You’re never too old to start prioritizing your health and fitness. Give these seven tips a try to get started (and stay committed to) an effective exercise routine.
1. Talk to Your Doctor First
First things first, be sure to get your doctor’s approval before you take on any kind of exercise program. They can give you guidance on specific exercises to do or avoid, and they can also help you make adjustments to accommodate conditions like joint pain or high blood pressure.
2. Commit to a Schedule
Once you’ve gotten the all-clear from your doctor, figure out a workout schedule that you can realistically stick to. For most people, this usually means working out 2-4 days per week.
Write your workouts on the calendar or hang up your schedule on your refrigerator. If it’s written down somewhere you can easily see it, you’ll be more inclined to stick to your commitment.
3. Start Slow
Avoid biting off more than you can chew. It might be tempting to dive in and try to exercise six days a week. But, if you start slow, you’ll be more likely to stick with your workouts and create a lasting habit.
Taking on too much will also increase your risk of injury or getting burned out. If either of these things happen, you’ll most likely be forced to sideline yourself, and, as a result, you may have a hard time starting again once you’ve healed.
4. Balance Cardio and Resistance Training
Cardiovascular exercises like walking and swimming are great for heart health but don’t forget to prioritize resistance training, too.
Resistance training with weights or bands will help you strengthen your muscles and bones to prevent joint pain and fractures.
You can also use your bodyweight if you’re working out at home and don’t have access to resistance equipment. Do pushups on a chair or the wall and practice sitting down and standing up to strengthen your legs.
5. Include Flexibility and Balance Training
Don’t forget to work on your flexibility and balance, too. Yoga, tai chi, and pilates are all great options for improving your range of motion and preventing injuries. By working on your flexibility, you’ll be less likely to injure yourself doing everyday activities like putting away groceries on a high shelf or picking things up off the ground.
Yoga, tai chi, and pilates also emphasize the importance of balance exercises, which will help you avoid slipping and falling. You can also work on your balance by simply standing on one foot while you’re in your kitchen or living room (just make sure there’s a chair or countertop nearby to grab onto if you need support).
6. Use a Mat to Avoid Injuries
Remember, your safety should always come first.
Another great workout safety tip for seniors who want to avoid injuries while exercising at home is to make sure you have a mat handy.
A thick, slip-resistant fall mat will help protect you if you happen to stumble and lose your balance during your workout. It will also provide extra cushioning when you’re stretching or doing core exercises on the floor.
7. Let Go of Limiting Beliefs
It’s easy to let beliefs about your abilities hold you back. Some of the most common beliefs that seniors hold onto when it comes to exercise are refuted below:
Exercise isn’t important for me: Everyone can benefit from exercise, but seniors especially need to prioritize it since muscle and bone mass decreases with age.
Exercise will put me at risk of falling and getting hurt: Exercise will actually strengthen your muscles and bones to avoid falling and getting hurt.
I’m too old to get started: You’re never too old to exercise. Even if you’re wheelchair-bound or use a walker, there are classes specifically designed to incorporate mobility aids.
I have too much joint pain to exercise: Exercise decreases joint pain, especially in people with arthritis and other chronic conditions.
If you’re ready to change your life for the better, it’s time to commit to a regular exercise routine. These tips will help you get started — give them a try today!