As a nation, Americans don’t get nearly enough exercise on a regular basis. Studies have shown that only about 23% of people get the right amount of exercise each week.
But older Americans, in particular, don’t make exercise a big enough priority in their lives. Many of those same studies have shown that only about 16% of people over the age of 65 engage in exercise consistently.
That number is far too low, especially when you consider that many older Americans could benefit the most from exercise. Fitness over 60 years of age is important because it helps a person keep their body strong and limber.
You don’t have to exercise that much, either, to enjoy the benefits of it. Most experts recommend that people over 60 do just 30 minutes of “moderate physical activity” several times per week to make the most of it.
Here are some things to keep in mind before you get started.
Begin by Speaking With Your Doctor About Your Exercise Plans
If fitness over 60 is something that you’ve been thinking about a lot lately, you might be dead-set on starting up an exercise routine sooner rather than later. But before you do, it’s imperative for you to sit down with your doctor and talk to them about it.
Your doctor can check you out from head to toe and tell you about any challenges you might face when you begin working out. They can also tell you exactly how much time you should spend working out based on your age and your current condition.
If you choose not to talk to your doctor about your plans to work out, you could pay the price for it. It’s good to bring your doctor on board so that they can make suggestions that will help enhance your workouts from the moment you start doing them.
Figure Out What Kinds of Exercises You’re Going to Do
Once you get the go-ahead from your doctor and are cleared to work out, the next step you take should be to figure out what kinds of exercises you’re going to take part in. There are so many options for those pursuing fitness over 60.
If cardiovascular activities are what you crave, you can try things like:
If weight training is on your agenda, you should think about finding a personal trainer who can put together workout plans for you. These plans should include strength training exercises like:
- Dumbbell squats
- Triceps push-downs
- Cable curls
- Leg extensions
It’s up to you to determine which types of exercises you like and what your fitness goals are going to be. But generally speaking, it’s smart for those over 60 to improve their cardio and their strength while working out.
Get Your Hands on the Workout Gear and Equipment You’ll Need
Has it been a long time now since you’ve worked out? If so, you’re going to need to get your hands on the right gear for exercising.
This gear should include everything from moisture-wicking shirts and pants to comfortable shoes and socks. Outside of helping you look good while you’re working out, this gear will also help you feel your best while you exercise for 30 minutes or so at a time.
There are also many different types of equipment that you can buy to improve your workouts. From dumbbells to walking poles for seniors, shop around for equipment that is specific to the exercises you’re going to be doing.
Start Slow and Work Yourself Into a Workout Routine
People of all ages have a tendency to jump in headfirst when it comes to working out. They want to go from 0 to 60 as far as exercising is concerned rather than easing their way into workouts.
This is a great way to injure yourself and to stop yourself from being able to work out over the long run. Instead of going from not working out at all to working out for two hours every day, try working out for 15 minutes or so three times per week. Build from there as your endurance and strength develop.
You won’t have to worry about burning your body out when you take this approach to exercise. You can gradually increase your exercise time until you’re working out for 30 minutes on most days throughout the week.
Listen to Your Body If You Experience Pain or Discomfort
No matter how careful you are about slowly working your way into a workout regimen, there is always a chance your body might not respond well to it. Do not ignore any pain or discomfort that comes along with exercise!
When you were younger, you may have been tempted to fight through pain and discomfort. No pain, no gain, right?!
But if you do that these days, you could do more harm than good. Schedule a visit with your doctor to discuss any pain or discomfort that pops up.
Consider Using Supplements and Making Changes to Your Diet
From the second you start a new workout plan in your 60s, you should also start taking supplements that will keep everything from your heart to your joints healthy. Talk to your doctor about taking:
- Fish oil
- Glucosamine and other joint care supplements
Begin eating a healthier diet designed for someone over 60, too. Your diet should consist of things like:
- Lean meats and poultry
- Whole grains
- Fat-free dairy products
You’re going to put yourself into a better position to work out when you eat these types of food day in and day out.
Fitness Over 60? It Could Help You Extend Your Life
Fitness over 60 is important because it could lead to you enjoying a longer and more fulfilling life. By getting the recommended 30 minutes of exercise at least a few times each week, you’ll find that it will work wonders for your body and mind.
The key is getting just enough exercise without pushing it too far over the limit. You don’t want to overdo it and end up getting hurt in the process. It could make it difficult for you to stick to a workout routine moving forward.
Check out our blog for some additional tips on launching a new workout routine at any age.