Is It Safe To Work Out If You Are Over 60?

Older man and woman on bikes

Exercise After 60

Everyone knows that exercise is essential for good health but many people wonder if it is safe to work out after 60. Research has shown that moderate exercise can provide protection from a variety of diseases and even those in their golden years can benefit from a regular exercise program.

Many health experts recommend that older people engage in aerobic exercise such as cycling or walking in addition to various strength training exercises to help protect and build muscle and burn fat. Exercise is perfectly safe for people over 60, although it is always recommended to speak with your doctor before beginning any new exercise routine or major lifestyle change.

What Will Exercise Do For Me?

Studies have shown that by 60 years of age, most people have some degree of joint irritation, osteoporosis, osteoarthritis or a lack of flexibility. Light to moderate exercise can actually help to improve these conditions as well as many others. Exercise is essential in keeping the heart healthy and keeping blood pressure down to normal levels. It can also help to decrease bad cholesterol that could cause heart disease and strength conditioning exercises can help to improve balance, increase mental capacity, control diabetes and enhance a healthier sex life.

How Do I Start?

Although exercise is important, it is also important to begin properly. A physical will tell you anything about your body that you need to know prior to beginning a new exercise program. Warming up is important and can be accomplished through light stretching or walking for about fifteen minutes. As the body grows older, it becomes even more important to ease slowly into a new exercise program to avoid injury. It also takes a bit longer to warm up and to cool down.

Those looking to lose weight can begin by exercising for at least 30 minutes three or more times each week and following a healthy diet. Those who do not necessarily need to lose weight but want to enjoy the other health benefits that exercising offers can begin with 10 minute routines at least three days each week.

Scheduling a regular exercise time each day can help you to keep on track. It is important that you drink plenty of water before, during and after exercising to avoid dehydrating and remember that half the time spend exercising should be done on aerobic type activities. When walking, keep a constant pace and as you become more comfortable with your normal routine, you can begin doing variations such as swinging your arms as you walk.

How About Lifting Weights?

For strengthening exercises, it is important to remember to begin slowly so that you do not cause injuries. Spend at least two seconds for each lifting phase of your exercise and another four seconds for the lowering phase. If you move too fast through strengthening exercises, you are not likely to gain the full benefit of the exercises and you risk serious injury to your bones and muscles.

Dressing for comfort is important for exercising no matter what your age. Choose shoes that are designed for the activity that you are doing and that fit you comfortably. If you are running or walking, you should select shoes that will absorb the shock as you stride. New shoes are essential in ensuring that you are both comfortable and protected from injury. You may actually need to buy new shoes before you realize it, even with brands that you believe will last for several years. The shock absorbing quality of shoes do not last more than just a few months so be sure to replace your shoes often.

Many people believe that aging is what causes a lack of physical ability while in reality, it is the lack of physical ability that seems to cause aging. Keeping active is important, particularly when you reach 60. There are a number of exercises that you can do that will help you to feel younger and more physically fit. If you do not have someone to exercise with, there are many groups that offer exercise buddies that can help you to be more motivated to keep up your exercise program.

Why Should I Make The Effort?

Not doing any physical activity is one main reason for age related issues such as deteriorating bone density, difficulty with balance and mobility and muscle loss. Exercising should be part of everyone’s daily routine, no matter their age. This certainly does not mean that someone who is 60 years old is going to begin feeling like they are 20 again the day after they begin exercising. They will however, build up more strength, balance and energy as they go along.

With a bit of planning and motivation, anyone over 60 can begin to feel a bit younger and more energetic. It simply takes getting started and choosing a healthy diet and an exercise plan that is feasible. Even if you stopped exercising many years ago, beginning again will have a number of benefits. If you have remained active then you know what limitations your body will have. If not, you may need to begin very slowly so that you can learn these limitations and ways to work around them.

Again, it is vital that you see your doctor before beginning any exercise routine. A physical will tell you of any limitations that you can expect and if you do begin seeing problems, you will have a better idea of what specifically is causing them. Your doctor can also give you more information on exercises that are good for you to begin and how you should start.

It is never too late to get physically fit and it is certainly safe for anyone over 60 to begin a healthy lifestyle. As long as you follow your doctor’s recommendations and know your limits, there is no reason why you cannot enjoy the massive benefits to your health that exercising can bring. Begin slowly and work up to a pace that feels comfortable for you. The benefits of exercise will last you a lifetime, which incidentally could be much longer if you begin exercising today.