Corporate Fitness and Active Aging

How to improve your mile time

GettyImages-1486149507Improving your running time and efficiency can seem overwhelming. Whether you are a beginner or well-seasoned runner there is always room for performance improvement.

Understanding and building an anaerobic base is vital, let’s learn more! It’s important to understand anaerobic training and how it can benefit you. Anaerobic training is exercise that occurs in the absence of oxygen and is usually seen in short high intensity bursts of exercise. Things like heavy weight training, running, or cycling sprints are all considered anaerobic forms of exercise. This seems counterintuitive to train as you are running long distances, however, sprints can assist in building your cardiovascular endurance. This form of training can increase lactate threshold, allowing runners to run faster and longer while improve running efficiency. Utilizing hill sprints, high intensity intervals, or tempo runs will get you where you desire to be!

Different then anaerobic, the primary source that drives our energy systems during aerobic exercise is oxygen. Exercises like walking, running, hiking, and swimming are usually done at a lower intensity but for a greater distance overall. Developing your aerobic capacity will allow you to utilize oxygen more efficiently which will allow you to run at a faster pace while keeping the perceived intensity low. Setting up your aerobic training will be based on what goal you set. If your goal is to run a mile as fast as you can, running 1.5 – 2.5 miles will be enough to give you a satisfactory result. But if you signed up for your local 5k, then those number will increase up to 4, 5, or even close to a 10k. This might seem counterintuitive as you are running further than is required, but further distances will pay dividends when it is time to race.

Now that we have our running training program set that’s all we should need right? Not quite, another critical ingredient is strength training. Implementing a strength training routine to your program can elevate your training and allow you to reach your goals. Utilizing strength training can increase the amount of muscular strength and core balance needed to run faster and longer. From a muscular perspective, keeping the muscles in tip top shape will allow you to run more often and will prevent injuries. Strength training can assist in mobility and allow the joints to go through their full range of motion. Supplement your running program by adding strength training at a minimum of once a week, ideally 2 – 3 times a week.

This year don’t allow yourself to achieve the same mile times. Achieve more this year by following these simple tips. Now get on the road and let’s start earning some mileage!

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Topics: exercise running strength training training for a race

Adding Balance into your Exercise Routine

GettyImages-1143018176 (1)It isn’t a secret that as a person ages, there is an increased risk of falling. While there are a few different reasons this risk can increase, we will focus on what impacts a person’s ability to keep or put themselves in a steady position. One goal as a senior fitness professional is to introduce exercise as a tool to decrease your risk of falling. And we like to do that with a variety of exercises including a balance exercise focus. What is great about balance exercise is that it can be snuck into other favorite exercises or individual exercises to address a particular balance weakness. And often, the number one challenge that the aging population faces is their fear of falling which becomes their barrier to participating in the exercise in the first place.

Cue adding balance into your exercise routine! A wise person once said, “Practicing balance doesn’t make perfect; practicing balance makes permanent!” Our fitness professionals will say the same thing. It doesn’t have to be perfect; it doesn’t have to take a long time; you just have to do it consistently to reap the benefits!

Not sure what balance exercises to start with? Consider the following when you add balance into your routine:

Already Exercise? You’re a daily exerciser and you are wondering where balance fits in. My first question to you will be “what type of exercise are you currently engaging in?” Do you walk? Do you do resistance training? Do you play sports/recreation? The great part of this is that any exercise contributes to better balance, but now the key is to evaluate how to challenge yourself (we will talk about that more later)! Since you engage in a type of exercise, consider adding in balance specific exercises for 10-15 minutes 2-3 times per week. A few examples could be:

  • Standing heel raises and toe raises.
  • Stand with your feet wide and shift your weight side to side.
  • Single leg stands.
  • Side steps (step out to the right and bring feet together and then to the left)

Prepare for balance! Remember, all the exercises in the world will not do any good if you don’t follow these simple safety rules:

