If I was going to start a beginners senior exercise program, undeniably I’d be concerned about safety from injury. That only makes sense doesn’t it? I don’t know if you’ve noticed it, but things are definitely not working like they once did. Your shoulders probably make slightly unpleasant grinding noises when you’re putting that box back up on the top shelf of the closet. Your knee has started clicking and twinging periodically and your back seems to be out, more than it’s in! Those are some of the major annoyances that you might one day share with your doctor. Doesn’t even take into account the half dozen other little complaints that have changed in your life and none of them for the better. You may even feel like you’re fighting the losing ‘Battle of the Bulge’ and that’s got you completely demoralized.
Do you remember that I mentioned in my About page, that I started paying attention to fitness a few years back? We’d decided to buy a couple of ‘back-yard’ horses for our kids. Realizing that their care was going to be up to me, and aware of the size implications, I knew that I’d have to be strong. After all, there’d be massive amounts of manure to deal with, hay bales to move around and horses to hang on to. No ‘wimping out’ allowed at all! So I started a long time ago.
Why Wait for Spring…..
But you know, just off the top of my head, I can think of three sayings that apply to the idea of you starting a beginners senior exercise program even at this age. ‘There’s no time like the present’! ‘Better late than never’, or how about, ‘Why wait for spring, do it now! That isn’t just applicable to yard work by the way and it does apply to everyone.
No matter your age or your infirmities, you can start to do something, any time you want to. You just have to want to and you have to do it sensibly! Making the decision to start a beginners senior exercise plan is the first step and probably the hardest. It’s scary to make a commitment like that because damn! that rut that you’ve been ‘resting’ in has gotten awfully comfortable hasn’t it! And don’t we all hate leaving our comfort zones?
So what does that mean, ‘doing it sensibly’?
STARTING A BEGINNERS SENIOR EXERCISE PROGRAM: KEY POINTS TO REMEMBER
- Check with your doctor before you start and especially if you have any health considerations to keep in mind.
- Decide what your goals are going to be and be reasonable about them. Goals are good because they help you appreciate your progress even as they give you something to aim for. If you can do 10 bicep curls with an 8 pound weight, then it wouldn’t be unreasonable to aim for 15 repetitions by the end of the month! Or having a goal of getting to the gym twice a week is more reasonable and more likely to happen in the beginning, than telling yourself that you’re going to go to the gym five days a week for the next year. That just sounds overwhelming and overwhelmingly unpleasant! So be realistic and be reasonable. Aim for twice a week and see how you feel after three or four weeks like that. Or maybe to start, your goal is to simply be able to walk around the block without getting winded.
- Start a journal about your fitness plans and goals as you’re getting started on your beginners senior exercise program. Sometimes putting things down in writing helps to keep on you on track and to keep going. You could start with a little note about what you are able to do today, how fit and healthy you actually are. You could maybe include your most recent blood pressure numbers, your weight, etc. Then write down what your goals are. Put a date to that, and then get on with it. Keep track of your progress as you gradually add repetitions or the number of blocks walked or how many laps you managed to swim! Just being able to see your improving numbers will help keep you motivated.
ACTIVITIES FOR BEGINNERS SENIOR EXERCISE
- Remember to include a warmup before you get busy. Just five minutes of brisk walking while you swing your arms or 10 minutes on a stepper, anything that gets your heart rate up and your blood flowing! Hey, maybe if you love to dance, put on some music and get revved up to sounds you love! Mental benefits as well as the purely physical!
- Pick an activity that you think you might like or that you think may accommodate your level of fitness best. Try it out for a while but if it just doesn’t excite you or you truly hate it, then switch to some other activity. See which one works best for you. Just make sure you don’t quit because the first choice didn’t pan out. Eventually you’ll find the ones that you enjoy doing the most and then you’re off and running (maybe literally!).
I Have to Spend How Much Time On This???
The Centre for Disease Control suggests a total of 150 minutes per week of moderate intensity exercise. They also suggest that two days each week you should be focusing on weight training to strengthen your muscles. That’s the equivelant of roughly 20 minutes per day! Not that much right? And there’s so many activities to chose from! The only criteria is that you’re moving at moderate intensity. So walking, dancing, biking, hiking, raking the leaves off the lawn entirely, going to the gym or shovelling snow on the front walk! It all counts. And it doesn’t have to be all at the same time! It could be 10 or 15 minute increments with the only criteria being that you’re moving at a moderate intensity, which includes your heart rate raised at least a little bit. Although, ‘the MORE the merrier’ would apply here, so slow and leisurely is not allowed!
Dress comfortably and wear slip proof shoes no matter what you choose to do.
In the beginning, while you’re learning, either sign up with a fitness coach or join a class at the gym. A good teacher can help you avoid injury and learn the right way to use the equipment or weights. And if you decide that the gym scene isn’t for you, then you still benefit by knowing how to use the small assortment of free weights that you’re going to buy to use conscientiously at home…..(I’m trying to plant a subliminal thought in your head here, did you catch it?).
Small steps in the beginning and as you become fitter, you can begin to push yourself a little harder.
RECOVERY AND BEGINNER SENIOR EXERCISE PRACTITIONERS
Give yourself more time to recover from your workouts or whatever form your exercise takes. As you get older, muscles take a little longer to recuperate than when we were in our 20’s. Sad but true.
