Maintaining Your Mobility

Why staying active is key
Lea Martin
24 April 2023
8 min read

Being physically active is one of the most important things you can do to maintain your mobility and reduce your risk of falls. Being active has other benefits, too.  It can help manage or prevent chronic conditions, support positive emotional and mental health, and keep your mind sharp!

If you’re wondering how active you need to be to see these benefits, we have you covered! Below is information on the recommended amount and type of physical activity for those 65+. 

This article will cover the following topics:

  • How active should you be?
  • What is the best type of activity for older adults?
  • Consider if a class is the right way for you to stay active!
  • How to make being active a habit (Video)

How active should you be?

In general, the physical activity recommendations say to move more and sit less! Some activity is better than none and you will gain health benefits for any amount of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity. 

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services gives specific physical activity recommendations for adults, including those 65+. 

  • While the recommendations are for all adults, it’s important that you determine the right amount and intensity of physical activity for your fitness level
  • If you aren’t sure what level or amount of physical activity is right for you, work with your doctor  to decide
  • It is especially important to include your doctor in decisions about physical activity if you have a health concern that could limit your ability to be physically active
Physical Activity Recommendations from LivWatch

What is the best type of activity for older adults?

Have you heard the saying “variety is the spice of life”? That’s also true when it comes to being active, especially after age 65! That’s why the LivWatch program included a number of different ways to stay active, such as your mobility walks, balance and strength training, and Tai Chi. 

As you plan how to stay active in the future, be sure to include each of the four main types of exercise: 

  • Endurance
  • Strength
  • Balance
  • Flexibility

If you need inspiration on exercises that fit into each category, The National Institute on Aging has fantastic resources, including example exercise types and a link to their YouTube channel with exercise videos for older adults.

Consider if a class is the right way for you to stay active!

There are a number of ways to stay active, including structured in-person and online exercise classes. If you are looking for a class to help you stay active, we have a few options we recommend:

  • Bold - Bold offers low-intensity workout programs you can do from home. Their programs have been shown to improve balance and strength. Bold has two membership options, Bold Basic, which is free, and Bold Premium, which is paid (monthly or annually). You can learn more about Bold and what they offer on their website: Age Bold – Variety of online fitness classes for older adults
  • Your local YMCA - Many YMCAs offer programs or training specifically for older adults. More information can be found at Health and Wellness Programs for Older Adults - YMCA. In addition to classes, YMCAs often offer self-serve workout options like lap-time for swimming, cardio machines, and weight lifting equipment. 
  • SilverSneakers - SilverSneakers is a nationwide program that offers in-person and remote classes. These are free for adults 65+ through certain Medicare plans. Check out Home | SilverSneakers to learn more.

How to make being active a habit

In the video above, we gave you our best suggestions on how to make being physically active a habit. Below you’ll find those tips and more to help you keep moving forward on your mobility journey!

Build a routine bit by bit

  • Link your new (or current) physical activity habit to the habits you already do
  • Schedule or block off the time you need to be active
  • Make being physically active the easy choice by setting yourself up for success

To make it a habit, track it

Track your activity to help you see progress, stay accountable, and reach goals

  • Did you know your Apple watch can help you track your activity and even let you set personal activity level goals? Check out the following resources for more information:

How to handle a habit setback

Keeping up a habit isn’t always smooth, but time away from being active doesn’t have to mean completely starting over

  • When you can’t be as active as you’d like, remember, some activity is better than none
  • Each day is a new chance to restart an old physical activity habit, or start a new one

Make it fun 

Keep your habit from getting stale by adding some variety

  • If you find your habit getting boring, don’t be afraid to mix it up - trying new activities can refresh a boring routine and keep your brain engaged 

If being active with others sounds like something for you, try making it social

  • Inviting others to your activity routine can turn being active into an enjoyable social experience

Scientifically backed ways to stay motivated and set goals

In addition to the tips we’ve already covered, the National Institute on Aging has a list of suggestions on staying motivated to exercise and includes useful examples

Make your physical activity goals SMART - SMART is a specific method of goal setting that can help anyone become more physically active 

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Lea Martin
24 April 2023
8 min read