As people age, they lose the ability to perform at the same level of activity they could in their youth. They also become invested in other things such as their career or raising a family and a focus on physical fitness can sometimes fall by the wayside. The truth is, however, that staying active is important at any age and is a critical component of good health. Staying active as you age, however, can be a challenge for many as their stamina and endurance fade and energy levels decline. Here are three keys to functional fitness and how to create an age-proof workout.

Do What You Enjoy

There is a great deal of discussion over what the “best” type of workout is. The fitness world can be obsessed with what kind of workout burns the most calories or gets your heart pumping the fastest. The truth is, however, that all activity is beneficial in some way. The key is to focus on doing what you enjoy, which will generally provide motivation in and of itself. If you don’t like going to the gym, put on some music and dance around your house. If you love the outdoors, start going on long walks or hikes. If you love to swim, do it. The fact is, you will be more inclined to do something every day that you enjoy than you will something you hate doing.

Stop Worrying About How Many Calories You Burn

Activity is important in and of itself and provides a number of physical, mental and even emotional health benefits other than just weight maintenance. Taking a brisk 30-minute walk will provide almost as much benefit overall as more strenuous activities like a spin class or swimming laps. Staying active can help you sleep better, increase energy levels and even help reduce the risk of heart attack, stroke and diabetes.

If You Have Big Goals, Start Small

Some people still run marathons well into their 60s, 70s, and even 80s, but they don’t start training for one just a few months in advance. There is no reason you can’t participate in major events at any age, but it requires a level of discipline that isn’t always necessary at a younger age. Just staying active is the key, but if you want to set larger goals you can, you just have to prepare for them farther in advance.

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