Safety first for over 60s fitness!

2013August09_SeniorActivity_AWith 70% of people over 60 in the US not doing enough exercise many are not so much growing old gracefully as growing old unhealthily. However, with exercise combating many of the physical signs of ageing, promoting longevity and lowering risks for many diseases, what’s not to love about keeping fit? However, as you age there’s a need for caution and awareness when exercising too. So, before you jump right in take into consideration how your age and capabilities might influence what exercise you do and how you do it safely.

If you believe that age is just a number then that kind of positive thinking will get you far. However, the fact is that as you age your body inevitably starts to find mobility, activities and physical performance more challenging. Although there are plenty of fit older men and women who can stand their own against people half their age. The crucial factor is that when it comes to keeping fit and healthy as you get older it needs to be a case of checking that you follow tips for putting safety first!

  • Doctor’s thumbs up – If you are dealing with a medical condition such as Type II diabetes, then you need medical clearance from your doctor before you get stuck into an exercise routine. Check what level of activity is recommended too.

  • Be body and ailment aware – You should know your body pretty well by now so don’t turn down the volume and ignore what it’s trying to tell you when you start exercising. Is an old injury flaring up and causing you pain, or do you feel uncomfortable with a specific exercise? Listen and respond.

  • Exercise with a fitness friend – This extends to lots of activities. You don’t want to fall or hurt yourself and not have someone who can help you. A fitness buddy or community can be a source of great motivation too. A supportive exercise environment with fitness professionals, such as we offer, is ideal.

  • Guided exercise – You’re never too old to learn. Just because you’ve reached a certain age, doesn’t mean you are wiser about what style of fitness works for you. Trained exercise experts can monitor how a workout is working for you and make sure you’re not doing something that is going to put you at risk.

  • Posture and proper movement – As your body changes your posture can suffer. As your flexibility and mobility become affected there is the danger that when you do exercise that you’re not in the best position. Moving through exercises without the correct posture and alignment is putting a strain on your body in the wrong way, which could lead to strains and sprains

  • You’re more likely to get dehydrated – Even if you’re not really going for it during an intense workout, you still need hydration. Make sure you have water before, during and after exercise. The older you are the more at risk of dehydration you are. Your body cannot conserve water in the same way and your sense of thirst is not as strong either. Even if you don’t feel like a drink, ask yourself when you last had some water.

  • Keep balance – Exercises which help your balance are great as you get older, especially so you can minimize the risk of taking a tumble. When you’re exercising keep your eyes open and don’t close them or you may start to feel disorientated. Don’t make sudden jerky movements either as this may pull a muscle and also knock you off balance. If you have to get up and down make sure you have the right support and use slow, measured movements.

Whatever age you are, exercise should be about safety, otherwise your fitness can be set back further than when you started. It is the foolish beginner who doesn’t heed warnings and the more developed and professional people are about fitness the more they understand the importance of safety first. Look out for some more tips for safer fitness in Part 2!

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