Fitness Tips for Seniors – Exercising Safely and Effectively into Your Golden Years

By on October 10, 2014

By Cat Smiley−

Lots of people over a ‘certain age’ have the misconception that they are unable to build muscle like a younger person. The myth stemmed from scientists who conducted studies several decades ago on test subjects that were not pushed to the best of their ability. With low expectations from the guys in white coats, test subjects were pushed at minimal intensity, some as low as 20 to 30 percent of what we now know they are capable of lifting. In more recent years, Tufts University researchers exercised test subjects at 80 percent of their one repetition maximum (the most they could lift once) because, says Irwin H. Rosenberg M.D. “we recognize that to build strength appreciably a person must work out at that level.”

It’s really exciting to be living in an era where we can redefine the limitations that society once placed on us. There are amazing role models who continue to raise the bar of athletic achievement at all ages! The challenge with people of the older generation is more often trying to overcome the social customs and out-dated attitudes about health and fitness. For example, many believe that weight training will ‘bulk them up like Arnold Schwarzenegger’. Or they feel resistant to the idea of exercise because they grew up in an era where exercise was until you graduated from high school (many moons ago!).

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If any of this resonates with you, all I can say is it’s never too late to change. Being outside in your workout gear is nothing to feel foolish about. And if you find yourself getting quickly out of breath, rest assured, the more you do it the easier it will get.

Before you get started, get medical clearance from your family doctor. He or she will be able to recommend the best kind of exercise that is right for you. Always warm up for five minutes or so before you get started – some gentle stretches, getting the heart rate up. Ask a friend to show you some stretches if you’re unsure – you can modify it to suit your ability. You can also check out your local community center listings for stretch classes near you. Stretch slowly and remember to breathe – avoid quick, jerky movements and reaching outside out your comfort zone. Stop if any of your joints hurt and see a trained professional for advice.

Improvements will depend on how often, how long and how hard you train. A qualified fitness trainer can help you find a safe and effective training zone for your ability – there are walking groups and classes for senior citizens, and competition categories for pretty much all sports.

Today is the day – move it or lose it!

cat-smiley-lake photoCat Smiley is a renowned fitness personality and has been named Canada’s top Weight loss trainer three times by the International Sports Science Association. She is the owner of Canada’s leading Weight loss resort for women, located in beautiful scenic nature of Whistler, B.C.

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Fitness Tips for Seniors – Exercising Safely and Effectively into Your Golden Years