It’s not easy getting old. Your body starts changing in all sorts of ways, and most people need to adjust their lifestyles and habits accordingly. The aging process cannot be stopped, but, fortunately, you can slow it down. One way you can stay “young” is by getting regular exercise.
However, if you’re a baby boomer, you won’t be able to exercise at the same level of intensity that you had in your youth. You’ll need to take some additional steps to ensure you don’t injure yourself while working out. Below, you’ll find some guidelines which you should follow whenever you decide to exercise.
Get a medical exam before starting an exercise program. Meet with your doctor to make sure your health is in check, so you can exercise without concern.
Warm up. It’s been proven that working out with cold or stiff muscles increases your risk for injury. Do some jumping jacks or stretches, or run in place for a few minutes before working out.
Cool down. Take the time to rest for a bit after your workout. Do some stretches and breathe deeply, and you’ll feel properly refreshed and rejuvenated.
Consistency is key. Don’t work out for 2 days a week and call it quits. Try to get 30 minutes of moderate physical activity every day. Some examples of moderate physical activity include going for a walk, playing tennis, or even gardening.
Be prepared. If you know what you’re doing, you aren’t likely to suffer an injury while playing sports or exercising. Consider taking lessons if you want to improve your performance.
Listen to your body. If you’re working out and experience any pain that doesn’t feel right, stop exercising and take a break until the pain subsides. If it still persists, consult with your doctor.
Gradually increase your level of exercise. Don’t get too far ahead of yourself. This is probably the key to most injuries sustained by baby boomers who still think they can perform at the same level despite not participating in a sport or regular exercise. Don’t be a statistic! These people are termed “weekend warriors,” and they are the ones who often find themselves pushing their bodies too hard too fast. Your older body takes more time to train and heal, so allow yourself the ability to slowly increase your endurance. If you usually walk 2 miles a day, don’t assume that tomorrow you’ll be able to walk 4. Slowly increase the duration of your walks and work your way up to your goal.
Balance out your workout plan. Make sure you’re not focusing only on one muscle group. It’s vital to get a mixture of cardiovascular exercise, flexibility, and strength training. Training your entire body will keep every part of it young.
Don’t rush to add new exercises to your routine. Patience and careful consistency is key to preventing injuries. Stick with what you have until you feel you’re ready for something new, and then you can switch up your regimen a little.
If you follow the above exercise guidelines, you can make sure you stay fit, healthy, and young for as long as possible, without needlessly suffering an injury in the process.
Dr. Matthew Russo
Dr. Russo is a third-generation orthopedic surgeon in Scottsdale, AZ specializing in total hip and knee replacement surgery. He feels very grateful to have the opportunity to serve the Phoenix community as an orthopedic surgeon, just as his father and grandfather have done, for over 30 years.