Few things cause more frustration during workouts than sustaining an injury, however minor. Older people are especially prone to movement-related injuries, even when not actively working out, so awareness of injury prevention is critical. Below are a few guidelines to help ensure that you get the most out of your fitness routine.
Ways Seniors Can Reduce Injuries While Working Out
Get a doctor’s clearance first before undertaking any exercise program
This is especially true for women past menopause, as not the only bone loss but other post-menopausal conditions can silently do damage to bones, joints, blood vessels and other organs that could be worsened by strenuous exercise. A physical is important for men as well to catch the silent killers of arteriosclerosis and other circulatory problems that preclude strenuous movement. Your doctor will be able to advise which types of exercise and other activities should be avoided.
Warm up and cool down with stretching
No matter what your age, it’s always important to take the time to warm up and cool down to give muscles a chance to recover, especially after strenuous exertion. Warm ups such as a brisk walk around the gym can help loosens joints and muscles and get your circulation and heart rate prepped for working out. A cool-down walk for about five minutes afterward helps bring your heart rate back to more normal levels.
Stretching before and after working out has been shown to help increase flexibility; don’t overdo it though – you don’t want a pulled muscle before you even get on that bicycle.
Begin your routine gradually
Ease into the workout, especially if you don’t regularly exercise every day. During workouts, never push yourself too hard – forget the “no pain, no gain” myth – you’re exercising to maintain fitness levels that work for you. Start slowly and gradually build up to an intensity level that you’re comfortable with.
One good way to become accustomed to a new fitness routine is to begin with increments of about 10 – 15 minutes each twice daily, if you’re not already used to regular exercise.
Work out regularly, committing to a schedule that includes at least 3 to 4 weeks of exercise
This will make it easier for it to become a habit – and once those first few weeks pass,;you’ll probably be feeling more energetic and stronger that you won’t want to skip any workouts! Even if a daily exercise routine consists of no more than a brisk walk around the neighborhood, varying your route or better yet, walking with a buddy, can make exercise an enjoyable activity.
Be mindful of any existing health issues
If you already have diabetes you’ll want to be aware of the effect of exercise on your glucose levels as well as any dietary accommodations when working on a schedule. The timing of medications may need to be adjusted as well. If something doesn’t feel right – stop right away. Any sudden or sharp pain is a warning and a health professional should be immediately consulted.
A personal trainer can help with a well-developed exercise plan
Make sure that he or she is familiar with your health history medical conditions and any limitations. Remember, exercise should be fun and make you feel better – so, get moving!