Physical fitness and an active lifestyle are important – at every age. Getting started exercising doesn’t have to be difficult but it does require a little knowledge to do it right. Before you begin an exercise program, we need to cover a few things.
Growing older is not for wimps. The body goes through even more changes than when you experienced puberty. It can seem almost like an appliance whose warranty has just expired. Everything that can go wrong seems to start going wrong.
You are not a rock. Your body is a machine. To keep it running in top shape for your entire life, it needs an appropriate amount of maintenance and attention. When we were twenty, we could go without paying a lot of attention to the care of our body, but lack of exercise has a more profound effect on us when we reach fifty.
Don’t despair. The human body responds well to good food and lots of movement. You can feel invigorated even after you get older, but with more a bit more knowledge, you can keep your body running smoothly.
So let’s review five things to do before you begin an exercise program, especially if you have been living a sedentary life for some time.
1. Visit your physical therapist or doctor – This point can’t be stressed enough. As we age, our bodies change. We are prone to different problems and conditions. Checking with a PT or doctor can ensure that you are in the best health possible to be starting an exercise routine. Your doctor will also be able to guide you with any special restrictions in diet and movement.
2. Know your limitations – No one likes to admit that there are things they can’t do but it will keep you from getting injured or worse. If you have joint problems consult with your physical therapist. Find exercises that work the muscles without putting undue stress on the knees, hips, shoulders, lower back, or elbows.
3. Take it slow – We can all learn something from the story of the tortoise and the hare. Slow and steady really does win the race – the race of being fit for life. You are more likely to stick with physical activity when you ease into it and find your own comfortable pace.
4. Pace yourself – This is the most common problem people run into when they start an exercise program. They work too hard, get too sore, and forget that exercise is for life. Do yourself a favor and create a simple exercise calendar and slowly add to the intensity, duration, and frequency of your exercise routine.
5. Consider your nutrition – All the exercise in the world won’t help you if you are still eating those hamburgers and chocolate shakes you enjoyed in your younger years. Learn how to adjust your eating habits to make every move and every meal count.
Are you ready to get active? Great! Start slow, heed the advice of your physical therapist and/or doctor.