Harvard Medical School put together this list of “5 of the best exercises you can ever do” and I like them because it touches upon so many areas that I think are for getting more people to exercise:
- Accessibility – the exercises mentioned here are accessible to nearly everyone without having to pay excessive gym fees
- Not skill level dependent – Folks from all skill levels can participate in these activities.
- Purpose – Besides losing weight or gaining muscle, these exercises have an added benefit of increasing balance or halting memory loss.
Examples and quotes below are from the Harvard Medical School:
1. Swimming: “Swimming is good for individuals with arthritis because it’s less weight bearing,” explains Dr. I-Min Lee, professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School.
Research finds that swimming can improve your mental state and put you in a better mood. Water aerobics is another option. These classes help you burn calories and tone up.
2. Tai Chi: Because the classes are offered at various levels, tai chi is accessible, and valuable, for people of all ages and fitness levels. “It’s particularly good for older people because balance is an important component of fitness, and balance is something we lose as we get older,” Dr. Lee says.
3. Strength Training: Muscle also helps burn calories. “The more muscle you have, the more calories you burn, so it’s easier to maintain your weight,” says Dr. Lee. Strength training might also help preserve your ability to remember.
4. Walking: Walking is simple yet powerful. It can help you stay trim, improve cholesterol levels, strengthen bones, keep blood pressure in check, lift your mood and lower your risk for a number of diseases (diabetes and heart disease for example). A number of studies have shown that walking and other physical activities can improve memory and resist age-related memory loss.
5. Kegel exercises: These exercises won’t help you look better, but they do something just as important — strengthen the pelvic floor muscles that support the bladder. Strong pelvic floor muscles can go a long way toward preventing incontinence.