There is a myth about aging that says you will face an inevitable physical decline. Perhaps myth is not quite the correct word. Everyone gets older, many diseases are more likely to affect you as you age, and everyone will slow down a little bit physically. If you were an athlete when you were younger, you’re not going to recover those personal bests in your 50s, 60s, 70s and beyond.
At the same time, assuming that getting older means you can’t be healthy and physically active is also a mistake. In addition, older adults who take care of themselves can be in better shape than younger adults, and if you have lived a largely sedentary life, you can still potentially achieve the best fitness you’ve ever enjoyed. Below are some things to consider.
Thinking Beyond Limitations
It’s common for some to assume that getting older means losing the ability to be as physical active as a younger person. If you’re starting an exercise program or a new activity, you will probably have to go slower than your younger counterparts. Older muscles and joints are more prone to injury and take longer to recover. However, there are ways to invest in yourself every day, and physical activity is certainly one of them.
And that doesn’t mean that, barring any serious health limitations, you can’t do most of the things younger people can do if a little bit more slowly. If you are in doubt, look up marathon stats or information on long distance thru hikers and you’ll see that people run marathons and complete long hikes into their 80s. Of course, you don’t have to run 26 miles or hike thousands of miles. You can join a local senior soccer league or meet friends to walk a few miles around your town several times a week. Swimming can be an excellent exercise for older adults because it does not put the same strain on your joints. Look into classes aimed at seniors from your local gym or even your local health department.
As you get older, it’s important to make sure you have access to affordable health care. For example, you might want to purchase long-term care insurance or look into the requirements for the Medicaid spend down and whether you need to arrange your finances and your estate around this consideration. In addition, you might want to review a guide on filial responsibility laws and find out if you live in one of the filial law states. These laws can obligate your adult children to support you if you become impoverished. Making sure that you have addressed how you will pay for health care alongside other expenses can help relieve them of this responsibility.
Quality of Life
Plenty of people aren’t intrinsically motivated by the joy of exercise or interested in physical activity as a hobby. If you’d rather spend your time knitting or reading books or engaging in other more sedentary tasks, there’s nothing wrong with this. However, maintaining a base level of physical fitness as you get older is important for your overall quality of life. It can be surprising how quickly ordinary tasks, such as getting up and down off the floor, can become difficult as you age. Staying in good enough condition to do everyday tasks allows you to remain more independent.