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Exercise Tips for Seniors

by Jeff Dailey
Exercise Tips for Seniors

Exercise Tips for Seniors

Follow these tips to start – and maintain – a safe exercise program.
Exercise Tips for Seniors1. Get medical clearance. Before you start exercising, visit your doctor and get his or her permission for the type of exercise you plan to do.
2. Start slowly and build up. Especially if you haven’t exercised for a while, go slow and start with just 10 minutes at a time. Little by little, increase the time you exercise and the intensity. Your comfort range may change daily, so don’t become discouraged if you can’t do the same amount of exercise as you did the day before.
3. Warm up and cool down. Always start by warming up your muscles. Walk slowly and stretch for a few minutes. When your workout is coming to a close, ease your body out of exercise by doing the same.
4. Stop exercising if you feel pain. And don’t overstrain. Do just what is comfortable, but also a challenging intensity level. If you can’t carry on a normal conversation while you’re exercising, you’re overstraining. Moderation is critical. Don’t overwork muscles; instead, use slow, controlled movements.
After exercising, if fatigue and/or discomfort lasts longer than one or two hours, cut back on your session the next day but don’t stop completely. Limit the number of repetitions or shorten the duration of your exercise.
5. Drink plenty of water – before, during and after you exercise (unless your doctor has advised you to limit your fluid intake) – even if you don’t feel thirsty. And don’t eat a heavy meal for two hours before you exercise energetically.
6. Remember to breathe consistently – and don’t hold your breath, especially during strength/resistance exercises. Breathe out as you lift and breathe in as you relax.
7. Wear appropriate clothing – comfortable fabrics that let heat escape and loose styles that let you move, and use footwear that provides support. Wear layers so you can take them off as your exertion level rises. For outdoor daytime exercise, use sun screen, a hat or visor, and sunglasses.
8. Use appropriate safety equipment; for example fluorescent colors if you’re bicycling or walking at dusk, a helmet for bicycling, and the shoes that give you traction when you’re hiking.
9. Make sure you know how to use the equipment at your gym. If you’re not sure, ask an instructor. You should only use weights that you can easily carry. If a weight is difficult for you to take off the storage rack, don’t use it.
10. Listen to what your body is saying. Don’t exercise if you’re injured, sick or running a temperature. Then start up slowly when you’re feeling better. Don’t exercise hot or inflamed joints. If joints are stiff, use warm, moist heat before exercising.
11. Consult a doctor immediately if you experience any of these warning signs:

  • Chest pain or pressure in the chest, neck or throat
  • Breathing trouble or excessive shortness of breath
  • Abnormal heart rhythm
  • Persistent or sharp muscle or joint pain
  • Excessive cold sweat
  • Nausea
  • Unusual balance difficulty, light headedness, visual interruption or dizziness
  • Severe illness

NOTE: Always talk with your doctor before beginning an exercise program. Every type of exercise is not appropriate for all people, especially if you have high blood pressure, heart disease or diabetes. And it’s important that you start slowly with any physical activity.

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