Include some very careful, light stretching as part of your recovery process. After a workout that has me feeling a little ‘ouchy’ and kinked up, I find that it helps if I make a point of doing a little stretching each day. I think it invigorate the blood flow to those tired and achy muscles which in turn speeds healing. Just a couple minutes of bending forward, stretching up, to the sides…..just move slowly and with awareness of how you’re feeling so that you can stop before you go too far.
Also, over time, our tendons and ligaments shorten and get tighter so stretching very carefully and gently will help loosen things up. With more elastic tendons and such, you’re less prone to injury. Just remember, cold muscles can be injured by abrupt movements, so slow and careful and stopping just before the pain starts. Actually on all aspects of a beginner senior exercise plan, slow and careful is the Prime Directive isn’t it, whether warming up or working out?
So far, we’ve talked about the main points to remember when you’ve finally decided to start your new lifestyle, but I think it’s good to be reminded now and then, of ‘why’ we should be doing this. You’re going to climb out of your rut because of the:
BENEFITS OF STRENGTH AND BALANCE TRAINING FOR THOSE WHO ENGAGE IN A BEGINNERS SENIOR EXERCISE PLAN:
- Maintains bone mass – Due to hormonal and lifestyle changes, osteoporosis is always an issue to work against.
- Maintains muscle mass – makes lifting things easier and makes your body look healthier and more attractive.
- Prevents falls
- Makes daily activities easier (climbing the stairs, carrying groceries, picking up the grandchildren….), all of which improve your quality of life.
- Increases muscle elasticity
- Brings nutrients to muscle tissue.
- Strengthens your tendons and ligaments which makes it easier to hold yourself upright.
- Reverses the aging process and you can read more about that here.https://agelessatsixty.com/reverse-aging/
Changing the Labels
Once you’ve read about the benefits of exercise and have decided to start a beginners senior exercise program it’ll probably help you keep going if you try to change the way you think about it. Firstly, there’s no deadline for this change in your life. This isn’t about a crash course in fitness so that you can cross your first and only 5K run off your bucket list and then retire to your armchair! This is about a new active lifestyle for you.
And if you’re serious about spending this last third of your life feeling as good as is humanly possible, then you should be changing how you think about other things too. Instead of ‘going to your beginners senior exercise class twice a week FOREVER’, start thinking about it as part of your new ‘healthy and active lifestyle’! Just like once a week you take out the garbage, now being active is just what you do a couple times a week. Part of the weeks ‘scenery’ you know? You can even apply that ‘thinking adjustment’ to how you eat can’t you? Instead of just ‘I’m eating dinner in a while’, start thinking in terms of you’re providing the ‘highest octane fuel’ for this machine that you’re restoring! I guess that metaphor would work better if I was primarily writing to men wouldn’t it? But I’m sure that you all get my meaning. It’s all about the perspective that you decide to look at anything, that determines how difficult mentally, it will be for you to make it part of your routine. Words change attitudes change actions!
TYPES OF BEGINNER SENIOR EXERCISE TO FOCUS ON…
- SQUATTING – increases hip flexibility, improves your ability to walk or stand up from a seated position. It improves your balance. And you can perform this exercise free standing or you can use a chair back or a counter edge for support. Just remember to keep your back straight and as you ‘sit’ down, your knees shouldn’t pass your toes.
- BICEP CURLS – strengthens your bicep muscle in the front of your upper arms. Use weights appropriate to your ability and move up as you get stronger. If you’re going to buy a set of weights to start with at home, I’d recommend the foam wrapped kind. You can buy in weights from 2 to 15 pounds and the foam exterior means they don’t get slippery if your hands are a little sweaty in warm weather.
- TRICEP EXERCISES – this is the one to focus on to tighten up those ‘bat wings’ ladies! The tricep muscle is at the back of your arm and when those muscles shrink from lack of use, you wind up with those dreaded bat wings!
- DUMBELL SHOULDER PRESS – works the front of your shoulder the most, but also works the rest of the shoulder muscles to an extent. As well, your back muscles are called on to work to stabilize your torso. And all of this working together, serves to protect your rotator cuff muscles and prevent debilitating shoulder injuries.
- UPRIGHT ROWS – will tone your upper arms and chest muscles and back muscles. They also improve your ability to move your shoulders.
- THE PLANK – will strengthen your back, abs, shoulders, upper arms and improve your balance. All while it works your hamstrings and your butt muscles.
Do I Go On, Or……
Now I was going to continue on and provide some guidelines on how to do the exercise’s listed above but you know, it’s getting a little long here so I think maybe I’ll get that ready for next week. How does that sound? In the meantime, you could read here to find out how exercise actually can reverse aging! Or you could spend some time reading about some of the great reasons to up your plant intake significantly.
Love to you all and have a great day, wherever you are!
As always, I remind you that while I’ve spent the last 20 years focusing on and learning to ‘grow’ my own health, I’m not a medical doctor. What I’m sharing here is based on my own experiences and the things that I’ve learned from the real experts! Those are the researchers and doctors who’ve seen the actual patients, worked in the labs and write the medical reports that are sprinkled throughout these posts.
My goal is to motivate and help you find your best way to live a healthier and more peaceful life. I and Ageless at Sixty cannot be held liable for any resulting injury or adverse change in health status.
I also advise that any changes that might affect your health status be checked with your accredited physician. This would include changes to your exercise routines and any medications you might be taking or other supplements.
As well, this blog and each post may contain affiliate links. That means that if you buy something through them, I’ll receive a commission, at no extra cost to you.