Worth the weight; how to return to exercise past 65
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While the benefits of exercise in older adults are clear, many people aged 65+ often struggle to find the time to commit to a fitness routine. To help you, here’s our guide to how you can kickstart your year with a new gym routine.
One of the biggest misconceptions about exercise is that it’s an all or nothing commitment. This couldn’t be further from the truth, and it’s often why some people may find it challenging to get started.
The best thing to do is simply start small. This can be achieved by setting realistic goals, from going on an extra walk each week to doing easy bodyweight exercises in the gym. Starting a new routine doesn’t have to involve significant changes.
If you’re looking to get stronger, there are a range of chair exercises for seniors with limited mobility to get started, using a simple bench to begin with. From here, you can move towards bodyweight or light-weight strengthening exercises, that can be adapted to suit all abilities.
When planning your new fitness goals, it’s important to explore your options when it comes to the gym. Gyms aren’t just for athletes or young adults, and many find having a membership to be a source of motivation.
Sometimes, a change of environment could be just the thing to find the drive to move again. For example, you could start going a couple of times a week, whether for a gentle swim, or trying something new like a strength training class to get your heart rate pumping.
All in it together
Group classes can be one of the biggest sources of motivation when it comes to getting back into exercising more regularly. Having a professional trainer guide you through the process takes the stress out of figuring out what to do for yourself, removing one more hurdle.
There are many benefits to yoga for 60 year-olds, so these classes are perfect to tune back in with your body and start moving again. A good trainer will also offer variations to make the exercises accessible. This could include dropping weights or offering alternative exercises to suit your needs.
You can also look for fitness programmes specially designed for seniors, as they’re more likely to feature specific exercises for older people. These kind of programmes can incorporate classes and activities from group walks to table tennis and badminton.
These activities and classes also give you the opportunity to meet like-minded people leading to some friendly competition.
Find something you love
Exercising should never feel like a chore. Many people enjoy the social aspect of exercising and choose to play squash or tennis. Others prefer gentle forms of exercise that take a holistic approach to health and focus on breathing and flexibility, such as swimming or yoga. There really is something for everyone.
Sports and exercise are often associated with being competitive and the idea of measuring yourself against others. However, that’s not the only way to move, and finding something you love goes a long way when it comes to building a routine that works for you.
Group walks, for example, are a great way to improve your overall health and fitness in a social, non-competitive way. It’s also gentle on the joints and allows you to spend more time outdoors, which can do wonders for your mental health. Swimming, meanwhile, has a number of benefits that supports people living with arthritis.
If you’re thinking of returning to exercise, then consider what moves you and focus on what you enjoy. It will help keep you motivated and make exercise feel like a breeze.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help
There’s no magical, one-size-fits-all routine when it comes to fitness for over 60s, so it can be difficult to know where to start.
If you are unsure, then consider asking for help. Gym and fitness experts will be able to help alleviate any concerns you may have and can provide valuable advice. This could include ways to manage existing conditions or previous injuries, as well as tailored exercise recommendations, from low impact activities such as swimming to cardio classes.
Speaking with people in a similar position could also help you reach your fitness goals. By building a new routine together you’ll find it much easier to stay motivated. Plus, they may be able to share some tips of their own too.
David Morris Content Contributor, Warwick Sport
David is an avid runner and writes about different aspects of fitness, health and wellbeing. He enjoys running, fitness classes and outdoor activities with his daughters.
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