Join the crowd of aging adults, 40 and older. You’ll notice things aren’t quite as easy as they used to be, or maybe your knees are hurting and you get tired faster. It’s hard to change your perception of exercise. Lots of us have exercised because of vanity, I know I have.
As we grow older physical fitness becomes more about our way to have and maintain good health and ward off disease, such as the most common heart disease and diabetes. This is not a negative time in your life; it is an exciting time to change our perspectives and try new things. Regardless of your age it is never too late to neither start exercising nor receive the benefits. It’s all about movement and being able to do the things you enjoy.
When you begin to change your exercise routine here are some things to think about.
•Listen to your body and recognize when it is telling you, “it’s time to change.” Changing your workout to be more accommodating to your age and fitness level doesn’t mean it has to become too easy. You will be smart and find ways of exercising that are gentle on your body yet give you a good strong workout.
•Look for ways to modify your workouts. Start walking farther and jogging less. Try different cardio machines that are low-impact such as treadmills, bikes, elliptical trainers, and swimming.
•Don’t leave out the weight training. Strength training is an amazing workout that is low-impact. It increases your muscle mass and bone density which cause you to burn more fat. It also raises your metabolism so that you continue to burn calories even after your workout.
•Be safe. There are many things to consider here such as:
o It might be a good idea to hire a personal trainer for one or two sessions. They can help you become familiar with workout equipment.
o They will also work with you on proper form for doing exercises. The most common way to get injured when working out is to do the movements wrong. Make your movements deliberate and stay focused.
o Older adults often have to deal with poor vision and hearing loss. Take this into consideration when exercising. Choose your equipment wisely and if you are supposed to wear glasses or an hearing aid be sure you do.
o Do you take regular medication? If so consider if the medication might have an effect on your workout and schedule around it.
o What is your current health? It is always a good idea to see a medical professional if you are starting or changing an exercise program.
o Warm up before your workout with some light cardio work and cool down afterwards with some easy stretching. You will be less likely to strain your muscles.
•If you haven’t been exercising then start slowly and build up gradually. If you are a regular exerciser be cautious of changes that you make to your routine.
•Remaining physically active is important for strong muscles. Participate in regular resistance training to keep muscles strong. Muscle mass is easy to build regardless of your age.
•When we age our metabolism begins to slow. However, strength training to the rescue. Remember, muscle and bone density burns fat.
•Exercise has a cumulative effect. It’s easier to try for a little exercise each day than to try to cram a week’s worth into a couple of days. That’s a sure path to injury.
•If you have physical impairments it is best to work with a physical therapist in the beginning.
Enjoy your long healthy life, through exercise. Be healthy, be happy.
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