by: Paul Ryan
Best Tips For Seniors Looking To Kickstart Their Personal Fitness
Are you a senior who wants to focus on your personal fitness, but you aren’t sure where to start? Staying in shape can feel like a daunting task at any age, and often the biggest barrier is the simple question of where to begin. We took a survey of seniors who regularly attend Blue Cross Blue Shield of Rhode Island’s (BCBSRI) Your Blue Store fitness classes to learn their recommendations for kicking off a new fitness routine:
- Consult your doctor: Especially for seniors who are not accustomed to a regular exercise routine, it is important to consult your doctor to make sure that you are on a program that is safe given your current health. An exercise-related injury can not only set you back from achieving your fitness goals, it can also cause permanent damage that will affect other areas of your life. Safety must always be your top priority, and consulting a doctor will ensure that you’re starting out on the right foot.
- Focus on consistency: Getting into a fitness groove can be tricky when you have a busy lifestyle, but consistency is key. Even the best-intentioned workout plans can fall by the wayside unless you make a commitment to make fitness a priority. Inconsistent workout routines can also make your body more prone to injury. Stick to your schedule to make sure you achieve the best results. Keep a calendar, set realistic goals, and if possible, find a workout buddy to help keep you on track.
- Stretch then strengthen: As we get older, our muscles become less and less adaptable to even mildly strenuous activities, making seniors more prone to injuries during a workout (and soreness after). Because of this, it is critical that you stretch and properly warm up before exercising so that your muscles are ready. Similarly, regardless of your overall fitness goals, it’s important to incorporate practical and functional exercises into your routine that will gradually build the strength of your muscles. In order to make the most of your workouts, you need to first make sure your body is primed and ready!
- Try something new: The days of basic treadmills and weight lifting are gone, and a multitude of new and innovative workout options have come into the spotlight. Programs such as yoga and Zumba (both offered at Your Blue Stores) have become increasingly popular alternatives to the classics, and offer a fresh and exciting way to burn calories and keep your body in tip-top shape. These programs have the added benefit of training you on memory and coordination. If you’re feeling even more adventurous, many athletic facilities also offer swim classes and water aerobics exercise programs as well. Don’t let exercise become a mundane chore – spice things up with something you’ve never tried before!
- Live healthily in other ways: While fitness is a key staple in getting in shape, it’s important to stay healthy in a number of other ways as well. Maintaining a healthy balanced diet is crucial to fueling your body through your workouts and to aid in building muscle. Make sure to get an adequate amount of the most important food groups, especially protein and vegetables. It is also critical that you allow yourself time to rest and recover following a workout. Exercise can be strenuous, and it is important to recuperate in order to make the most out of your fitness routine.
Remember, no matter what your age, there is always time to get involved in a program and focus on your health. If you don’t know where to begin, call your local Your Blue Store and talk to an expert who can get you started on the right track.
About the author
Paul Ryan is the director of retail strategy and operations at Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island (BCBSRI) and responsible for developing an innovative retail strategy that grows BCBSRI’s “bricks and mortar” portfolio, which currently includes retail stores in Warwick, Lincoln, and Bristol. A Rhode Island native, Ryan enjoys sports, fitness, traveling and trying out the best places to eat.