As we continue to learn from the latest research and from our rapidly growing work in the field, one of the clearest lessons—and there are several—is creating an active lifestyle which is essential. The more sedentary our lives become, the less positive our longevity outlook becomes.
Something as seemingly benign as sitting for long periods can impact your health, but that research has continued to evolve since then. You see, we know that as we age our bodies are likely to lose muscle mass, especially if we aren’t actively trying to maintain and build muscle strength. The medical term for this is “age-related sarcopenia.”
Losing muscle mass can mean more than limiting your ability to enjoy an active lifestyle. Sarcopenia can weaken your bones, lead to weight gain, and even increase your risk of developing diabetes.
Recent research published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal found that sedentary lifestyles in older adults lead to increased levels of frailty and decreased longevity. In short, the study participants who were most active lived longer and had less weakness and fatigue.
You too can reap the benefits of an active lifestyle, no matter your starting point or your current age. Here’s how to get started creating a Active LifeStyle:
- Talk to your physician first. Always talk to an expert before you make a change in your lifestyle to ensure that changes you do make are safe and sustainable.
- Start slow. Activities as simple as walking are powerful foundations for creating an Active Lifestyle. Start with short daily walks and gradually add steps as you increase strength and build a routine.
- Sit less. Creating an Active Lifestyle occurs outside of a formal exercise program. Making an effort to stand more often throughout your day—on the phone, during chores, and at work—is a great way to build health and burn calories.
- Get support. Working with a health coach, having a walking buddy, or going to group fitness classes are great ways to build strong habits. Having encouragement and someone to hold you accountable helps to keep you on track!