Entertaining Exercise Options for Boomers

Find out new ways to stay fit, and entertained, at home.

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The Boomerater™ Report, our weekly collaboration with online baby boomer resource Boomerater, this week explores new ways to stay fit that are both fun and physically challenging. “I’m 56 and work from home and know I’m not getting enough physical activity,” a Boomerater member commented. “I’ve heard that some of the new video games have fitness programs. I wouldn’t mind investing in one if they really work without getting too monotonous. I'm also interested in good tapes or TV fitness shows that are geared toward the 50s crowd. I’d like to hear of any ideas for ways to stay fit without going to a gym.” Other Boomerater members shared these insights:

[See Four Fitness Tips to Get and Stay in Shape.]

We love Wii. Wii Fit is a good one to try. I've played it with my granddaughters and I will tell you that it kept me entertained as well as huffing for air. It has yoga training and different "games" that make exercising fun.

Wii Too! Love the Wii Fit as well. It combines basics (tracking your weight, balance) with strength training, yoga, and games that help you work on balance and coordination. After taking your body mass index (BMI), weight, and balance readings, it calculates your "Wii Fit Age," which varies from day to day. You create a "Mii" that's also used for other Wii games, and you get to choose a male or female trainer (I thought the woman was kind of mean and bossy, so I switched to the man). Besides chiding you for not doing it enough, it also provides helpful reminders ("Did you know that Dad's birthday is in three days? Have you considered doing something special like a surprise party?").

I love "competing" against my family on the ski jump game to see who can go the farthest. The tightrope game is a bit nerve wracking but fun. It also rewards you at different levels by unlocking new games to add to your routine. Yoga is relaxing and challenging, and the strength training exercises are actually challenging. Everyone loves it: My husband, my 7-year-old, and "mii," too!

Getting Fit with Boomer Denise Austin. I've tried various video tapes and fitness TV shows over the years—maybe six or seven. My favorite is Denise Austin's "Getting Fit" show on ESPN Monday through Friday mornings. I find it's the perfect way to start the day. Denise is one of us: A boomer! She is 52 years old, so it's not like you're exercising with some super model with super stamina. I can go at my own speed and am motivated by her reassuring, encouraging manner. My daughter has also become a Denise Austin fan; she likes her Pilates tapes and watches them with my granddaughter. Denise Austin is helping generations in my family to be healthier.

[See Eat Less Food and Play More Bridge.]

The Ultimate Resource for Video Work-Outs. A few years ago I found the flashing lights and pounding music at my gym’s exercise classes really beginning to bug me, so I looked into home video exercises tapes, and found Collage Video. They are real experts on exercise tapes and DVDs for all ages, fitness levels, etc. In addition to Kathy Smith, Denise Austin and other well-known exercise series, Collage has a great selection of videos including dance for fitness, seated exercise, programs tailored to "senior" exercise, arthritis, back pain, etc. The website lets you search by lots of options and the listing for each video is quite detailed.

Add your own comments or read other members’ suggestions for fitness, fun, and games at Boomerater. Boomerater is an online resource for baby boomers, with comprehensive directories to help you find everything from independent living communities to cheap vacations. The site also contains forums where boomers can post questions and swap first-hand experiences. If there are questions on your mind that you would like answered by other people who have faced similar situations, or you have advice of your own to share, go to Boomerater.com and participate in the forums. Say that The Best Life sent you.

[See Tips for Finding Low or No-Cost Entertainment.]