Move it! And Be Happy.

There are a lot of reasons to keep exercising as we age, but one you rarely hear about is HAPPINESS. In a randomized trial of 120 male and female older adults with a mean age of 71, researchers found that participating in an 8-week physical exercise program had a significant impact on their wellbeing. Most experts agree that you don’t have to go to extremes, or even exercise as intensely as you might have when you were in your twenties. Just do something—and do it every day.

It’s been a while since I said good-bye to the Jane Fonda leg-warmer workouts, the gym weight machine routines, the mountain trail hikes (yes, even the White Mountains), and the long-distance jogs (ouch, my knees!). Throughout the years I’ve had home treadmills, steppers, skiers, weight benches, bicycles, mini rebounders–and yes, I would use them all. Back then. At one point I even tried preparing my graduate student notes while dong side leaps over a high step—and let’s just say that didn’t end so well. But that is how committed and determined I was. Back then my goal was fitness, but I also felt better when I worked out. My mind was clearer, I was better able to focus, and I felt more confident.

Then as the years passed and my body slowed down a bit, I began to lose my resolve to get back on the equipment or do the crazy high-intensity workouts I used to do. Yet I have always hated how I feel when I’m sedentary.

Now don’t get me wrong. There are plenty of men and women in their 60s, 70’s and even 80’s that keep to a rigorous exercise routine. I admire you if you are one of them. But if you are like me, and even the thought of doing a Yoga “screaming pigeon pose” makes you want to go lie on a couch and sit this one out—the answer might be to find an activity that is gentler on your body, more enjoyable for you, and is something you really look forward to doing each day because it makes you feel so good. Consider options like barre, basic Yoga (no headstands, thank you), 15-minute low impact interval training, Zumba, ballroom dance (or any other kind), or even a calisthenics routine you put together myself. Take the stairs, walk at lunchtime, or get up and march during commercials when watching the news.


It doesn’t matter what you do as long as you MOVE. Move a lot. Move every day. And be happy.


Reference: Khazaee-Pool, M., (2015) Effects of physical exercise programme on happiness among older people. Journal of Psychiatric and Mental Health nursing (22) 47-57.


© Raeleen Mautner, LLC

8 thoughts on “Move it! And Be Happy.

  1. Absolutely. I agree. It’s difficult finding the physical, emotional, and mental time. However, I always feel better after a nice walk outside!

  2. Just a brief walk will do it.. walk the dog…too much exercise when young plays havoc on body  if you live long enough..i.e. both knee replacements…stretched out ankle ligament from early athletic injuries and lots of walkng and sports activity..must wear ankle brace when home….and vanity issue.. no more high heels and only occasional flat sandels  and my medical dimension of the family gave me  a Hurrycane for walking for Christmas.. a walking stick….takes pressure off the ankle..knees fine……..  for dress up occasions..Fran

    From: The Psychology of Aging Happy To: Sent: Wednesday, January 10, 2018 6:17 PM Subject: [New post] Move it! And Be Happy. #yiv4615314457 a:hover {color:red;}#yiv4615314457 a {text-decoration:none;color:#0088cc;}#yiv4615314457 a.yiv4615314457primaryactionlink:link, #yiv4615314457 a.yiv4615314457primaryactionlink:visited {background-color:#2585B2;color:#fff;}#yiv4615314457 a.yiv4615314457primaryactionlink:hover, #yiv4615314457 a.yiv4615314457primaryactionlink:active {background-color:#11729E;color:#fff;}#yiv4615314457 | Raeleen Mautner, Ph.D. posted: “There are a lot of reasons to keep exercising as we age, but one you rarely hear about is HAPPINESS. In a randomized trial of 120 male and female older adults with a mean age of 71, researchers found that participating in an 8-week physical exercise pro” | |

    1. That’s a good point, Fran! We see that a lot of times in runners, who, as they get older start to have hip, knee, and foot problems. I’ve had to give up the high heels, too (for the most part), and just got fitted for–ORTHOTICS! I’m just grateful that I still HAVE feet that take me where I want to go, so who cares.. Dogs, are great when it comes to forcing us to get out there and walk (that is when they approve of the weather conditions 🙂

  3. I was lifting heavy weights 5 days per week until just a few months ago. I was learning that at the age of 56 the same things that worked for me earlier in life just weren’t working for me anymore. My body was breaking down more than building up. I have since changed my routine to simple calisthenics and walking and feel 100% better.

  4. I used to be a “gym rat” back in the day. Now I’m like you, I don’t need complicated. I’m happy with simple walking and I work my arms whenever I can. I’m happy with that. Yes, you are right, just keep moving. Joyfully.

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