In fact, adults who become active later in life often show greater physical and mental improvements than their younger counterparts. Just begin with gentle activities and build up from there. Fact: Chair-bound people face special challenges but can lift light weights, stretch, and do chair aerobics, chair yoga, and chair Tai Chi to increase their range of motion, improve muscle tone and flexibility, and promote cardiovascular health. Many swimming pools offer access to wheelchair users and there are adaptive exercise programs for wheelchair sports such as basketball.
Many older people find that regular activity not only helps stem the decline in strength and vitality that comes with age, but actually improves it. The key is to start off gently. Think about activities that you enjoy and how you can incorporate them into an exercise routine:. Staying active is not a science.
Just remember that mixing different types of physical activity helps both to keep your workouts interesting and improve your overall health. The key is to find activities that you enjoy—based on the four building blocks of fitness. These are:. Try yoga, Tai Chi, and posture exercises to gain confidence with balance. Also reduces risk of falling and fear of falls. What it is: Uses large muscle groups in rhythmic motions over a period of time. Cardio workouts get your heart pumping and you may even feel a little short of breath. Includes walking, stair climbing, swimming, hiking, cycling, rowing, tennis, and dancing.
Promotes independence by improving endurance for daily activities such as walking, house cleaning, and errands. What it is: Builds up muscle with repetitive motion using weight or external resistance from body weight, machines, free weights, or elastic bands. Power training is often strength training done at a faster speed to increase power and reaction times. Power training can improve your speed while crossing the street, for example, or prevent falls by enabling you to react quickly if you start to trip or lose balance.
Building strength and power will help you stay independent and make day-to-day activities easier such as opening a jar, getting in and out of a car, and lifting objects. This can be done through stationary stretches and stretches that involve movement to keep your muscles and joints supple and less prone to injury. Yoga is an excellent means of improving flexibility. Walking is a perfect way to start exercising.
It requires no special equipment, aside from a pair of comfortable walking shoes, and can be done anywhere. Senior sports or fitness classes. Keeps you motivated while also providing a source of fun, stress relief, and a place to meet friends. Water aerobics and water sports. Combines a series of poses with breathing. Moving through the poses helps improve strength, flexibility and balance, and can be adapted to any level.
Tai Chi and Qi Gong. Martial arts-inspired systems of movement that increase balance and strength. Classes for seniors are often available at local YMCA or community centers. Get medical clearance from your doctor before starting an exercise program, especially if you have a preexisting condition. Ask if there are any activities you should avoid. Consider health concerns. Keep in mind how your ongoing health problems affect your workouts. For example, diabetics may need to adjust the timing of medication and meal plans when setting an exercise schedule.
Listen to your body. Exercise should never hurt or make you feel lousy.
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Stop exercising immediately and call your doctor if you feel dizzy or short of breath, develop chest pain or pressure, break out in a cold sweat, or experience pain. And put your routine on hold if a joint is red, swollen, or tender to the touch—the best way to cope with injuries is to avoid them in the first place. Millennials love to complain about other millennials giving them a bad name. None of these tasks were that hard: getting knives sharpened, taking boots to the cobbler, registering my dog for a new license, sending someone a signed copy of my book, scheduling an appointment with the dermatologist, donating books to the library, vacuuming my car.
I was publishing stories, writing two books, making meals, executing a move across the country, planning trips, paying my student loans, exercising on a regular basis. My shame about these errands expands with each day. I remind myself that my mom was pretty much always doing errands. Did she like them? But she got them done. I realized that the vast majority of these tasks shares a common denominator: Their primary beneficiary is me, but not in a way that would actually drastically improve my life.
They are seemingly high-effort, low-reward tasks, and they paralyze me — not unlike the way registering to vote paralyzed millennial Tim.
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Tim and I are not alone in this paralysis. Another woman told me she had a package sitting unmailed in the corner of her room for over a year. To my mind, burnout was something aid workers, or high-powered lawyers, or investigative journalists dealt with. It was something that could be treated with a week on the beach.
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But the more I tried to figure out my errand paralysis, the more the actual parameters of burnout began to reveal themselves. Why am I burned out? Why have I internalized that idea? Because everything and everyone in my life has reinforced it — explicitly and implicitly — since I was young. So what now?
Should I meditate more, negotiate for more time off, delegate tasks within my relationship, perform acts of self-care, and institute timers on my social media? How, in other words, can I optimize myself to get those mundane tasks done and theoretically cure my burnout? That has required a shift in the way people within and outside of our generation configure their criticism.
Many of the behaviors attributed to millennials are the behaviors of a specific subset of mostly white, largely middle-class people born between and Our parents — a mix of young boomers and old Gen-Xers — reared us during an age of relative economic and political stability. As with previous generations, there was an expectation that the next one would be better off — both in terms of health and finances — than the one that had come before.
But as millennials enter into mid-adulthood, that prognosis has been proven false. Financially speaking, most of us lag far behind where our parents were when they were our age.
We have far less saved, far less equity, far less stability, and far, far more student debt. And millennials?
As American business became more efficient, better at turning a profit, the next generation needed to be positioned to compete. In a marked shift from the generations before, millennials needed to optimize ourselves to be the very best workers possible. And that process began very early.
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In Kids These Days: Human Capital and the Making of Millennials , Malcolm Harris lays out the myriad ways in which our generation has been trained, tailored, primed, and optimized for the workplace — first in school, then through secondary education — starting as very young children. Unstructured day care has become pre-preschool. Neighborhood Kick the Can or pickup games have transformed into highly regulated organized league play that spans the year. Unchanneled energy diagnosed as hyperactivity became medicated and disciplined.
I spent my recess time playing on the very dangerous! I wore a helmet to bike and skateboard, but my brother and I were the only kids we knew who did.
I took piano lessons for fun, not for my future. I took the one AP class available to me, and applied to colleges on paper, by hand! The goals are somewhat different, but the supervision, the attitude, the risk assessment, and the campaign to get that child to that goal are very similar.
Four years postgraduation, alumni would complain that the school had filled with nerds: No one even parties on a Tuesday! There were still obnoxious frat boys and fancy sorority girls, but they were far more studious than my peers had been.
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They skipped fewer classes. They religiously attended office hours. They emailed at all hours. But they were also anxious grade grubbers, paralyzed at the thought of graduating, and regularly stymied by assignments that called for creativity. They were, in a word, scared. Every graduating senior is scared, to some degree, of the future, but this was on a different level. When my class left our liberal arts experience, we scattered to temporary gigs: I worked at a dude ranch; another friend nannied for the summer; one got a job on a farm in New Zealand; others became raft guides and transitioned to ski instructors.
But these students were convinced that their first job out of college would not only determine their career trajectory, but also their intrinsic value for the rest of their lives. Whether that job is as a professional sports player, a Patagonia social media manager, a programmer at a startup, or a partner at a law firm seems to matter less than checking all of those boxes.