We hear about the health benefits of physical activity and exercise every day. With it, you can improve cardiovascular function, decrease blood pressure levels, decrease insulin resistance, reduce body fat, increase muscle mass and strengthen bones. The American College of Sports Medicine’s position statement on exercise and the older adult asserts that the benefits of regular exercise contribute to a healthier, more independent lifestyle as we age. Adding exercise into your life gives you the opportunity to make new friends, challenge yourself, and enjoy new experiences.

So why are we still sitting on the couch?

Often we develop a case of the “toos”:

I’m too old to try a new type of physical activity.
I’m too overweight to go to the gym or walk or run outdoors.
I’m too busy with work, kids, family, volunteering, and/or social engagements.
I’m too tired at the end of the day to get off the couch and I’m too tired to get up earlier in the morning.
I’m too out-of-shape to do any type of physical activity.
We could go on and on and bury ourselves in all of the reasons why we can’t challenge ourselves with physical activity.

Instead of letting the “I can’t because I’m too” build up, turn your thoughts onto the possibilities:

Embrace social media as a way to join a group in an athletic challenge and receive enthusiastic support from like-minded people all over the world. Google “fitness challenge” and you’re taking the first step to an active lifestyle.

Exercise for a cause that’s near and dear to your heart, such as Team in Training, a fundraising program for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. In this program, participants raise money and train with experienced coaches within a group to complete a cycling event, half-marathon, marathon, hiking event, or triathlon.

You can also use one of the many couch-to-5K programs offered around the country to gradually extend your walking/running endurance to 3.1 miles. Then sign up for a 5K race in your area and meet many other people your age, weight, and fitness level who are having fun challenging themselves. Wear the race t-shirt proudly to show your accomplishment!

Take that first step off the couch, and you won’t regret it!

DISCLAIMER: These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. The information is for informational purposes and is not intended to treat, diagnose or cure any illness. Consult a physician before taking any action.

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