Exercise and Fitness as You Age: Tips for Getting Started Safely

 Help Guide: A trusted non-profit guide to mental health and wellbeing

Being physically active can ease depression, relieve stress and anxiety, enhance self-esteem and improve your whole outlook on life. And you don’t have to spend long, boring hours in a gym to reap these benefits. Whatever your age, health limitations, or fitness levels, you can develop an exercise program that’s fun and rewarding and fits your life.

Committing to a routine of physical activity is one of the healthiest decisions you can make. Before you get moving, though, consider how best to be safe.

  • Get medical clearance from your doctor before starting an exercise program

especially if you have a preexisting condition. Ask if there are any activities you should avoid.

  • Consider health concerns. Keep in mind how your ongoing health problems affect your workouts. For example, diabetics may need to adjust the timing of medication and meal plans when setting an exercise schedule. Above all, if something feels wrong, such as sharp pain or unusual shortness of breath, simply stop. You may need to scale back or try another activity.
  • Start slow. If you haven’t been active in a while, it can be harmful to immediately go “all out.” Instead, build up your exercise program little by little. Try spacing workouts in 10-minute increments twice a day. Or try just one class each week. Prevent injury and discomfort by warming up, cooling down and keeping water handy.
  • Commit to an exercise schedule for at least three or four weeks so that it becomes habit, and stick with it. That will be much easier if you find activities you enjoy.
  • Stay motivated by focusing on short-term goals, such as improving your mood and energy levels and reducing stress, rather than goals such as weight loss, which can take longer to achieve.

For more great fitness tips go to http://www.helpguide.org

Never start an exercise program without checking in with your doctor.

Recognize problems. Exercise should never hurt or make you feel lousy. Stop exercising immediately and call your doctor if you feel dizzy or short of breath, develop chest pain or pressure, break out in a cold sweat, or experience pain. Also stop if a joint is red, swollen, or tender to touch.

Exercise Peddler: Get your arms and legs moving, and your blood pumping, with this effective and easy-to-use fitness and rehab device.

Yoga/Pilates Kit: This complete kit comes with everything you need to add stretching and muscle toning to your fitness regime, including an instructional DVD and a Nutrition Guide.