Physical activity is an important part of maintaining health. However, it will only be effective if it is done consistently. And for some people -- like those between 40 and 65 years old -- committing to staying active may be difficult. Here are seven fun and enjoyable exercises to help you stay active as you age:
Commit to a walking program: Walking is the simplest and easiest way to exercise. Everyone knows how to walk, and you don't need a gym membership or a personal trainer to do it. You can start gradually and build your way up to five or six days every week. Make it more fun by walking together with your friends or family. You can also commit to a walking program such as EverWalk, which was launched by a veteran marathon swimmer named Diana Nyad. The program aims to encourage over one million Americans to start walking each day.
Engage in strength training: At midlife, building muscle becomes more important as you tend to lose muscle mass and gain weight with age. You can start building your muscles by engaging in strength training. Try simple exercises that use your own body weight, such as planks, pushups, hip bridges, squats, and lunges.
Enroll in a yoga class: Practicing yoga benefits both the body and mind. Yoga is a great way to enhance strength and flexibility, and an even greater way to practice mindfulness. Hormonal changes occur in midlife and it can be challenging to manage your thoughts. For people who are in their forties or fifties, being able to release their negative thoughts is helpful. At this age, you may feel that you have lost your connection to yourself, and yoga can help you get yourself back. Yoga also helps reduce stress.
Learn to appreciate water exercise: Working out in your community pool can be a fun way to exercise and a great way to boost your low-impact activity. Water workouts provide resistance, which strengthens muscles and enhances cardio intensity. They also help to expand your joint base and overcome your fear of falling while you are exercising. Water supports some of your weight, making it easier on your joints and reducing your chances of getting injured. In addition, pool exercises are beneficial to people with joint injuries, infections, chronic conditions like chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia, and arthritis, and those who've had surgery because they help shorten recovery time and relieve symptoms. Pool exercises are also great for people trying to lose weight.
Move your body to the rhythm: Dancing is one of the most fun ways to stay active. It is beneficial to your physical and mental health, as well as to your social life. It helps you burn calories and improves your balance, strength, and endurance. Dancing also improves your brain function as you need cognitive ability, adaptability, and concentration to move with the music and your partner. Your memory is also enhanced through dancing as you need to memorize choreography. (Related: Go dancing! Study shows it prevents age-related decline better than traditional exercise.)
Play golf: Golf is a sport that combines strength and flexibility, leg strength, and the meditative quietness of nature that relaxes your mind -- which makes it a great sport for people in their middle age.
Try boxing: Boxing, a type of high-intensity interval training, is also a great way to enhance your upper body strength and manage midlife weight. The number of older women getting in to the ring to spar with one another has increased in recent years. Boxing also improves how older women's arms look.
Being physically active in midlife helps slow down aging and helps prevents the development of diseases, such as diabetes, obesity, heart disease, and many others.