It is never too late to exercise, even if you have already retired. While you should really have already been physically active before, you can still start as exercise can still be beneficial to you. Of course, as you get older, there are more risks in starting exercise for the first time than if you started when you were younger. However, those risks should not hold you back. There are some safety tips and suggestions you can follow to determine the right exercise regiment for you.
Consult your doctor first
Your doctor is likely the one telling you to get some exercise. Therefore, he or she should be able to tell you where you can start, especially if you have a pre-existing health condition. Certain medical problems like diabetes and heart disease or other issues like smoking or obesity can greatly affect your health.
People with breathing problems, chest pain, odd weight loss or weight gain, hernia, frequent infections and eye conditions should definitely be careful and consult with a doctor in advance of starting an exercise program. In addition, hip or knee replacement can also affect how you exercise as well.
Overall though, older adults can start out slowly on an exercise program that focuses on strength, balance, flexibility and endurance. These four factors all play a part in allowing older adults to stay more independent.
Strength Training Safety
With strength training, you can boost your metabolism which helps you burn calories and lose weight. During strength training, the most important thing not to do is hold your breath. When you hold your breath, you could affect your blood pressure. In addition, use smooth, flowing movements with weights as jerking movements can cause stress to muscles.
Do not lock your arms during strength training and learn to breathe in when lifting and breathing out as you lower your weight. Keep in mind that when you first start, your muscles will be sore for a while and you will get tired easily. Extreme fatigue, joint pain and pulled muscles are not normal.
Balance Exercises for Safety
Practicing balance exercises can greatly diminish your chances of falling. Balance exercises are a key ingredient in independence as well as strength. Lessen your chances of a broken hip or other bone through balance exercises. When you first start out, make sure that you hold onto something so as not to lose balance. As you build up your strength and balance, you will not have to hold onto anything.
Be sure to build your balance slowly. First, try holding onto something. As your balance increases, try the exercises without holding on but having a person spot you. Then, try to exercise with your eyes closed, again with a spotter nearby.
Safety Tips for Stretching Exercises
Stretching warms up your body for endurance, strength and balance exercises. It is imperative that you stretch first so as to avoid injury. Stretching should not cause pain however; a mild sensation of pulling is acceptable. Always use smooth movements and never bounce when stretching. You could easily tear a muscle that way.
Endurance Exercise Safety Tips
Any activity that can increase your heart rate and breathing, for a particular time frame, is considered an endurance exercise. For those that are rather sedentary, you will have to gradually build endurance even if it means exercising for only five minutes at a time. Just be sure to add a minute each day that you exercise. Eventually you could work your way up to a nice 30 minute walk.
There are quite a few endurance exercises to take part in, just be sure that the exercise you do will not cause chest pain or difficulty breathing. Chances are that if this happens, you took too much on, too soon. Indulge in gardening, swimming, walking, stationary cycling and raking leaves. As you build endurance, you could try climbing stairs or cycling up a hill.
Be sure that after you finish your endurance exercises, do some stretching to stay limber and keep your muscles warm. Stay hydrated by drinking water and dress appropriately to the weather conditions if you are outdoors.