Staying healthy is easier for me now that I’m a member of the USATF Georgia Race Walk Committee. Recently, I attended a day-long seminar called “Putting the Pieces Together: An Athletic Wellness, Health Promotion, Injury Rehabilitation & Prevention Podium Masterclass.”
It may be a mouthful, but the class was excellent. Because I enjoyed it so much, I thought I’d share some of the ideas because they apply to everyone. Here are a few things that may help some other older adults with their fitness and health journeys.
It doesn’t matter if you’re walking ten miles a day. If you’re not properly fueling your body, you won’t see a lick of progress. You’ve got to find a healthy balance. You can’t eat too much, and you can’t eat too little. Speaking of too little, getting less than an optimal amount of sleep is awful for your health! Power off electronic devices well before bedtime. This includes phones, computers, and TVs. Going to bed at the same time every day helps. Of course, you can’t beat a full night’s rest of 8 to ten hours. Not only will this improve your mood, but it may help lower your risk for serious health problems, like diabetes and heart disease.
If you really want to make strides on your health journey, then keep a log of everything you do. When you wake up in the morning, write down your heartbeat. Record how many hours you slept. When you go walking or training, write down how far, how fast, and the route you took. You can even add some notes about how you felt, the weather, etc. When you take a day off, write that down. This will help balance your training and recovery, track your progress, and motivate you.
Do cross-training and vary your exercises. Don’t just walk the same path, distance, or speed every day. In other words, switch things up every so often! It’s not healthy or helpful to do the same things over and over again. My current routine involves walking, gym time, and pickleball several times a week. Also, work your core! Building a stronger core helps with just about everything we do. Sadly, our core doesn’t get enough attention. You need at least a basic routine to strengthen your core muscles, which will stabilize your spine and pelvis. Some weight training of the upper and lower body can also help fortify bone density.
Of course, as you’d probably expect, a day-long seminar imparted a wealth of practical advice and tips! I don’t have time to write them all down, but I want to dispense a bit more wisdom. Here are a few more tips that may help you stay healthy:
Remember, folks. Rome wasn’t built in a day. You can’t get fit and healthy in a day, either! However, what you can do every day is try to make healthy choices. Choose an apple for dessert instead of a cupcake. Go outside and walk for thirty minutes instead of binge-watching TV. Drink water instead of moving. Above all else, stay active. Enjoy retirement to the fullest. There is no time to get healthy quite like now.
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Originally published August 31, 2023