  • Wear proper shoes. Your ankles and feet need good support. No sandals or fancy shoes!
  • Utilize your strong muscles first. Get to know where your current balance is by using your strongest muscles. For example, a NIFS staff member wrote a great blog on starting from the ground up. The feet and ankles are our main support and knowing if the strength is there, is a good place to start. For example, single leg stands are challenging! And if your legs aren’t up to it yet, keep the opposite foot’s toes lightly resting on the floor for support.
  • A mirror is helpful. Look at yourself when you attempt to balance, check your posture, and note what your limitations are (such as knee replacements or back issues).
  • Stand on good flooring. Do your exercises on stable and level ground. If one side is higher or more unsteady than the other, you will be the same.
  • Use stable support. Make sure that there is a stable chair or counter available. As you practice, you will need occasional support when you feel unsteady. The main goal is to prevent falling.
  • Avoid fast movements and position changes. Slow down! Learn to turn and react with deliberate patience. Incorrect weight shifting is the number-one cause of falls. So, when you go to move or turn, remember to be as cautious as possible. What’s the real hurry? Let your body catch up with your mind’s intent.

Practice balance by challenging yourself! Just like with most exercises, your body becomes used to the movement (hopefully anyway!) After you have become comfortable with certain exercises, the next step is to practice exercises that force the body to feel unsteady and this will help the body become steadier. For example, if you’re capable of supporting yourself while raising both arms out and holding them for 10 seconds, next you can incorporate holding on with one hand and lifting one leg out to challenge yourself. Over time you can regain better balance.

These are just the basics when it comes to adding balance into your exercise routine. Keep in mind, these start with someone who has a basic understanding of exercise and balance, so if you are new to exercise NIFS highly recommends connecting with your primary physician before beginning new exercises and if it is available to you, working with a fitness professional to guide you along can keep you on track and challenging yourself.

Interested in learning more about how NIFS Fitness Management helps seniors across the country incorporate balance in their routine? Learn more about our signature program in our client locations by clicking below.

Learn more about balance redefined

 

 

 

Topics: exercise balance exercise and aging balance challenge NIFS Empowerment Workshop

Functional Balance Exercises

GettyImages-73232038Most folks who have ever participated in balance training know that most exercises seem to involve only the legs. While it is important to focus on our lower extremities during our training, it is important to incorporate the use of our arms for more functional and effective training. Why? Because this will have more real-world applications! For example, practicing single leg stance is important for improving balance but most of us are not going to be in a situation where we must stand on one leg for an extended period of time. We will, however, be shifting our weight from one leg to another, swinging our arms like we do when walking, taking the stairs, dancing, or cleaning the house in real world daily activities.

So here we hope to provide you with a few balance exercises to consider for a more functional exercise for day-to-day fitness!

  • Weight shifts with rotation (golf)
    • Stand with feet shoulder width apart with right hand on a chair or balance bar.
    • Raise left hand overhead with slight bend in knees.
    • Slowly hinge at the hip and bend down, bringing your left hand to the right knee.
    • Slowly rise back up, raising left arm overhead, rotating your shoulder, head, and hips, pivoting the right foot. Most body weight should now be on your left leg. This movement should almost mimic a golf swing.
    • Repeat 10 times, and switch sides.
  • Step/lunge with rotation (walking)
    • Stand 6 inches or so away from a wall, facing the right.
    • Step forward with the left foot initiating a step or lunge.
    • Extend right arm forward, turn to the left, and touch the wall.
    • Rotate back to facing forward, stepping back to the starting position.
    • Repeat 10 times, and then switch sides.
  • Hip hinge with overhead reach (stocking shelves)
    • Stand behind a chair with feet slightly wider than hip width.
    • With slight bend in the knees, hinge at the hip forward until hands are at or just below knee level.
    • Stand back up slowly and bring hands to your chest.
    • Press both hands over head as if you were putting something up in a cabinet.
    • Bring hands back down and repeat.
      • Use a weight or a ball for a more realistic experience!
  • Single Arm Standing resistance band rows (walking the dog)
    • Attach a resistance band to an anchor point (balance bar or door handle)
    • Stand back to put tension on the band and set feet just wider than hip width.
    • Maintain posture keeping your shoulders down and elbows in as you row. Make sure to avoid trunk rotation.
    • Repeat 10 – 12 times and repeat on the other side.
  • Farmers carry (carrying groceries)
    • Grab 2 heavy dumbbells (heavier than what you would normally use for biceps curl).
    • Stand tall with good posture, shoulders back, core engaged, and a dumbbell in each hand.
    • Walk at a slow and controlled pace around a room or down a hall with a flat even floor, and nothing in the way.
    • Perform this exercise for laps or for time (20-30 seconds for beginners and up to 1 minute or more for advanced).

