We all understand the importance of exercise, and it doesn't become any less important as you age.
For seniors, regular exercise can help you stay stronger and healthier — even if your workouts don't include all of the elements they used to.
Starting an exercise program when you're over 65 takes both motivation and preparation. Here are some steps to follow.
Get The OK
Now's the time to see your doctor, especially if you haven't in some time. It's important to get a physical exam that will enable your doctor to assess your present fitness level and make sure that you're healthy enough to start an exercise routine.
Ease into your workout program, especially if you haven't exercised regularly. Experts suggest that you exercise two to three days a week at the start while gradually working your way up to five times a week.
By the time you're 65 or older, you may have some degree of joint irritation, osteoarthritis, osteoporosis and lack of flexibility. Exercising moderately will help these conditions in the long run, but start slow.
Choose A Routine
Getting a physical will help determine what types of exercises are right for you, as will consulting with a personal trainer. In general, low-impact exercises such as walking, water aerobics, swimming and yoga are recommended, but be sure to incorporate strength training into your routine. Studies show that, in many cases, an exercise routine for seniors should be split evenly between aerobics and strength training. If losing weight is one of your goals, then exercising 30 minutes per session, three to five times a week will help.
Always Do A Warm-up
Ease into your exercise routine once you're older; that includes 10 to 15 minutes of warming up. This can be accomplished through stretches, light calisthenics, or even slow walking.
Choose The Right Clothing
Wearing clothes that are comfortable to you during exercise is also key, especially in terms of choosing shoes that absorb impact sufficiently while preventing injuries to leg muscles and tendons. Be sure to replace worn shoes when they no longer provide adequate support.
Studies have shown that people lose 8 percent or more of their muscle mass every 10 years after the age of 40. But losing strength as you age is not inevitable and the process of losing muscle can be slowed, and even halted, through exercise and strength training.
The benefits of strength training are many, including increasing muscle mass, as well as building stronger muscles that are more stable, which helps decrease the risk of falling as you age. One way to develop a balanced exercise routine is by alternating days of aerobic exercise and strength training.
The Amarillo Town Club offers a variety of exercise opportunities for seniors, from personal training, to group fitness, to aqua fitness and and much more. Contact the ATC today to learn more about our senior classes and activities.
NOTICE: Always consult your physician before beginning any exercise program. This information is for general use and is not intended to be a prescription. Consult with your healthcare professional to design an appropriate exercise program. If you experience any pain or difficulty with these exercises, stop and consult your healthcare provider.