“Exercise, exercise, exercise… that’s all I seem to hear about these days. But how do I start? I don’t have time. I get up early to drink a cup of coffee and read the paper, go to work and come home tired and all I want to do is rest and watch TV before another busy day. I try to do more active stuff on the weekends like hiking, soccer and softball, but keep getting injured and have to stop. I can’t wait for retirement so I can start exercising.”
Not an atypical story. The aging weekend warrior, the work centered weekday. Waiting for retirement to start an exercise routine. What’s wrong with this story?
Proper exercise accomplishes several things. It improves cardiovascular health. Aiding weight control is another significant benefit. It helps maintain muscle mass as we age, as well as improving balance and flexibility. In the next few posts we’ll take each one of these in more depth. But for now, how do we start?
Don’t buy anything you see on TV in those infomercials! Please. Most home exercise equipment ends up in your bedroom with clothes draped or hung from it or in the garage collecting dust.
Walking a half hour three times a week is a good place to start. That is the minimum requirement for improving your cardiovascular fitness. Yes, it’s hard in the winter with rain and snow so it may have to be at a gym in bad weather. So, sign up for membership at a gym convenient to your home or work and walk on a treadmill. One less grande latte a week may pay for it. But before you sign up, interview a couple of trainers. You don’t want a muscle bound beast that trains everyone the same. You need to find someone who understands ageing and can tailor an exercise routine appropriate for your age and condition. One that focuses on active stretching and flexibility and on proper form. On maintaining muscle mass, not preparing you for a competition.
If you find a gym and a trainer that works for you, then pick a time. Three days a week adding a half hour workout to your half hour walk would be a good start. If you commute to work, leave early to avoid traffic and work out near work and take your shower there. It’s easy to find an excuse at the end of the day not to work out, but less so in the morning (being hung over is not a good excuse!). Whenever you choose, either hire a trainer for a few weeks or get a workout buddy with similar goals. If there is someone waiting for you, its less likely you’ll cancel. Fitness classes are another good way to start, but not those with names like “Insanity” or with “Power” in the titles. Easy does it. Look at one first to see how the instructor interacts with the participants to encourage proper form. Proper form is essential for avoiding injury, especially when starting out.
Stay tuned for more!!