These are exercises that can be done with little access to fitness equipment, but we still recommend connecting with your fitness professional to make sure you are completing them safely. All these mentioned can be modified to fit your abilities and what is more important is that all these exercises can be translated into real life activities.

Keep in mind, this is all about “functional” balance. While not all exercises are labeled as functional, they are still beneficial. For example, leg presses are great for building strength in the lower body, but they do not address balance specifically. Knowing why certain exercises are functional is also a great way to keep your fitness routine engaging, because now you know why you are performing a certain movement, and how it will apply out outside of the gym!

Interested in learning more to help your residents stay fit with functional fitness? NIFS Fitness Management includes 1-1 services and group programming that can help make sure your residents fitness program keeps them engaged in the things they love to do! Contact us for consulting opportunities.

Learn More: NIFS Consulting Services

Topics: exercise exercise at home balance functional movement exercise and aging

Balance Training Tools: An Investment for Senior Living (Part 1)

Step and Connect Demo 2What is great about practicing balance is that there are multiple ways to do it including the utilization of various machines. Within senior living, evaluating equipment options can be a helpful starting point to developing a comprehensive fall prevention program for residents. In this two-part blog series, we’ll be covering investment pieces to incorporate in your fitness center’s fall prevention programming as well as more budget-friendly options if you are looking for more cost-effective options to give your programs a boost in Part II.

Let’s dial into elements of technology. “Fancy” machines, as our residents often refer to them, may hold a bad reputation due to their price tag alone. Just like any organization, “fancy” machines have their place within training and may want to be considered when optimizing a broad scope of functionality regarding balance.

Balance training machines are prevalent in laboratory settings within colleges. Common consumers may have not heard of or even seen balance training machines previously. Let’s take a look at these four balance training investments: Biodex Balance Machine, Virtual Reality, Wii and Step & Connect. As with anything in the realm of senior living, resident utilization and success of such pieces requires a fitness champion to assist them in feeling safe and confident in how to utilize each piece.

  • Biodex Balance Machine – This machine is an investment in one’s balance training machines and may be utilized with athletes to older adults. The machine comes with a built-in touch screen for ease of use for its users. Capabilities of the machine include but are not limited to static environment, dynamic environment, as well as a Fall Risk Screening tool for those who track their abilities and progression. Multiple high-end machines such as this one come ready to go with built-in programs for its users to dive into that are most applicable for them at their fitness level!
  • Virtual Reality – Through the utilization of virtual reality, one can visit any world/ environment that they wish. Multiple forms of virtual reality consist of videos games that are played with a headset that encompasses one’s vision to have them become fully immersed into their “new” environment. Popular video game systems are built entirely around this idea and have grown over the past decade to the point where anyone can go to their nearby technology store and find a virtual reality headset. Games that train your balance play with your depth perception within the game or force you to move in certain movements that challenge your stability like dodging an incoming object. This method is applicable to many and may prove to be a fun and interactive way to improve balance without even realizing it either alone or with family/friends! We haven’t seen significant application of VR while weight-bearing for residents yet but that may come in time with younger seniors and improved familiarity.
  • Wii Fit & Recreation – This may be the simplest approach to incorporating an element of technology in balance training as many senior living communities utilize a Wii in their programming. Consider messaging use of Wii gaming under the umbrella of fall prevention and balance training. The coordination, footwork, and agility required in several Wii games is wonderful for balance training and many residents are already familiar!
  • Step and Connect Mat - A specially designed training tool that aims to enhance balance and stability. It consists of a durable, non-slip mat with strategically placed footprints or markers. The footprints or markers serve as visual and audio guides for positioning and stepping. They help users develop proprioception (awareness of body position) and spatial orientation while performing various balance exercises. By following the footprints or markers, individuals can practice controlled movements and weight-shifting exercises. It provides a safe and structured platform for improving stability, coordination, and core strength. Regular use of the mat can contribute to better overall balance and reduce the risk of falls or accidents.

