How to Keep Going
Exercise for Seniors
For many older adults, motivation to keep exercising and doing physical activities isn't a problem. They say that regular physical activity makes them feel so much better that it would be hard to stop.
Others say that, while physical activity makes them feel better, a little extra motivation helps them get going. For example, one woman says she puts on headphones and listens to recorded books borrowed from the library to make her 40 minute walks more interesting. Now, she mall walks for an hour, 5 days a week, with a friend. Having that companionship is a good motivator, she says.
We have included this section on motivation because physical activity needs to be a regular, permanent habit to produce benefits. So does staying motivated!
Recording your progress and feeling yourself improve can be an excellent motivator to exercise. But don't get discouraged if you see that have improved by only a few seconds or just one or two lifts of a weight. In terms of real life benefits, those slight improvements are multiplied many times over as you include them in your everyday activities. You incorporate that extra little bit of endurance and strength into everything you do, and it adds up to a lot.
But no matter how enthusiastic you are about exercise, there may be times when you need extra motivation. It's common for beginning exercisers, especially those who are frail, to make fast progress at first. You might get discouraged when the improvements you were making taper off at times.
These leveling-off periods are normal. Often, they mean that it's time to gradually make your activities more challenging. If you have any doubts about whether you are doing the right things to progress, check with your doctor or a qualified fitness professional.
When you need extra motivation, try the following:
- Ask someone to be your exercise buddy. Many older adults agree that having someone to exercise with helps keep them going.
- Listen to recorded books or music while you do endurance activities.
- Set a goal, and decide on a reward you will get when you reach it.
- Give yourself physical activity homework assignments for the next day or the next week.
- Think of your exercise sessions as appointments, and mark them on your calendar.
- Keep a record of what you do and of your progress. Understand that there will be times that you don't show rapid progress and that you are still benefiting from your activities during those times.
- Plan ahead for travel, bad weather, and house guests. For example, an exercise video can help you exercise indoors when the weather is bad.
When it comes to motivation, the first month is crucial. If you can increase your physical activity for a month and keep going after that, you will have passed a critical landmark. It's a good sign that you are on your way to making exercise and physical activity regular, life long habits.
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Disclaimer: The material on this Web site is not intended to replace advice from your doctor or fitness professional. Please consult with your physician before beginning any fitness program or fat or weight reduction program. FitnessandFreebies.com takes no responsibility for individual results, or any claim made by a third party.