Safety first

Starting an exercise programme

You may be exercising regularly and reaping the benefits, but it’s still important to keep safety in mind – and this is even more important if you haven’t been exercising in a while. Here are a few safety tips, both for yourself, and to pass on to others who may be starting an exercise programme:

  • Most of us older adults have at least one pre-existing condition – or more. Make sure you have medical clearance from your doctor before starting an exercise programme, and be sure to ask if there are exercises you should avoid
  • Think carefully about how any ongoing health issues might impact your workouts – if you are diabetic, you may need to adjust meal times or when you take your medication
  • Make sure you are listening to your body. Exercise shouldn’t hurt or make you feel bad. Stop exercising immediately if you feel dizzy, have chest pain or pressure, break into a cold sweat or have pain in your joints or limbs. The best way to deal with injuries is to avoid them!
  • Start slowly, and build up steadily. If you haven’t done much exercise recently, try short workouts of 5-10 minutes, spaced throughout the day. Or try doing some of the Fit For Good seated sessions
  • Don’t skip warm ups and cool downs and be sure to drink plenty of water throughout your exercise session
  • Keep at it. One week is not enough. You need to stick with an exercise schedule for at least three-six months so it becomes a habit

You may get out of breath, and your muscles may ache, but the benefits of exercise FAR outweigh any passing discomfort. Feeling stronger and more stable will help keep you motivated to exercise – and keep you living independently for longer.