Top Tips for Getting Fit After 60

If you exercise regularly it can help you to stay healthy, independent, and boost your energy levels long into old age. It doesn’t matter if you’ve never exercised before or if you’ve been exercising regularly for your whole life – now is the perfect time to introduce exercise into your daily routine.

Regular exercise will increase your mobility, improve your balance and your flexibility, and will also reduce the chance of your developing chronic conditions. If you struggle to control your weight or to get a full night of undisturbed sleep, regular exercise can help with these issues, as well. Even if you have a pre-existing health condition, or suffer from reduced mobility, the benefits of exercise will almost always outweigh any discomfort or fear you might experience when you are first getting started. Discuss any new exercise routine with your GP, who can help you to tailor your regime to suit your specific medical needs.

Here are our top tips for getting fit after sixty:

Start Slowly

If you’re new to exercise then you can’t expect to run a marathon at the end of month one, no matter what your age! Start with low impact exercises over a relatively short period of time, then build up both the intensity of your routine and its duration at a pace that suits you.

Don’t forget that all workouts (even just a brisk walk) should begin with a warm-up and some gentle stretching, which will minimise the risk of pulling or damaging any of your muscles. However, bear in mind that stretching itself can cause problems, so be sure not to overdo it. Simple arm and leg swings are easy to do and are great for getting your circulation going without having to put yourself through any great strain.

Choose Activities You Enjoy

It doesn’t matter how much you want to be fitter and healthier, if you don’t enjoy exercising then you simply won’t do it! Instead, choose active activities that you will enjoy, and therefore be able to keep up over a period of time. If you try something and it doesn’t suit you, move on to something else.

Cycling, tennis, dancing, or yoga are all popular active pastimes for the over 60s. Because these are all group activities, they are also a great way to make new friends with shared interests. If you can find a friend who wants to exercise alongside you then it will be even more enjoyable, and you can help to motivate each other along the way. It’s so easy for us to grow increasingly isolated as we grow older, so make the extra effort and take advantage of these opportunities to be sociable.

Visit Your GP

Whilst exercise can help you to minimise any health issues as you age, it’s still important to have regular health checks with your GP, to keep on top of any problems or issues before they develop. Remember that you are the best advocate for your health and medical needs, so don’t be afraid to visit the GP if you have any concerns. They’ll be able to offer essential advice on how to improve or maintain your fitness, taking into consideration matters that specific to you, such arthritis, diabetes, heart and lung health.

That said, taking control of your health doesn’t have to dominate your life: schedule your appointments well in advance so that they don’t interfere with any hobbies or work commitments. Use an online pharmacy for any prescriptions, so that you don’t have to keep going to collect the things you need. There are many ways you can go about taking care of your health so that your day or routine remains largely unaffected.

Take the Talking Test

Not sure if you’re working out hard enough, or worried you working out too hard and damaging your body? Try the ‘talking test’. If your heart rate is up, but you can still have a conversation with the person next to you without pausing or gasping for breath, then you have your exertion levels about right.

It’s normal to notice some soreness in the morning after an exercise session, particularly if you’re starting a new regime, but this isn’t anything to be worried about. Muscle soreness is your body’s way of letting you know that those muscles have been pushed. However, if you’re still feeling sore 36-48 hours after you’ve exercised, you’ve probably worked a little too hard.

Mix it up

If there are high-intensity activities that you enjoy and find beneficial, by all means go ahead and get the most out of them. However, consider balancing those demanding sessions of exercise (such as certain gym routines, tennis or outdoor jogging) with activities that place your body under less duress, such as light swimming, cycling or walking. Mixing up your kinds of exercise in this way is sensible in terms of not overworking yourself, but it will also help to keep your physical activities fresh and enjoyable. Moreover, you’ll be able to remain active while your body recovers from that tough mid-week workout on the running machine.

Stay Hydrated

Finally, don’t forget the importance of proper hydration. It’s normal for your appetite to decrease as you age, so you’re probably eating much less than you used to, but you should focus on drinking plenty of water every day, especially on the days you are exercising.

Water helps to regulate your body temperature and lubricate your joints, so drinking plenty of water as you’re working out will help to minimise any pain you feel afterwards and keep your body as supple and limber as possible for as long as possible. Not only that, but if you’re doing exercise outdoors in the summer months, there is of course much greater chance that you could become dehydrated, which is typically when most injuries can occur.

Don’t think of exercise as a chore, but instead regard it as fantastic chance to meet with people you like, take part activities you enjoy, and help prolong your positive health and wellbeing.

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