How do you evaluate balance in your senior living community? With Falls Prevention Week coming up this September, check out our FREE Empowerment Workshop! Your community can join us in empowering residents nationwide to feel confident in their abilities to get up off the floor with our training! Click below to learn more and register your community for a chance to win a Step and Connect Mat!

NIFS Empowerment Workshop: Learn More Here

 

Topics: exercise fall prevention balance training balance redefined balance training for seniors NIFS Empowerment Workshop

Hydration in the Summer Months

GettyImages-541266240With the warmer summer months, it's the most prominent time when dehydration can become a big health issue and roadblock, especially if you are exercising outdoors. The heat and humidity can make it difficult to maintain a healthy balance of fluids in the body. That's why staying hydrated is not only important for your health but also for your fitness goals. 

The Importance of Staying Hydrated

Water is essential for the proper functioning of our bodies. It regulates body temperature, helps transport nutrients, and removes waste. When we don't drink enough water, our bodies can become dehydrated, which can lead to serious health problems. Mild dehydration can cause headaches, fatigue, and dry skin, while severe dehydration can lead to heatstroke, seizures, and even death.

During the summer months, we are more likely to become dehydrated because we lose more water through sweating, and we may not be aware of how much water we are losing. Additionally, the heat can cause us to lose our appetite, which can make it harder to stay hydrated.

Exercising in the Heat and Hydration

Exercising in the heat can also have a significant impact on hydration levels. When we exercise, our bodies generate heat, and we sweat to cool down. This process can cause us to lose a lot of water, which can lead to dehydration if we don't replenish the lost fluids.

When we exercise in the heat, the risk of dehydration is even greater. This is because we lose more water through sweating, and the hot air can make it harder for our bodies to cool down. Additionally, if we are not used to exercising in the heat, our bodies may not be able to adjust to the higher temperatures, which can make us more susceptible to dehydration.

Staying Hydrated Through Water and Electrolytes

Drinking enough water is the most important thing you can do to stay hydrated. It's important to drink water before, during, and after exercise, especially if you're exercising in the heat. Aim to drink at least eight cups of water a day, and more if you're exercising or spending time outside.

Electrolyte replacement drinks like Gatorade, Powerade, Body Armor, or PRIME can also help you stay hydrated. When we sweat, we not only lose water, but also lose electrolytes like sodium, potassium, and magnesium. These electrolytes are essential for proper muscle and nerve function, and if we don't replace them, we can become dehydrated. You can use electrolyte replacement drinks to replenish these electrolytes.

5 Strategies to Stay Hydrated

Here are five strategies to stay hydrated during the summer months:

  1. Drink water before, during, and after exercise. You should aim to drink at least eight cups of water a day, and more if you're exercising or spending time outside.
  2. Use electrolyte replacement drinks. These drinks can help replenish electrolytes lost through sweating.
  3. Plan your exercise routine. Try to exercise early in the morning or later in the evening when temperatures are cooler. If you must exercise during the hottest part of the day, take frequent breaks and drink plenty of water.
  4. Wear appropriate clothing. Choose lightweight, breathable fabrics that allow sweat to evaporate, which can help you cool down more. Additionally, wearing a hat or visor can help protect your head from the sun, which can also help regulate your body temperature.
  5. Eat hydrating foods. Besides drinking water, you can also eat foods that are high in water content, such as watermelon, and cucumbers.

