The National Institute of Aging (NIA) has introduced an exciting exercise program for seniors called Go4Life. Their slogan is:
“Stay Motivated and Stay Healthy”.
Go4life is a 5-step exercise plan with flexibility, in that seniors can do all steps or just choose from the menu. The NIA does stress, however, that all seniors should do Step 5 which is to eat healthy. Healthy eating goes hand-in-hand with a consistent exercise program.
Here are the 5 steps:
- Find your Starting Point Activity Log—find your current fitness level and explore ways to increase your physical activity with this worksheet.
- Goal-Setting Worksheet—write down your exercise goals, put them where you can see them, and update them regularly.
- Weekly Exercise & Physical Activity Plan—customize your own exercise and physical activity plan.
- Track Your Activities Daily Record—use these worksheets to track your exercise activities. Challenge yourself and be creative!
- Monthly Progress Test—track your fitness progress over time with this free tool.
Aging Institute: Start With Your Activity Log
The NIA gives you a downloadable exercise plan form which allows you to set up and record your daily exercise regimens. Start off with moderate level exercises to acclimate your body and gradually build up to a pace you can handle without excessive exertion.
Core exercise groups you should schedule for the week would include strength exercises for all of your major muscle groups. In addition, add balance and flexibility exercises. Alternate all groups throughout the week.
Aging Institute: Set Goals
You can break this down into two exercise groups: short term and long term goals. What do you want to achieve immediately and where do you want to be 6 months and 1 year, 2 years from now?
Aging Institute: Monthly Progress Updates
It’s always good to review your progress so that you can make any adjustments you deem necessary. For example, check and compare your weight and blood pressure scores. Do you need to make any changes to your daily diet? If you’re diabetic, what effect has exercise had on your condition?
Aging Institute: Daily Activities Log
Try different activities on different days of the week and don’t forget to challenge yourself.
Strength and Balance
The NIA recommends you do strength exercises for all of your major muscle groups on 2 or more days a week for 30-minute sessions each. should be on alternate days. Record the number of repetitions and the amount of weight you use.
How does your body feel? Are your joints pain free. Can you do your daily activities and get around with less exertion? Do you tire less frequently? Is your mood improved? Are you getting a good nights sleep?
If you stick to your plan, you should see significant improvements in all of these areas.