Don’t derail your exercise progress with a preventable injury! Here are some things you can do to make sure you are exercising safely:
Start slowly, especially if you haven’t been active for a long time. Little by little, build up your activities and how hard you work at them.
Don’t hold your breath during strength exercises. That could cause changes in your blood pressure.
Use safety equipment. For example, wear a helmet for bike riding or the right shoes for walking or jogging.
Unless your doctor has asked you to limit fluids, be sure to drink plenty of fluids when you are doing activities. Many older adults don’t feel thirsty even if their body needs fluids.
Always bend forward from the hips, not the waist. If you keep your back straight, you’re probably bending the right way. If your back “humps,” that’s probably not proper form.
Warm up your muscles before you stretch. Try walking and light arm pumping first.
Visit Go4Life to learn more about exercising safely.
Measuring Your Fitness Progress
If you’ve been exercising regularly, you’ll soon be able to tell when it’s time to move ahead in your activities.
These simple monthly tests are good ways to see if you are continuing to progress and need to update your goals. Each month, you will likely see an improvement.
Endurance. Pick a fixed course and see how long it takes to walk that distance. As your endurance improves, it should take less time.
Upper-body Strength. Count the number of arm curls you can do safely in 2 minutes.
Lower-body Strength. Count the number of chair stands you can do safely in 2 minutes.
Balance. Time yourself as you stand on one foot, without support, for as long as possible. Stand near something sturdy to hold on to, in case you lose your balance. Repeat on the other foot.
Flexibility. For this test, sit toward the front of a sturdy chair, and stretch one leg straight out in front of you with your heel on the floor and your toes pointing up. Bend the other leg and place your foot flat on the floor. Slowly bend from your hips and reach as far as you can toward the toes of your outstretched foot. How far can you reach before you feel a stretch?