Staying hydrated is essential for maintaining good health and achieving your fitness goals, especially during the summer months. Drinking enough water, replenishing electrolytes, and planning your exercise routine can help you stay hydrated. And don't forget to wear appropriate clothing and eat hydrating foods! Remember, staying hydrated doesn't have to be a chore. It can be fun and easy to do. So, drink up, and enjoy the summer sun!

Topics: exercise hydration employee health and wellness outdoor exercise

How does regular physical activity help improve your overall health?

GettyImages-482404660 (1)Regular physical activity is a major key when comes to living a healthy lifestyle and has many benefits. The biggest benefit is that physical activity helps improve your overall health overtime.

Regular physical activity can improve your heart health. The heart is to your body what an engine is to a car. Essentially, the heart makes the body go. Regular physical activity can improve the efficiency of the heart by lowering your blood pressure, reducing risk of a heart attack, and reduces risk of type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and some cancers. Regular physical activity can lead to increased bone, muscle, and joint strength which can lower risk of developing osteoporosis. 

Regular physical activity is not something that just helps your heart, bones, and muscle health. Regular exercise has shown to improve our daily moods and contributes to increased and sustained energy. Studies have shown regular physical activity helps you feel more relaxed and helps improve our sleep and sleeping patterns. Moving our bodies is also great for the mind, a number of studies have shown that regular physical activity can help depression by blocking negative thoughts, and changing levels of chemicals in the brain, such as stress hormones, endorphins and serotonin levels. Incorporating regular activity into your day can help keep your thinking, learning and judgement skills sharp as you age.

Regular physical activity is also known to play a critical role in weight management, whether that is maintaining weight or losing weight. The easiest way to start your regular physical activity is walking. Walking for 30 minutes, 5 days a week can go a long way. This type of regular physical activity can increase the chances of living longer. The risk of premature death for adults 60 years and younger starts to level off right at around 8,000 and 10,000 steps a day.

Regular physical activity is a main component to living a healthy and sustainable lifestyle. With regular physical activity you are not only going to increase your health but change your quality of life. How do you plan to increase your physical activity this week?

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Topics: exercise healthy living physical activity wellness health and fitness

The Power of Music During Exercise

GettyImages-1029347386If music is good for the mind, and exercise is good for the body why not combine the two at the same time?

Since I can remember, music has been a part of exercise, either playing in the background or exercising to the beat of the music. At the school gym there would be rock and roll playing while exercising on the machines. When running or walking outside I would find songs I can use the tempo of to keep a consistent pace. In group exercise class they would play upbeat motivational music to keep us moving and to help not focus on how hard we are breathing. During Yoga class, they play soft, meditation music to help calm our minds and relax into the poses and stretches we are trying to perform.

Many forms of exercise combined with different forms of music can help bring further benefit to the workout. By listening to preferred music, it can leave a positive effect on the brain and help associate what might be seen as a difficult workout more pleasurable. The exercise will be linked to the feeling of listening to a favorite song or favorite genre. With calming music during a cooldown or slower paced class like Yoga, music can bring our mind into a state of peace and relaxation.

Another benefit seen is music can keep the mind occupied while the body is working. When working out alone in a Fitness Center or at home, some people find it boring, especially having to wait during rest times before the next set or exercise. By incorporating music, the rest time becomes less tedious and more fun! Stretching the muscles at the end of a workout also takes time and patience to sit in a pose for 30 seconds up to a minute. With music that can become time to catch up on music you have been wanting to listen to or even podcasts or book audios if music is not an interest.

With today’s technology there are various methods to listen to music. There are many kinds of headphones to wear that can go over the ears or in the ears that are both corded or wireless connecting to a phone. Speakers used at home or TV channels that play almost any genre 24/7. There are even hearing aids that can wirelessly connect to a phone.

