Fitness After 50: Simple stay-at-home education, fitness

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By Vicki Morgan

Life is an adventure. As long as we’re still living, there are discoveries to be made.

People have adventures in wheelchairs, prisons and hospital beds. People make life changing discoveries just days before their death.

The COVID-19 Safer-at-Home orders, whether you agree with them or not, have given us freedom to discover, to read, to educate ourselves, to learn technology and to be grateful for our neighbors and families. But as your coach, may I humbly suggest that you do not have the freedom to gripe, or to succumb to self-pity. As your coach, I’m asking you to quit moping and start moving.

Spending five hours a day on Facebook is not acceptable. It’s a waste of your life. This article is an invitation to a true online adventure, continuing education and the fast track to fitness. Starting with the brain, my favorite adventure is on Lynda.com (now LinkedIn Learning). The site offers personalized learning experiences taught by professionals. For around 20-30 bucks a month, you can learn just about anything. You are taught at your own pace, at your own level. There are thousands of courses, ranging from self-help to basic computer skills to creating a podcast to how to play an instrument – all the way to graduate level programming courses and robotics, Lynda.com is where I go for an education adventure. On the fitness side, be careful when downloading apps.

There are more than 2 million exercise apps, and the app store is not going to protect you from the malicious ones. Anyone with a brain can create an app and share your information with who-knows-who, so be wise. Kim Komando is a former client of mine, and her website is a terrific source for the latest scams and online threats happening now. She also offers tips and tricks for device, browsing and banking safety. So if you’ve never downloaded an app before, do the research; and don’t click on anything unless you’re sure it’s safe.

For the purposes of this article, I’ve complied some tried and true fitness apps that are great for seniors. All of them meet these basic requirements: Is it highly rated? It is user-friendly? Is it reliable? Fair warning: if you have an outdated, buggy phone, some of these apps may not work properly. But they’re easy enough to install and uninstall, so try a few out and see what works best for you. You have 2 million options so give ‘em a whirl!

MAP MY WALK APP: You can track your walking, set goals, log your walks, save your favorite routes, and even find new places to walk that are close by. The app also offers an audio feedback feature designed to help you improve. Besides walking it tracks 600 other sports and activities. I personally found it a little confusing to use at first. Price: Free for iOS and Android with optional in-app purchases.

MAP MY FITNESS: Track workouts as well as everyday physical activities like mowing the lawn or playing hide-and-seek or tag with your grandkids. It’s a senior-friendly fitness app that lets you set personal goals and measure your performance over time. You can even connect with accountability buddies and encourage each other. A little confusing, but worth the learning curve. Price: Free for iOS & Android with optional in-app purchases.

THE JOHNSON & JOHNSON OFFICIAL 7-MINUTE WORKOUT APP: All you need is seven minutes, a wall, and a chair. There are easy-to-follow video and audio cues. You can choose which exercises you like and dislike. You can stick with the original seven-minute workout or choose from one of their routines and customize as your fitness improves. If you’re new to exercise, choose The First Timer, which features modified exercises like marching in place, chair-assisted squats, and kneeling pushups. Price: Free for iOS and Android with optional in-app purchases.

THE SILVER SNEAKERS GO APP: Silver Sneakers GO offers strength, walking, and flexibility and mobility programs that can be tailored to your fitness level. Within each program, there are easy demonstrations and tips for adjusting movements to suit your comfort level. Activity tracking helps you keep tabs on your weekly and monthly progress, while mobile reminders ensure you never miss a workout. PRICE: FREE for iOS & Android with optional in-app purchases.

MY FITNESS PAL APP: My Fitness Pal lets you log workouts from more than 350 exercises, track your daily steps, and set daily movement goals. The nutrition and calorie-tracking feature draws from over 6 million foods, which makes it easy to monitor your diet no matter what you eat. It even has a barcode scanner! Whether you’re trying to lose weight or put on muscle, the app helps determine the best things to eat to meet your goals. Even if you make something from scratch, you can input the recipe, and the app will estimate its nutritional information. Price: Free for iOS and Android with optional in-app purchases.

C25K 5K TRAINER: C25K, which stands for “Couch to 5K,” guides an inexperienced runner to become a 5K runner in eight weeks. You’ll start out walking and gradually progress until most of your session is spent jogging. The audio coach will guide you through a series of walking and jogging for 30 minutes per day, three days per week. This is a super popular program and has helped thousands of newbies discover the joys of running safely. Price: Free for iOS and Android with optional in-app purchases.

Here are a few other apps with a twist:

YOGA STUDIO APP: More than 100 ready-made yoga videos and meditations. Build your own class from a library of 280 poses, complete with detailed instructions for each one.

7-MINUTE CHI: Tai Chi is an effective exercise for gently improving strength, balance, flexibility, and range of motion. It’s especially beneficial for older adults with joint stiffness or who want to help prevent falls.

CHARITY MILES APP: Charity Miles lets you track activity miles and do some good at the same time. Each mile is matched with a donation. Donations go to various nonprofit organizations.
INSTANT HEART RATE APP: Doctors say to monitor your heart rate during rigorous activity, and one easy way to do that is with this app. Just put the tip of your index finger on the camera lens of your phone and you’ll get an accurate reading in seconds, plus reports and charts.

PACER PEDOMETER & STEP TRACKER: This pedometer goes way beyond simple step-tracking. Enjoy the journey with its fun challenges, new routes, and guided workouts to do indoors when rain and snow put a damper on your favorite walking routine.

Vicki Morgan CPT ACTION is a Senior Strength & Fitness Instructor. During COVID-19 safer at home orders Vicki trains her clients according to Colorado State standards, but is not accepting new clients at this time. Contact Vicki at seniorstrength.pro. You must consult a physician before beginning any exercise program. If you experience pain or difficulty, stop and consult your healthcare provider. This article is not meant to take the place of any treatment or activity your physician has deemed necessary. 

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