It is a different kind of numbers game when it comes to senior fitness. The recommendations just abound in article after article in terms of how much exercise in terms of time and exertion. One of the better ones I have found lately is:
The simple truth is we are buying more time on the planet by spending time keeping fit. Occasionally the conflict in the advice can be annoying and the prospect of keeping up can be daunting. Having just read the article in the NYT on the 100 year old Bronx woman who still runs…I just get blown away at times by the outliers of limitless senior fitness. Yes, there are 90 year old people who run marathons and people who are still are teaching yoga into their later years, but do not be intimated.
Ask yourself the question what is best combination of your own Olympics of senior fitness? I have finally at almost 67, landed on a formula that works best for me. The recommendation for 150 minutes of moderate exercise a week, seems to be the goal. How they come up with this magic number is of course documented scientifically but you have to add it up one none couch potato moment at a time.
For me it means at last two longer hilly walks ( 45 minutes each) a week and at least one trip to the gym that will include some strength/weight resistance if not training at least effort ( 30-40 minutes). Add to that in this spring season some time spent with enthusiastic gardening and I am at peace with my measuring up.
I do not include my Tai Chi time as it is gentle exercise even though it benefits me greatly in balance and flexibility. Also the chores of taking care of our aging in place home count for something. No golf carts included.
A good portion of the research that is now finally being done on senior fitness, talks about rates of warding off premature death. Of course most of the conclusions have something to do with dissecting someone’s “gray” matter. The numbers change on that too, but it should also be about enjoying that life that includes moderate exertion activities.
The brain is benefiting too as you exercise. Even though the sheer number of cases of Alzheimer’s is increasing as the population swells, the rates are going down. A Again another great read the Wellness blogs from the NYT : http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2016/04/07/sweat-smart/?hpw&rref=health&action=click&pgtype=Homepage&module=well-region®ion=bottom-well&WT.nav=bottom-well&_r=0
So dancing and gardening do count as moderate exercise. Time for me to get out there and at least if not to tip toe through the tulips, to walk down to the garden carrying water supplies to care for my new garden! It’s not running the 60 yard dash in less than 30 seconds at age 100 but it works for me!