You already know that regular exercise is essential for good health, but did you know that it’s even more important as people grow older? Regular physical activity will help improve energy, keep the mind sharp, and cope with the symptoms of pain or other medical conditions. The good news is that we’re never too old to exercise and get fit so if you fall in this age category, know that it’s never too late to get started. To help you achieve better health, here are a few fitness and exercise tips to point you in the right direction.
Tip #1: Ask your doctor first
Before you engage in any exercises, you first need to consult your doctor, especially if you have a medical condition. Your doctor would be able to suggest the types of activities you can engage in, and the exercises you should refrain from doing.
Tip #2: Take health concerns into account
You must consider your condition and how it would have an effect on your exercises. For instance, if your gout is acting up, you should avoid irritating your joints and instead perform milder range-of-motion exercises like yoga. If you have diabetes, you should change when to eat and take your medicines, in relation to the time you exercise.
Tip #3: Don’t go all out right away
It’s important that you start slow and then slowly intensify your exercises. This allows your body to recover and gradually increase your endurance. You can start your exercises in ten-minute sets twice or thrice a day. Once you’re comfortable with your workout intensity, you can increase the duration bit by bit. Make sure you do enough warm-up and cooldown exercises to avoid injury and severe fatigue. Don’t forget to keep water within reach.
Tip #4: Follow a regular exercise schedule
Exercise would be ineffective if you only do it once or twice. The trick is to keep doing it for several weeks (at least four) to establish the habit. Once it becomes a regular practice, it would be easier to sustain until exercising eventually becomes part of your behaviour.
Tip #5: Pay attention to how your body reacts
Exercise is supposed to make you feel good and give you more energy. Once you start feeling bad, or if pain develops from a joint that’s turned swollen, red, or sore, stop exercising right away. If you feel winded, light-headed, start feeling pain in your chest, or break into a cold sweat, then get in touch with your doctor right away.
Tip #6: Perform cardio exercises
You should incorporate cardiovascular exercises in your routine to develop your fitness and endurance, and reduce fatigue and shortness of breath. Cardio exercises include walking, climbing stairs, cycling, dancing, and other activities that get your heart pumping. Treadmills, stationary bikes, and elliptical trainers are a great way to build cardiovascular health.
Tip #7: Strength training is necessary
Another necessary element to boost fitness among seniors is strength training. This would allow them to build up muscle through weights (e.g. barbells, dumbbells) and resistance devices (e.g. elastic bands). Aside from building muscle, strength training is necessary for seniors to prevent bone mass loss and develop their balance to avoid falls. With good strength training, opening a jar should be a piece of cake.
Tip #8: Work on your balance
Another important aspect of fitness that seniors need to develop is balance, which would help keep them standing, whether while moving around or standing still. To develop balance, engage in workouts like Tai Chi, yoga, and other similar motion exercises (e.g. bicep curls with a dumbbell on interchanging legs). With good balance, your posture and walking would improve. Furthermore, the risk of falling over is reduced.
Tip #9: Keep your muscles and joints supple
Another benefit provided by those yoga exercises and static stretches is flexibility, which would keep your joints and muscles limber. With supple joints and limber muscles, you become less susceptible injury.
Tip #10: Choose exercises you enjoy doing
The problem with exercise is that it’s usually viewed as an unpleasant chore to do, so we end up not doing them. To help make it more pleasurable—and more importantly, sustainable, your workouts should be something that you actually enjoy doing. This would allow you to get healthy and have fun at the same time. For instance, you can listen to music while exercising, watch the television while on your stationary bike, window-shop while brisk walking around the mall, or bring friends while working out.