If music is not your jam that is okay too. For some, the silence during exercise can feel therapeutic. It might be the only time in the day or week that is a quiet time to reflect or not have to think about anything other than moving the body.

It is important to get exercise into the weekly routine and it can be hard to find ways to make exercise more enjoyable. It can be a mind game to be convinced to go out for a walk during a cold day or go to a fitness class that is early in the morning. There have been many strategies discovered to help beginners into the habit of routine exercise. Music might just be the missing element to a more pleasant and active lifestyle.

Topics: exercise senior fitness music workout music

What is Primal Living?

Primal living is about refocusing your way of life to be more in touch with the essential, natural aspects of life. Living a primal lifestyle means you focus on your well-being from a natural standpoint. There are multiple aspects of life that can be shifted to follow a more primal path.

NIFS | Raw Foods

DIET - A diet that follows a primal lifestyle is one that revolves around anything that occurs naturally, such as multiple types of meat, with those meats coming from animals that are raised in natural environments (i.e., grass fed, hormone-free). To go along with those meats, follow a mix of naturally grown sources, such as vegetables, fruits, nuts, and seeds can be dietary staples. As you add in these categories of food, try to reduce sources that are not natural to the human species, such as alcohol, dairy, sugar, and processed foods (i.e., boxed cereals, candy, chips/crackers). While it is important to eat the proper foods, it is also important to stay adequately hydrated. Aim to hydrate to the point where you do not feel thirsty at all throughout the day. Water should be the primary source of hydration.

EXERCISE - The human body is designed to handle physically straining activities. It will react to these stressors, and adapt accordingly. It is natural as a human being to push the body, so it’s important to make sure that you take time to exercise in various ways such as lifting weights, walking or jogging, swimming, cycling, and stretching. These dimensions of fitness will help you become physically well-rounded. Are you not into a regimented workout program? No worries! You can count any kind of playful activity as fitting for this lifestyle. That can be throwing the football around, riding a bike around town, or even a relaxing kayak on the lake.

SLEEP - With the added exercise, the body must sleep in order to recover. Aim for seven to eight hours of  sleep a night in order to restore the mind and body properly. Not all sleep is quality sleep, so make sure that when you do sleep, you limit distractions such as phones or televisions, and allow the body to fully immerse in sleep.

Try applying these three tips on your journey towards primal living. Start with one area and once that has been implemented, you can move on to the next for a well-rounded and healthy lifestyle.

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Topics: exercise sleep healthy eating primal living

What Is the Key for Weight Loss: Diet, Exercise, or Both?

ThinkstockPhotos-470754782.jpgLots of research has been done over the years to figuret out the best recipe for success when it comes to weight loss. Diet alone? Exercise alone? Or a combination of both? It should come as no surprise that the key for weight loss and keep it off is to combine a low-fat, lower-calorie diet with an exercise routine.

Results of a Weight-Loss Study

In a study funded by the National Cancer Institute in 2011, 439 overweight to obese postmenopausal women were assigned to four different groups: exercise only (45 minutes of moderate-vigorous activity five days per week), diet only (1,200–2,000 calories per day, depending on starting weight, and less than 30% of calories from fat), exercise and diet, and no intervention.

The yearlong study found that the exercise-only group lost 2.4% of their starting body weight, with the diet-only group losing 8.5% of their weight. However, the group that incorporated both a lower-fat and caloric diet and exercise lost 10.9% of their starting weight, which was an average loss of 19.8 pounds. One other thing that was significant in this study was that the women who lost the most amount of weight and body fat kept a daily food journal, writing down everything they ate and drank.

Tips for Losing Weight

As I said, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that a combination of more balanced eating and movement will lead to the most amount of weight loss. So here are some tips to help make this become a lifestyle for success.

