How Older Adults Can Get Started With Exercise

how older adults can start exercising senior workout routines

We all appreciate the benefits of exercise. And yet, when many of us reach a certain age, we tend to become inactive. We might suffer from an injury, or undergo surgery, and never fully recover. We might decide that it’s time to relax – after all, we’re never going to be running a marathon or climbing Kilimanjaro. This attitude, of course, has all kinds of unfortunate consequences for our health. Even if you’re only active for an hour or so, spread over the course of a week, you’ll significantly lower your risk of suffering a heart attack, diabetes, a stroke, cancer and osteoarthritis. 

Of course exercise must be done correctly and consistently for senior citizens to get results. 

How Much Exercise Should I Be Getting?

NHS’s ‘Live Well’ guidance, everyone over sixty-five should aim to be physically active every single day. We should do strength and balance training two days a week, and around two-and-a-half hours of ‘moderate’ intensity exercise. What’s more, we should avoid spending long periods sitting or lying down in the same position. 

These are requirements which even younger people often struggle to meet. So how can we develop these habits, and stick with them for the long term? 

Slow And Steady 

Throwing yourself headlong into a new exercise program is likely to be unsustainable. Ideally, you want to push yourself beyond your comfort zone – but not so far beyond it that you risk injuring yourself, or making the exercise so uncomfortable that you end up dreading it. Walking should constitute the bulk of your exercise – it’s low-intensity, confers minimal risk of injury, and it’s something that you can get into with minimal training. 

Have A Plan 

To give yourself the best chance of getting the right results, it’s important to have a plan. What are your fitness goals, and how are you going to reach them? If you’re overweight, then you might seek to lose a few pounds every week until you’re where you want to be (a process which will require diet as well as exercise). On the other hand, you might look to walk a certain distance, or to get your heart-rate to a certain level with every session. If you’d like an off-the-shelf plan, then you might look into the Couch to 5k programme. 

Prevent Injuries 

If you’re older, you’re at increased risk of injury, and you need to take special precautions. Unexpected injuries can arise which in turn could impact the way in which your exercise. Not all injuries when exercising are your fault and in these particular rare circumstances are when you will want to seek out professional advice in order to understand what the next best steps are for you. 

In a recent blog by National Accident Helpline, it discusses the most common injuries and how they might be prevented. Recreational runners tend to suffer from common problems like shin splints and runner’s knee. These problems are, for the most part, the result of poor technique. On the other hand, injuries can also result from trips, falls, and collisions with other people and vehicles. By staying aware of these possibilities, you can minimise your risk of suffering an injury.