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A New Year for Critical Fitness Resolutions
It won’t come as any surprise to hear that aging has long had a stigma attached to it. You need look no farther than the gazillion products being marketed to prevent this process to know that. But a shift is underway. The age at which people consider themselves “old” has steadily been climbing. Just 62 percent of the 3,000 adults surveyed for a Pew Research Report on aging said that someone is old at 75.
From my vantage point as Director of Wellness for Inverness Village, an Asbury retirement community in Tulsa, Okla., I see this in action. From long-distance runners and competitive weight lifters to people whose cardiovascular workouts are of the volunteer-extraordinaire kind, the older adults I routinely see don’t view retirement as a time to slow down.
Maintaining physical strength and mobility is a key part of aging well. It’s hard to have a life filled with purpose and engagement if you have a difficult time getting out and about. Test yourself against these three, key fitness areas and see how you stack up.
Using a timer, walk in place, lifting your knees as high as you comfortably can for two minutes. If balance is an issue, hold onto a stable chair or counter. This self-paced test measures aerobic function, which is important for distance climbing stairs, shopping, vacationing and maintaining an active lifestyle.
- Goal: More than 65 steps in two minutes
Lower Body Strength
Sit in a stable chair, preferably one that is not cushioned. With your arms folded across the chest, come to a full stand. If balance is an issue, use a chair with arms. Leg strength – and balance – is reflected in how easily you can get in and out of a car, the bathtub and even bend over and pick up something off the floor.
- Goal: Eight stands in 30 seconds
Dynamic Balance and Agility
You will need a hand-held timer or a watch with a seconds hand for this exercise. Place a marker of some sort eight feet from a chair. Sit in the chair. Without using your hands to push off, stand up, walk around the marker and sit back down in the chair. This shows leg strength, balance and how well you maneuver around objects.
- Goal: Eight seconds or less for a complete circuit