Exercise and physical activity are essential parts of personal health.  But, now and then, everybody can use some helpful exercise tips.  Though exercise is undoubtedly a difficult task, the reality is that anyone of any age can gain better health with a more active lifestyle.  Moreover, as we age, exercise is more important than ever as a preventative health measure.  But, unfortunately, some myths keep many seniors from getting started on a regular exercise schedule.  The key is a planned approach.  Here are five exercise tips to help get you started.

1) Check with your Doctor.

Suppose you haven’t been active for a few years.  In that case, it is a good idea to check with your doctor before you begin any regular physical activity.  Schedule a routine physical examination and ask your doctor for recommendations on actions you should do and any you should avoid.  It is normal to feel some aches and pains when you start exercising.  If you experience any of these warning signs, however, contact your doctor:

  • Breathing difficulty
  • Chest pain or pressure
  • Dizziness
  • Changes in the sense of balance
  • Nausea or vomiting

2) Begin Slowly

Set reasonable goals for yourself as you begin your new exercise program.  It may take a while to get back in shape.  Take it slowly.  As you build up your strength and endurance, you can gradually build up your exercise program.  This plan will help you avoid injury.  According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, adults should get a minimum of 2-1/2 hours of exercise per week.  If able, you should do at least 10 minutes of vigorous exercise at one time.  Then you can spread out the rest of your activities over the week by taking a 10- to 15-minute walk each day, for example.

3) Make it Easy and Affordable

Don’t be fooled into thinking that you need expensive equipment to stay fit or that you need to join a fancy health club.  There are many low-cost or no-cost ways to exercise.  For example, many schools and parks have outdoor tracks available for public use.  Your local shopping mall may have a planned indoor walking route.  Some malls even offer special hours for mall walking clubs.

Check out your local YMCA for a low-cost senior membership.  Most of their locations offer swimming pools and exercise equipment such as stationary bikes, treadmills, racquetball, and basketball courts.  Some have a variety of classes just for seniors.

Look for opportunities to do activities you used to enjoy.  For example, why not try a bowling league or a softball team.  When you renew these long-loved activities in your life, the chances are good that you will meet new friends and you will both look and feel better.

4) Make it Enjoyable

Add some conversation to your exercise by working out with a friend, neighbor, or family member.  You may get better results and stay more motivated when you have a partner.  If you are going solo, you can add interest to an otherwise dull workout is by listening to music or an audiobook on headphones while you exercise.  If you listen to the next song or chapter, you may find it easier to walk an extra block or ride that extra lap on your bike.

5) Be Careful

Warm-ups and cool-downs are essential for anyone who exercises, but they are most significant for seniors.  Do some stretches before you begin.  Then, start working out slowly and work up to a quicker pace.  Slow down again to cool off before you complete your session.  Also, make sure you are drinking enough water, especially in warm weather.  Take a bottle of water along with you when you exercise.  Apply sunscreen if you will be exercising outdoors.  Wear comfortable, loose-fitting clothing and invest in some well-fitting, supportive shoes that are appropriate for the activity you will be doing.

BONUS TIP: Set Goals and Reward Yourself

Did you walk your first mile in a long time?  Did you swim laps for 20 minutes?  It’s time to reward yourself for meeting those goals.  It can be as simple as stopping for a cup of coffee or a cold drink with your exercise partner or purchasing a bouquet for your table.  You deserve it!

Exercise and physical activity are essential for people of all age groups.  But, it’s vital to do it effectively and safely.  We hope this blog has helped you identify some exercise tips you can use to work out in a safe, effective manner.

However, suppose you have recently received surgery or sustained an injury.  In that case, you may qualify to have a physical therapist come to help you get exercise.  Call us today to learn more!

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