Health program.
FirstSteps to Active Health
is an excellent Physical Activity program for building and maintaining flexibility and strength.
Here is how you can set your best foot forward . . .
Increasing your physical activity level can be relatively easy, if you know how. One easy way is to incorporate physical activity into your normal routines like walking rather than driving, taking the stairs instead of the elevator, or parking the car further away from the store. There are several steps to getting started with a more structured physical activity program.
- While it is generally not necessary to see a health care provider before beginning every-day physical activities that are of light or moderate intensity, we encourage you to talk with your health care provider about your health and exercise as part of your regular visits.
- Test your physical limitations. Download the First Step Assessment Form and review the functional task checklist (Download Assessment form as PDF). Mark those tasks that you have relative difficulty performing. Next, check the activities that are very important for your daily living.
- Set your goals. Once you have identified your limitations, you can determine which physical activities are most important for you to perform. Your goals should be based on your limitations noted above as well as your own preferences. You should write your goals down on the chart by listing at least 5 of the specific functional tasks you need to improve. Once you have your goals listed, you need to give yourself a reasonable timetable for achieving them.
- Develop your physical activity program. The American College of Sports Medicine recommends the following components of any exercise program, particularly for older adults:
- Incorporate moderate activities for a goal of 30 minutes, at least 4 days per week
- Include warm-up & cool down with each workout
- Perform strengthening activities at least 2 days per week
- Incorporate balance activities into daily activities
Keep track of your activity using an ACTIVITY LOG (pdf)
Thus, a well-rounded physical activity program includes aerobic, flexibility, strengthening, and balance activities. The First Step to Active Health program addresses each of these areas, to improve specific functional tasks among older adults by providing a simple 4-step routine to increase physical activity.
Begin with Step 1, Cardiorespiratory/Aerobic activities. Once you are comfortable with activities in Step 1, begin adding some activities from Step 2, Flexibility. As your physical activity routine becomes more consistent, add activities from Step 3 and then Step 4 to your routine. Some people may start and quickly work through all four steps; others may only be able to do one or two steps. While it's ideal to be able to complete each of these components on a weekly basis, simply doing any type of physical activity is better than none!
Read the SAFETY REMINDERS (to the right) before starting any physical activity.
Now proceed to . . .
Step 1 - CARDIO-RESPIRATORY/AEROBIC ACTIVITIES
STEP 2: FLEXIBILITY ACTIVITIES
STEP 3: STRENGTHENING ACTIVITIES
STEP 4: BALANCING ACTIVITIES
Balance Activity with Adequate Sleep
Have You Fallen Outdoors Recently? How can you prevent another episode?
Here is some guidance from a geriatric physician . . .
For Walking Enthusiasts Who Want to Organize Community Walking Groups: