This week’s focus is staying safe while exercising. The first thing any senior citizen should do before exercising is to check with their doctor to see if he or she is healthy and fit enough to work out without getting hurt. Some people may have certain limitations that prevent them from being mobile in a safe manner. Your doctor will know for sure whether or not you can put the strain on your body that comes with even the simplest of exercises.
Exercising is considered by most professionals to be the best thing an elder can do to delay some of the side effects that come with aging. If it is done correctly and in a safe way, it can even add up to two or three years onto your lifespan. On top of improving overall general health, regular exercise can help lower your blood pressure and cholesterol, prevent diabetes, depression, anxiety, and insomnia, as well as certain cancers. Balance and strength can also improve, lowering your risk for an accidental fall.
Before doing any kind of exercise, be sure to stretch properly. This can prevent many different injuries from happening while you workout. Do a 5 to 15 minute stretch session before and after you do your main activities. Be sure to work every muscle that you will be using for your activity. You should also drink plenty of fluids in order to stay hydrated.
Wear loose and breathable clothing with some well-fitting shoes with arch and shock support. The loose clothing will help your blood flow properly, and the supportive shoes will help keep you safe while being active.
Start off slow, especially if you are not already active. If you just jump into an activity without stretching or warming up and without any past experience with the activity, then you will probably end up hurting yourself. A great workout to start with is going for a simple walk. Do this once in a while to get your muscles working and your blood flowing, then go on from there.
Set some goals and limits and create an exercise schedule or regimen. This will keep you on track and it will keep your body fit and ready for any new activities or workouts. If you feel the need, hire an instructor to help you with your exercises. When you can, invite a friend to come along and participate. This will ensure that someone is there to help you in case of an accident or emergency situation and it tends to make the activities a lot more fun.
One more thing: avoid working out in extreme weather situations. If it is too hot or cold outside, stay inside and do some stationary exercises. This is extremely important because South Florida can get very hot most times of the year. We will elaborate on specific workouts in future posts, so stay tuned for more weekly fitness tips for the active senior.
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