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Time for a Spring Tune-up

Setting Good Fitness Goals for the Summer

Staying fit as you get older can often become a challenge because your metabolism slows down and you may experience muscle pain or arthritis.

See Also: More fitness tips

If you are having trouble getting in shape or are finding it hard to meet your weight loss goal, these tips may help you achieve your fitness goals.

It is important to set small goals that are attainable. While it is motivating to have a long-term goal, make sure you also set smaller goals along the way.

Cardio workouts can often be more challenging for older adults. AARP Fitness Ambassador, tennis great Martina Navratilova, suggests strength training for older adults because it helps rebuild muscle mass and is a good calorie burner. Especially at first, go slowly and try not to over exhort yourself; working too hard can lead to serious injuries. If you are living with a disability, work with a physical therapist or a trainer. Having the advice of your physician is always a good idea no matter your starting fitness level.

Losing weight may not always be easy, but it does not mean that you have to cut back on all the foods you love. Monitor what you eat by controlling portions and keeping a food diary of everything you eat in a day. You are more likely to become aware of unhealthy eating habits.

Although we know that physical exercise is important for the health of your body, it also keeps your brain sharp. Two new studies were presented at the 2011 Alzheimer’s Association International Conference in Paris that added to the growing body of research suggesting that exercise can help protect your brain against mental decline that occurs with aging. In fact, researchers from the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference found that a brisk 30-minute daily walk can delay mental aging by five to seven years.

Recently, the AARP Bulletin featured the story of one man who transformed his life by walking his way to health and lost 186 pounds by doing so. It’s a great story that might inspire you.

Another good idea is setting motivating goals. For example, you could sign up for a local charity walk or even the Maine Senior Games. Anyone 50+ can participate and there a many different events for the active adult. Go to Maine Senior Games online for more information and to register. AARP Maine is a proud sponsor this year so we look forward to seeing you there.
Not quite ready for the Maine Senior Games? AARP can help you start a walking group in your area. Taking exercise with a friend or neighbor can provide just the right incentive for starting a walking routine and sticking to it.

With some motivation and the right information, it can become easier for us all to get fit for a fun and productive summer.