Growing older doesn't mean that you need to sacrifice your favorite exercise and workout routines. However, there are some adjustments that should be made in order to avoid injury. As your body changes, you'll need to alter the way you exercise, and while this can take some getting used to, it is in your best interest. Read ahead for a few suggestions of alterations you can make to your regular fitness routines as the years go by in order to stay safe, avoid injuries, and still enjoy your work-outs.
Give Yourself Time
When we were younger it was easy to jump right into a routine with minimal warm-up time. As we age, this will no longer be the case. Your muscles and joints are stiffer and need to be warmed up before strain is placed on them. Get to your activity early. Go through some basic range of motion exercises. Focus on the joints that will be most used. For example, if you are a swimmer, perform some arm circles and shoulder stretches. It can help to loosen up with some light exercise first. This warms up your muscles and gets your blood circulating.
Consider Low Impact Options
Exercise can be broken into two categories: High impact and low impact. High impact activities require that both feet leave the ground at the same time. Some examples include jump roping, running, some aerobics, and jumping jacks. Low impact activities keep one foot on the ground at all times. Examples include walking, cycling, and yoga. High impact activities are jarring and can lead to injury. They tend to place stress on joints and connective tissue. If you have traditionally trained in high impact workouts but are experiencing injuries, it might be time to switch to a low impact version. As we age our bone density decreases and our connective tissues become more prone to injury. Injury recovery is more difficult the older you are—you won't be able to bounce back as quickly as you used to. Switching to a low impact workout can help reduce injury but still keep you active.
Peers and Exercise
Peers can be very helpful when it comes to exercise. If you currently workout alone, consider joining a group class. There are classes lead by professionals that are specifically designed for older adults. Not only will you have the support of peers, you will also have a professional who can help you get the most out of your workout. A lot of older adults lose motivation to work out because they feel like it takes too much work to stay in shape. Yes, it takes work to stay in shape, but this work seems like fun when you're in a class with your girlfriends, or spending time hanging out with your buddies. Find those who have similar fitness goals and create a support system so you can stick to your plans and stay motivated.
Older adults are more prone to dehydration . It is very important to drink plenty of water before, during, and after your workout. Give yourself drink breaks as needed, and be aware of how much water you have had. Carry a bottle with you so you are more likely to drink throughout the exercise routine. Some people are used to gulping a huge glass of cold water after their workouts, but this can be dangerous and lead to dehydration. Keeping a bottle close to you will allow you to take small sips when your mouth gets dry—hydrating you as you go.
Even though you are aging, there is no reason to stop working out and being active. Work with your body by warming up, switching to a low impact workout, exercising with peers, and staying hydrated. You can still enjoy the activities you love for many years to come by making some small adjustments to your routine. As you get older it becomes more critical to see your doctor on a regular basis. If there are certain areas that are bothering you, you want to make sure you aren't aggravating them during exercise. Talking with your doctor about any aches and pains you have will allow you to adjust your workout method in order to stay active and avoid injuries.
Many people think that just because they can't work out like they used to, they shouldn't work out at all. Although you'll need to make adjustments in the duration, intensity, and type of exercises you do, it is imperative to stay active the older you get. As you get older, you'll have more free time, which allows a lot of time for sitting around and getting unhealthy, or it provides time to devote to keeping your body in shape. You might find that you have an affinity or hidden talent for a sport or exercise you've never tried before. Consider the need to alter your fitness routines in order to keep yourself protected from injuries, and you'll be able to live a long, healthy life.