  • Keep a food log. As the study showed, the most successful individuals logged what they ate. Grab a pen and jot it down, or use an app or an online program for tracking. Whichever way works for you, start today!
  • Focus on low fat. Aim for 30% or less of your intake from fat. Fat helps to make food taste more flavorful and helps to keep you fuller longer. However, aim for those good-for-you sources of fat such as nuts, avocado, olive oil, and salmon.
  • Move more. The individuals in the study did 45 minutes of exercise, 5 times per week, but any movement is better than nothing. Start walking, cycling, strength training, stretching, and just moving more each day.

More Help from NIFS

If you want to lose weight and are considering starting to decrease your calories or start exercising, hopefully this will help you to decide to do both! If you need more assistance getting started, please contact me at amitchell@nifs.org to set up a personal nutrition coaching session to help meet your goals.

Benefits of meeting with a nutrition coach >

Topics: exercise nutrition weight loss NIFS calories nutrition coaching diet

Tips for Starting an Exercise Program at an Older Age

According to an article in Psychology Today, one of the major reasons people tend to stop exercising after recently starting an exercise routine is that they do not want to experience discomfort. After reading this article, it made me wonder whether this is the reason some residents are more hesitant than others to incorporate exercise into their everyday lives. Investigating further into this, I had conversations with several residents about this. Some of them mentioned that they have the feeling they might be doing too much, too soon.

[Getting started: What Exercises Should I do?]

ThinkstockPhotos-72459386.jpgWith exercise showing benefits such as improved balance, increased total-body strength, improved cognition, and reduction of chronic illness, it is difficult to understand why people would not exercise. However, there are two reasons why I think this “too much, too soon” judgment could arise in senior fitness: 

  • Your body has not become neuromuscularly adapted to exercise and you are engaging muscle groups that are not commonly utilized in everyday life.
  • The exercise is too strenuous from overtraining, either causing strains in de-conditioned muscle groups, or potential re-injury. You can use this article from the American Council on Exercise (ACE) as a guide to determine whether you are experiencing overtraining. 

Following are four tips for starting an exercise program at an older age that I provide to residents in my senior living community.  Combat that “too much, too soon” feeling, and ease into the process of adding exercise to their everyday lives without overdoing it.

Monitor How You Are Feeling

A great way of measuring this is to use an RPE (Rate of Perceived Exertion) Scale to measure how hard you feel your body is working. On a scale of 0–10 (with a 0 being at complete rest, and 10 being at highest possible intensity), you should exercise within a 3 or a 4 intensity (at a moderate intensity).

Recording your heart rate after exercise is also an effective measurement of exertion. If you notice after several minutes that your heart rate is not decreasing after exercise, your body is not recovering properly.

Stop exercise if you are experiencing severe bone/joint pain, or sudden pressure in your chest, neck, shoulder, or arms.

Begin Slowly and Gradually Increase Duration/Intensity

If you are new to exercise, start out by scheduling exercises at least 2–3 times per week, for 15–20-minute sessions. As you become more physically adapted to exercise, you could increase your frequency to roughly 4–5 days per week. When you reach a point where you would like to increase your resistance and/or intensity, make sure that you make no more than a 5% increase in one week.

If you have been exercising for a while, don’t hesitate to reduce your workload to re-acclimate your body to the regular routine. This might include coming to an exercise class that is seated rather than standing, or cutting back a few minutes on your daily walk.

Plan Rest Days Accordingly

If you do not give your body the opportunity to rest in between exercise sessions, it will have physiological effects on your nervous system, and potentially develop micro-trauma and overuse injuries. You could also spend your rest and recovery days doing light stretching exercises, or going for a light walk.

Be Patient

It will take at least 3–6 weeks for your body to develop neuromuscular adaptation to exercise, and to achieve long-lasting results.

If you incorporate a slow and steady approach and find that proper balance in your exercise routine, you’ll have a higher rate of success in achieving your exercise goals and avoid a setback. 

Exercise for older adults is about more than just physical fitness, grab our quickread below and read more about the importance of exercise in aging well.

 Download: Why is exercise important for seniors? >

Topics: exercise active aging senior fitness senior living community