Our family has always made it a priority to eat right and get plenty of exercise. When we were younger, riding our bikes and working out at the gym 3 times a week was good enough. Now that we’re seniors, we’ve stepped up the exercise thanks to having a teen at home who is constantly in training for one sport or another.
One of the challenges of being older parents is finding a exercise program that will work for teens and seniors alike. With the arrival of warmer weather, we’ve moved our exercise routine outside with this summer fitness routine.
Hiking four days a week.
Last year, our entire family got into fabulous shape by hiking the amazing network of trails that criss cross the foothills overlooking our city. For the last couple of weeks, we’ve been slowly easing ourselves back into shape by starting on the shorter trails with the goal of working our way up to the steeper and longer trails. What’s nice about hiking in the foothills is that it’s convenient, inexpensive, and gives us all a great cardio workout while working off winter calories. In less than 2 weeks, I’m already lost 2 pounds and can tell that my endurance is increasing.
We hike for 60-90 minutes on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday and take 2-4 hour hikes on Saturdays. The longer evenings means we schedule our hikes right after dinner during the weekdays, and in the mornings on the weekends.
Here’s where my husband and my fitness routines split apart. He goes to the gym on alternate days after work for a 90 minute session of weight training and the eliptical, while I do a slightly less intense workout.
On the days I’m not hiking, I take a brisk 30 minute walk in the mornings after breakfast and then usually spend 2-3 hours in active gardening – the kind of gardening where you do a lot of digging, hand weeding, flipping the compost, and stretching all kinds of muscles. Once my teen comes home from school, the two of us take the dog and our bikes for a one hour ride along the river near our home. Because my bike is a vintage Schwinn 3 speed with sluggish gears, cycling for me combines a bit of weight training and a lot of cardio.
Staying fit as a senior with a teen in the house is all about finding a workout routine that can be ramped up or scaled back depending on how much each person is willing to exert. Hiking and biking, with some gardening and walks thrown in the mix is what works best for us.