Safe Exercise Practices for Seniors

Who says that you are too old to exercise? Exercise has benefits for the body no matter what the age. If you are in your golden years, go for it! However, follow a few guidelines to do it right.

There are many myths going around about getting older. One truth is that it is not for sissies. Getting older will mean a lot of changes in the body. People suffer more disease, more bodily breakdown and more mental issues. But, it is not set in stone.

As a senior, you may have restrictions but once you get started with an exercise program, the changes in your body can change your life forever. Here are some ways to get started safely.

* Go slow – You don’t have to hit the treadmill running your first time out. In fact, if you have osteoporosis or any arthritis, this is a bad idea. Start with walking about fifteen minutes a day to get the body used to the extra movement. Working in your garden, washing clothes or doing other housework qualifies as physical activity.

* Talk to your doctor – Always consult a doctor to see if you are safe to start an exercise regimen. Any pre-existing conditions may mean light exercise until you are stronger. He may also instruct you that by continuing an exercise program you can reverse your diabetes, lower your risk of heart disease, lower cholesterol and high blood pressure. It takes time but it can happen if you are faithful.

* Increase muscle mass – Strength training increases muscle mass and also the strength of your bones. Even seniors can lift weights if done with proper technique and slowly. You don’t need heavy weights, just the repetition.

* Help lose weight – As you get older it can be harder to lose weight. Exercise can be the way to help you do that. Even thirty minutes a day can help you lose ten pounds or more a year. If you want to maintain your weight, exercise can increase your lean muscle mass and reduce your body fat.

* Cardiovascular exercise – To improve the functioning of the heart and lungs, get the body moving. Increase your heart rate through dancing, aerobics, walking, jogging or getting involved in group sports. It also improves your balance to help prevent falls and other accidents common to older people.

* Disabled can work out too – Don’t let anyone tell you that if you are in a wheelchair then you can’t get physically fit. You can do many activities for chair-bound seniors. And, sports like swimming and water aerobics gives you a chance to work your lower body without performing weight-bearing exercises.

Are you a senior? It isn’t too late to change your life and live longer. Use exercise to lower your risk of disease and increase independence.