Senior fitness programs are on the up rise. Many senior citizens are recognizing the importance pursuing exercises and yet have many questions such as what to do, how to get started and if they have health issues – can they still get fit? Before we dive in, some special concerns need attention. Baby boomers and those even older must address decreased flexibility and possibly – temporarily – decreased stamina. Medical issues, including osteoporosis, high blood pressure, and diabetes, as well as overweight/obesity, must be considered when beginning a new fitness plan.
The bottom line – have a complete physical exam with your chiropractic physician and/or family physician, and make sure you’re good to go. Start slowly and easily, making gradual progress, and adding intensity and duration over the first several months. A good way to start for mist seniors is to begin a walking-for-fitness program. Walking is fantastic exercise! Do 10 minutes at an easy pace the first day, build up to walking around the block, gradually building up over a 12-week period to a brisk 30-minute walk.
Some like the venue of lifting weights. There are many helpful books are available, and /or trainers in health clubs that could help show you the ropes. Start slowly, carefully, gradually. Train your upper body and lower body on separate days. Make sure you’re focusing, paying attention, and working within your limits and not doing too much too soon. Nutrition is just as important as exercise in regaining the level of fitness we need to live healthy, long lives. Eating right requires some mental toughness, and it may take a while to build new habits. The payoff comes quickly, though, and is tremendously empowering.
If you want to be fit for the rest of your life, here are a few tips that could go a long way:
• Writing down a weekly plan. This keeps your workout and nutritional goals fresh.
• Vary your routines. Change your workouts every few weeks. Ride a bike if you’ve been walking. Use dumbbells instead of machines. Vary your fruits and vegetables, and vary your sources of protein.
• Set up a buddy system or join a fitness club. The support of a group of friends who share your lifestyle goals, can make a big difference.
• Most importantly, have fun!