We all know there are important health benefits of exercise, especially as we get older. But paying for a gym membership, or even living in close proximity to a gym, is not a possibility for everyone.
Luckily, by using technology and thinking outside of the box, there are many ways you can maintain personal fitness plan without stepping foot inside a gym. Here are three ways you can stay fit at home and in your community.
1. Tuning Into Television Programs
Watching a lot of TV may be something you associate with an unhealthy “couch potato” lifestyle, but there are some shows that are all about getting people off the couch.
Classical Stretch airs on PBS and features a full-body workout for all ages. The program focuses on strengthening and stretching exercises and includes modifications for different levels, including viewers who use wheelchairs. It is hosted by Miranda Esmonde-White, who often writes about healthy aging, including in her book, “Aging Backwards: Reverse the Aging Process And Look 10 Years Younger In 30 Minutes A Day.” Classical Stretch has been the top-rated fitness TV series on public television for the past 15 years, and can be viewed on PBS or streamed online.
Sit and Be Fit is a nonprofit organization dedicated to healthy aging with a program that also airs on PBS. These workouts are all about getting fit while sitting in a chair. Episodes range from focusing on goals such improved posture, to targeting people diagnosed with conditions such as osteoporosis and Parkinson’s. Sit and Be Fit episodes can also be viewed on YouTube.
2. Using Online Resources
If you’d rather explore fitness resources online, there are plenty of free online tools you can use to stay fit at home.
HASfit is a YouTube channel that offers hundreds of fitness videos for people of all ages. It also has a playlist specifically dedicated to older adults, with videos ranging from 10 to 30 minutes. The videos feature a range of workouts from chair exercises, to low-impact movements to balance and stability training.
The great thing about looking for exercise inspiration online is that you can specify your search for anything you want. Search YouTube on your own for workouts designed for older adults and find videos such as eight-minute tai chi, Jane Fonda’s walking workout or beginner Pilates.
To inspire you even more to get moving, try creating a playlist with your favorite workout songs. Sites like Pandora, Spotify, YouTube and Soundcloud have pre-set, searchable playlists that you can choose from to get started.
3. Getting outside
Even though it’s the middle of winter, there are still many opportunities throughout the year to stay fit outdoors. The Chicago area is full of activities that are fun to explore and provide a workout at the same time.
Chicago has several walking paths and trails to make an adventure out of your morning stroll. Some of the most-recommended paths include the 606/Bloomingdale Trail for its smooth pavement and artwork, the North Shore Channel Trail for being well-lit and having well-kept parks and the Lakefront Path for views of Lake Michigan.
Ice skating in Millennium Park is another option for taking your fitness outdoors this winter. Skating is free, and skate rentals are $12. In the warmer months, try visiting one of Chicago’s many public pools, or use the city’s Divvy bike-share stations and to turn your daily errands into another opportunity for exercise.
If you are affected by a physical condition such as osteoporosis or Parkinson’s, make sure you consult with your doctor about healthy modifications you can make to your fitness routine before starting a new routine. Then, get moving!
Do you have a favorite exercise program or community wellness group? Tell us on Facebook or Twitter!