By Terri Bryce Reeves
With the new year unfolding, many of you will aim to get healthier through exercise. Whether you choose aerobics, strength training, flexibility, or balance, know that all four are important for strength, weight loss or control, heart and cognitive health.
There are some things to keep in mind, especially if you’re not used to the routine.
Always check with your doctor before starting an exercise regimen. This is especially important if you have any health issues such as diabetes, heart disease or arthritis.
To help avoid injuries, make sure you warm up your muscles and joints first, maintain proper posture throughout, choose appropriate clothing, shoes and equipment, and stay hydrated.
Strength training is an excellent way for older adults to stay fit, active, and independent in the years to come. Here are some tips for those just starting out:
- Use a personal trainer to begin, so they can instruct you on how to use weights or equipment properly. Working out on the weight machines can assist with correct posture and alignment.
- Don’t overdo it. Start slowly with lighter weights and frequent repetitions, then build up slowly and gradually.
- Breathe. Holding your breath can spike blood pressure. Exhale on exertion; inhale on the release.
- Go slowly with smooth motions. At the peak of the exertion, hold the position for a beat.
- Set a goal of strength-training two or three times a week with a day of rest in between. If you do go two days in a row, work on different muscle groups to give each a chance to recover.
- Make sure to get an adequate supply of protein. Older adults should divide their weight by two-thirds; the resulting number is roughly the daily protein requirements, in grams, per day.