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senior life | FITNESS


Here are some suggestions to help boomers get back into a sports activity or to start a new exercise program:


Make sure you warm-up and stretch before any physical exercise or activity. A good way to do this is to do three or four minutes of aerobic exercise to warm you and then stretch gently with a special emphasis on the muscles you will be using for your exercise routine or specifi c sports activity.


Listen to your body. “No pain, no gain” is a stupid adage at any age, but it is particularly dangerous for us more mature exercisers. If it hurts too much, you probably shouldn’t continue to do it. Remember that it is important to adjust your physical activity to both your age and your fi tness level.


Make sure your fi tness program is balanced. It should include aerobic exercise (three to fi ve times per week), strength training (at least twice a week) along with fl exibility exercises (at least four to fi ve times per week). Believe it or not, all of that exercise can be done in less than 40 minutes per day.


Take lessons or get some expert guidance before you start something new. Make sure the person you’re learning from knows what they’re talking about. If you’re going to start a new exercise program, hiring a coach to help you get started is a worthwhile investment. They can help keep you on track and motivated.


Don’t try to get all your exercise on the weekend. Being a “weekend warrior” can be dangerous. Try to get at least 30 minutes of exercise every day.


Remember to use the 10 percent rule when increasing your activity level. Increase your activity in increments of no more than 10 percent per week. As an example, let’s assume you’re walking two miles per day at 15 minutes per mile, fi ve times a week for a total of 10 miles. You should only increase your total mileage for the week by one mile or increase your pace to 13.5 minutes per mile. Don’t do both at the same time.


Key points


TO KEEP IN MIND AS YOU BEGIN ANY SENIOR EXERCISE PROGRAM:


+ Get your doctor’s approval before doing lower body exercises


+ Don’t cross your legs + Don’t bend your hips farther than a 90-degree angle


+ Avoid locking the joints in your legs into a strained position


National Institutes of Health (NIH), www.nih.gov


quick tips


It’s important to practice safe senior exercises. In general, men over 40 and women over 50 should check with their doctors before doing vigorous activity, especially:


• If you are at high risk for any chronic diseases such as heart disease or diabetes


• If you smoke or are obese


National Institutes of Health (NIH), www.nih.gov


36 issue 1, 2014 midwest health+wellness


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