Exercise Tips For Seniors
It’s important for people of all ages, especially seniors, to stay active. According to the Centers for Disease Control, being physically active can reduce your risk of dying from heart disease and decreases the risk of colon cancer, diabetes and high blood pressure. Physical activity also helps control weight:; contributes to healthy bones, muscles and joints; relieves the pain of arthritis; reduces symptoms of anxiety and depression; and can devrease the need for hospitalizations, physician visits and medications. Indeed, there’s a lot riding on incorporating exercise into your lifestyle.
There’s no better time than now to start exercising. Be sure to check with your doctor before increasing your physical activity especially if you have a chronic disease or family history of chronic disease, chest pain, shortness of breath, high blood pressure, asthma, diabetes, blood clots, infections or fever, joint swelling, hip surgery or a hernia.
Here are some tips to help you get started!
Don’t just jump into a fitness routine. First, stretch your arms, legs and back. Start off slowly, gradually increasing the pace of your exercise. Don’t do too much too soon or you will hurt yourself. For example, start with 10 minutes of walking before going to 20 and then 30 minutes. For a strength-training program using weights and machines, talk to a fitness instructor on how much weight to lift and how to use the machines properly.
Exercise should make you feel better, not worse. A little soreness, discomfort or fatigue is normal. Listen to your body, if you feel light headed, a shortness of breath, a sudden, severe headache, are sweating excessively, or have pains in the chest, stomach or anywhere else, you should stop exercising. If symptoms persist, contact your doctor.
If you are on medication or have a condition that alters your heart rate, don’t use your pulse as a judge of how fast your heart is or should be beating.
Wear the proper protective equipment for your activity. If you are biking, wear a helmet. If you are inline skating, wear a helmet as well as knee and elbow pads. Protective gear should be of good quality and fit properly. It may be expensive, but it’s an expense that is well worth it.
Watch out for the elements. If it’s hot, exercise in the early morning or early evening when it’s cooler, or stay in the shade and wear light weight clothing. If it’s cold, dress in layers, and be careful of ice and snow.
It’s especially important to stay hydrated when you are engaging in exercise that makes you sweat. Drink before, during and after exercise to prevent dehydration.
In addition to all the other benefits of exercise , the secret to a sharp mind just might lie in your feet as well! Studies show those who took a 30-minute brisk walk three days a week had sharper memories. This is what scientists refer to as “executive functions”. They are the ability to plan, organize and juggle mental tasks. Similar results exist in non-depressed individuals. Some mental decline is associated with normal aging due to reduced blood flow to the brain . Experts believe exercise may work by improving circulation to essential areas.
In a study of more than 13,000, the risk of breaking a hip was nearly 30-percent lower among those who take a brisk walk two to four times a week than in sedentary individuals. Those who went from being moderately or vigorously active to being sedentary doubled their risk.
Talk a walk!
A cool down is just as important as a warm up. Stretch your arms, legs and back to bring your heart rate back to its normal level.