9 exercising tips for beginners

Sunrise Senior Living  |  October 3, 2016
Don't be intimidated - there are many forms of physical activity that you can help you get started with ease.
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Don't be intimidated - there are many forms of physical activity that you can help you get started with ease.

You've been told time and time again that exercise is important for your overall well-being. It helps you maintain a healthy weight, lowers your blood pressure, reduces symptoms of chronic diseases and helps you live independently for as long as possible, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. But if you're a beginner, exercise can be a little intimidating. Don't get discouraged by a lack of experience. There are many forms of physical activity that can help you start with ease.

Here are nine beginner senior exercise tips:

1. Stop making excuses
There are dozens of reasons you can come up with to avoid an exercise program. Whether you're too busy, tired or not athletic, there's always a solution. Stop making those excuses and try to spend at least 150 minutes of your time throughout the week exercising.

2. Reevaluate your goals and expectations
Your goal should be to improve your health gradually. When you expect too much too soon, you'll often feel defeated and frustrated before you make improvements, according to Helpguide. Set realistic goals and expectations and focus on working out consistently instead of relying on results.

3. Take a trip to the doctor
Before you begin any fitness program, you should visit your doctor. Senior Health, a program of the National Institutes of Health, says your general practitioner will give you an evaluation to make sure you're healthy enough to start a workout regimen. 

4. Always start a routine with a warm-up
At the beginning of your workout, start with a warm-up. Stretch out all of the muscles you'll be using, then go for a quick walk.

5. Take small steps
It's recommended that older adults dedicate 150 minutes to exercise every week. But if you're just getting started, you should take smaller steps. Aim to exercise about 20 minutes a day, five days a week, and then increase the time as you make progress. This will help build your momentum.

6. Finish with a cool-down
After every workout, be sure to schedule time for a cool-down so your heart rate can return to its normal resting pace. A light jog or long walk are both simple and effective ways to cool down.

7. Keep plenty of water on standby
Keeping your body hydrated throughout your workout is crucial. It keeps you from overheating and can reduce your chance of experiencing a muscle cramp.

8. Don't work against the pain
If you feel discomfort or unusual pain at any point during your fitness routine, take a break. If you attempt to power through the pain, you could end up in the doctor's office.

9. Reward yourself
Once you've completed your first workout, reward yourself. After that, continue treating yourself at each large milestone in your fitness journey. Powerful incentives help you achieve your goals and encourage a positive attitude about physical activity.

You might not think exercise is for you, but it's truly for everyone. Do your best to make working out a normal part of your everyday routine.

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