I’m often asked to talk about the most important exercise and nutrition tips for Baby Boomers and seniors. Like many health professionals and speakers, I’ve come up with an acronym to make my message more memorable: INSPIRE ME!
I–Initialize your journey.
Check with healthcare provider; obtain baseline data. You need to know where you are (weight, blood pressure, blood sugar–whatever your important medical data) to monitor your progress. And know the big WHY! What is the driving force behind your fitness quest–getting off the sofa, decreasing reliance on medication, living to see your grandchildren graduate? These goals will sustain you through obstacles and plateaus.
Develop support systems and rewards. One of the biggest predictors of success in any new behavior program is a viable support system–a family member, friend, Facebook buddy or neighbor. Rewards are likewise vital, as they’re your own “pat on the back” for a job well done.
S–Slurp it up.
Drink lots of water (don’t wait to be thirsty!). Most folks don’t drink enough water, especially seniors. The general recommendation is 8 cups of water per day. If you’re urinating every couple hours, and the color is pale yellow, you’re probably well hydrated.
Lift weights and progressively increase resistance. Strength training is critical for strong muscles to support your body and maintain self-sufficiency.
I–Include cardiovascular exercise, also.
Aim for 150 minutes of moderate-level activity per week. Walking, swimming, bicycling, dancing, gardening and bowling help strengthen your heart and lungs, and control weight, blood sugar and blood pressure.
R–Rainbow-ize your diet.
Eat brightly colored fruits and vegetables, 7+ servings per day. These gems are full of vitamins, minerals, fiber and phytochemicals that help stave off inflammatioin and guard against some of today’s biggest killers–heart disease, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, cancer and mental decline.
E–Eat less red meat, sugar, salt and total fats.
A plant-based diet without a lot of added extras will help keep your blood vessels, muscles and brain healthy!
M–Move throughout the day.
Get up once every hour to engage large muscles. Our bodies were made for moving, and we do it less and less! Make a conscious effort to get off your bootie every hour for a few minutes to stretch and exercise your legs!
E–Enjoy healthy fats from fish, nuts and olive oil.
These foods contain unsaturated fats and omega-3 fatty acids–anti-inflammatories and anti-oxidants that help protect against aging.
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