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August 21, 2012 > LIFE ElderCare: Olympic Success? Feels like it to me!

LIFE ElderCare: Olympic Success? Feels like it to me!

Submitted By Maureen Parent

I'd like to share my exercise success story. No, I wasn't in the Olympics but I'm feeling rather proud. Recently I celebrated my 71st birthday and decided it was time to get serious about exercising regularly. Knowing that I've started down the road of good intentions before, only to find myself unable to cross the finish line, I realized I would have to find some fool-proof techniques to keep me going. Here are some that worked for me:

I set a realistic goal. I'm out of shape, so I set a goal of 15 minutes of exercise, four days a week. I could always add more time or days later, but in the beginning I wanted something manageable that I knew I could accomplish.

I made it special. My family bought me a comfortable pair of athletic shoes, and I set aside a bright, pink t-shirt to wear. I also set aside a towel and water bottle. This helped me create a unique ritual that was distinct from my other activities.

I wrote my goal on paper and posted it on my refrigerator where I knew I would see it often. I also had my photo taken while I was exercising and posted that next to my goal. This helped to preserve an image of myself as a person who exercises.

I teamed up with a friend and we called each other once a week to share our success and challenges. It's great to hear my friend saying what a great job I've done or telling me she knows I'll succeed if I simply stick with it.

I didn't abandon my plan when I didn't exercise for a day or two. I know it's less about being perfect and more about not giving up - so I got "back in the saddle" as soon as I could.

And finally, my favorite part, I rewarded myself each time I stuck to my plan. I like old movies, crossword puzzles, and a good cup of tea - so when I finished my exercise, I picked one of these as my reward.

Already I can feel a difference. I'm a bit happier these days and more engaged. I feel more stable when I walk and like that I have a longer stride. With my plan in place I'm looking forward to "crossing that finish line" to a more energized 72nd birthday!

Are you a senior in the Tri-City area who would like to learn balance exercises in your own home? LIFE ElderCare provides free, customized exercise routines that will help improve your balance. Nursing students will come to your home once a week for 12 weeks to provide instruction and encouragement. Many seniors report better balance and improved confidence after participating in the program. Call Sandy at 574-2087 for more information.

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