Doctors and public health experts emphasize that everybody should pursue physical fitness. There is no upper age limit. Engaging in an appropriate exercise routine boosts both physical andmental health. Thosewho participate in physical activities on a regular basis live longer and feelbetter. But how should senior citizens approach physical exercise? Older adults are often unsure of how to get fit or which exercises are safe.
The following seven tips provide some guidance to senior citizens who want to begin a fitness routine.
1. Check with your doctor. If you haven’t been physically active in years, you should make anappointment with your doctor and get medical clearance before starting a fitness program. Your doctor will be able to explain any physical limitations related to your medical conditions.
2. Get a fitness friend. Doing it with a friend makes any exercise more enjoyable and encouragesyou to stick to your schedule. Also, a little bit of competition can be a good thing, since it motivates you to stay in the pool or on the track until the timed end of your session.
3. Start slowly and gradually. It can be tempting to jump into a fitness routine with all yourenergy, lifting weights until yourarms ache or jogging until blisters begin to form on the soles ofyour feet. Perhaps a 20-year-old can survive that experience, but a 60-year-old who uses thatapproach might require a month to recover! For the first few sessions, it’s a good idea to do lessthan you think you can. After your body has adjusted to the basic exercise routine, you can experiment with increasing the tempo or extending the duration.
4. Try a gentle sport. If you don’t enjoy repetitive exercise routines, consider taking up asportthat’s not too demanding. Some options are tennis, croquet, and golf. However, be prepared totake breaks when necessary, and be willing to quit before the “game” or “round” has technicallyended. For example, a standard round of eighteen holes of golf may exceed your body’s capacity.
5. Get in the water. The pool is a great place for seniors to exercisebecause the water reduces thestress and strain on joints. Keep in mind that swimming is not the only option. Various exercise classes, such as water aerobics, are also held in the pool in this era.
6. Get on the dance floor. Dance is fun and feels less like a chore than most exercises. The music encourages you to move and the time can go by quickly. Options that work well as fitness activities are line dancing, square dancing, and ballroom dancing.
7. Create an exercise schedule. Keeping a schedule allows you to monitor your level of activity and to make adjustments slowly and carefully. A written account also provides a reliable recordthat youcan use when consulting with your doctor or fitness trainer.
Staying fit is a challenge for everyone, whether you’re a young adult or a senior citizen. Special considerations apply to those over sixty, but engaging in physical exercise is a positive move for most seniors. Following these recommendations should help you to devise a fitness plan that matches your abilities.