5 Tips for Safely Easing into Exercise
1. Start With a Coach
If you have a gym membership, but don’t know where to start, invest in a qualified personal trainer. Although you’ll spend a little more money upfront, he or she will be able to work with you, your goals, and your current level of fitness to create an exercise plan that you can follow and feel confident executing.
Additionally, your personal trainer can diagnose problems with your form so you don’t injure yourself over time.
2. Warm Up - It’s Important
Warming up is oftentimes ignored in an exercise plan, but it’s crucial to warm up joints and muscles for exercise. Warming up encourages blood flow to the working muscles and prepares your body for the workout ahead.
3. Stretch After A Workout
As important as a warmup is to your workout, dedicating time to stretch after your workout is important for recovery. A stiff muscle hinders your range of motion, and for older adults, lack of flexibility can cause significant issues with mobility.
Spend 10-15 minutes after each workout to stretch and cool down from your workout. If you’re unsure what stretches to perform, watch YouTube videos or reach out to a personal trainer. Pay special attention to form during your stretch so you ensure you’re stretching properly and not causing a strain on your body.
4. Add Strength Training
The weight room of the gym shouldn’t intimidate you. In fact, strength training and improving your muscular system is a great way to stave off age-related illness later in life. A balanced, muscular body will not have to overcompensate for weakness or tightness during exercise. In addition, a strong core promotes better balance and stability for older adults who may have issues with mobility.
5. Above All, Listen to Your Body
When starting any new workout program or routine, it’s expected to be sore. However, if you find that your soreness persists for 24-48 hours after exercise, or if you’re just simply tired, take a day (or two) off from exercise. Listening to your body is crucial especially when ramping up a workout program. Understand that even during a rest day, your body is still making gains from what you’ve done. Don’t beat yourself up over taking a day off if you need it.
Hopefully, with help from a personal trainer and a customized workout plan built around your goals, you’ll be able to translate your New Year’s Resolution to exercise into a goal you can achieve -- and feel good about.
UAB Medical West provides comprehensive, effective care for all life’s aches and pains. Learn more about us or give us a call at 205-481-7000 today to get started. If you’re looking for a new physician, call our Physician Referral Line at (205) 996-WEST.