Going the Extra Step

Stay Active

As busy adults, it’s all too easy to run out of time in the day and leave self-care behind. What if exercising was as easy as a walk around the block or using everyday household items to get your heart pumping? We all know exercise is good for us, but the trick is to make it a part of your day. Lifestyle changes that include regular exercise (30 minutes a day, 5 days a week) may lower your risk of developing Alzheimer's disease and contribute to overall better health. 

It’s not easy to find the motivation to adapt healthy lifestyle choices, which is why we connected with Melinda Theobald, an Exercise Physiologist at Banner Sun Health Research Institute and asked her for some advice to overcome a few common objections. 

I just don’t have enough time to exercise. 

“Exercise can be easily included in our daily schedule with just a little thought. We know it is important to brush our teeth and wash our hands so consider adding in a few minutes here and there during the day to achieve your daily exercise goal. You do not have to complete the recommended 30 minutes/day all at once. You can break the time up if your schedule requires you to do so. Do you have a favorite television show or are you planning to watch a movie today? Performing your exercises while you are watching can also help to strengthen your cognitive abilities by focusing on two tasks at one time. Try standing up during the commercials, march in place or walk around the house, perform some balance exercises you have learned or practice your sit-to-stand exercises.” 

I hate to exercise. 

“Not everyone enjoys exercise, and some individuals may not have had positive experiences with exercise or sports in the past. If this describes you, understand that exercise can be different for you, and you don’t have to fit into the same routine as everyone else. Understanding the benefits of exercise and the difference between physical activity and exercise can help you make significant changes in your lifestyle. 

What are your favorite activities? What activity would you like to be able to do? Maybe it’s,” I’d like to be able to travel more” or “play with my children and grandchildren.” or “play golf or tennis.” If you enjoy music, an exercise to your favorite artist, genre or playlist. Making an exercise program more personal can make the difference between a successful exercise experience and potential habit and one that will be forgotten and dismissed as another negative experience.” 

I have a health condition that keeps me from exercising. 

“It is important to check with your medical provider before you begin any exercise program. While it is not a good idea to exercise when you are sick or injured, many individuals can help improve their health by exercising appropriately. Understanding your medical condition(s) and what precautions you should take while exercising is critical to avoid re-injury or worsening your health. Exercise programs have been developed specifically for people with chronic heart conditions, diabetes, COPD, asthma, back and joint pain, cancer and dementia. Exercise can be performed lying down, seated or standing to accommodate all physical abilities and limitations. Finding a qualified fitness professional to design a program for you is important.” 

This video provides simple yet effective exercises to do at home, all while sitting in a chair. It doesn’t get much easier than that! Need more helpful tips? Here’s how to find household items to assist in your workout: Need some weights? Grab yourself a gallon of milk! One gallon of liquid weighs approximately 8.5 pounds. Looking for something a little less heavy? A 16-ounce water bottle weighs about 1 pound. Grab one in each hand and work those biceps and tricep muscles. Then satisfy your thirst and unscrew the top! How about resistance exercises? Towels and t-shirts work well for resistance exercises. Pull one taught to create resistance for arm workouts. 

Working on ourselves is no easy task, but once you start to see results from your efforts, it’s all worth it. Within just a few weeks of adding in some physical activity to your day, you may start to notice better sleep, increased strength and stability, and an overall sense of well-being. 


Browse all seven Building Blocks for Aging Well to help maintain your brain health and wellness.