6 Tips for Safe Exercise in Your Sixties… And Beyond
Once you hit your retirement years, you have more free time for things like exercise. That’s great news, whether you’re a long-time gym enthusiast or just getting started. Cardiovascular exercise, in particular, helps to ward off obesity and the chronic diseases that can come along with it (like heart disease and diabetes). It’s also great for boosting your mood, preventing depression and anxiety, and keeping you socially connected if you work out at a gym or outdoors with friends.
But of course, many of us face health issues in our sixties and beyond. And there’s always the risk of injury for anyone. So if you’re wondering how to exercise safely in your retirement years, check out these six tips.
Ask your doctor. Naturally, the best way to determine what is safe for you is to consult with your doctor. He will screen you for underlying conditions that could make exercise dangerous, and otherwise advise you on safe levels of activity.
Exercise within the correct range of intensity. Your doctor can advise you on the “beats per minute” (bpm) range at which you should be exercising. Bpm refers to your heartrate, and tells you how hard your heart is working during exercise. After determining the safe bpm range with regard to your age and fitness level, you’ll want to stay within that range by wearing a heart rate monitor or a device such as a FitBit.
Don’t exercise alone. Always exercise with a partner, so that someone is available to assist you in the event of a fall or other incident.
Choose low-impact activities. As we get older, the cartilege in our joints begins to thin out. This can cause grinding in the joints and lead to inflammation or pain. So if you’re going to exercise, avoid activities that place strain on the knees, hips, and ankles. Swimming and biking are better than jogging, for example.
Equip yourself appropriately. Wearing good, supportive shoes will go a long way toward protecting your feet and knees from the impact of walking. And if you’ll be in the sun, remember your sunscreen, visor, and protective clothing. Wear light clothing if you’ll be walking in the evening.
Exercise regularly. For best results, keep up a regular exercise routine. Perform cardiovascular exercise for about 20 to 30 minutes, at least three times per week, to stay in shape. If you’re just starting, or if you haven’t exercised in a while, you might need to begin with shorter sessions to build up your endurance.
Remember, this all starts with expert medical advice. The tips in this blog can help, but only after consulting with your doctor about the activities that are safe for you.