Fitness tips for seniors

Catt Sullivan

Well, here we are – ready for fall and for those of you who have been vacationing or those of you who have been here all summer know that now is the time we start exercising more! Less heat = more exercise outdoors and indoors.

So how much should a person exercise a week?

The American Heart Association suggests a minimum is 150 minutes of moderate exercise (or 75 minutes of vigorous exercise) per week but, of course, always consult your physician as necessary.

Some of you may think, “I just can’t do it, I don’t have the energy.” I would challenge you to remember the energy you feel when you are exercising alone or with people especially in positive exercise situations.

I recommend that people start off by talking with your physician and, if it’s given the go ahead, I would say just have fun with your exercise even if it’s 5, 10 or 15 or 30 minutes. It’s important to start off very slow if you haven’t exercised in a long while.

As we age we may feel ashamed that we can’t do things at the same pace as previous years. Please don’t let that stop you! Remember how you feel when you exercise. There are numerous studies that show that exercise helps alleviate depression and anxiety and, of course, it helps us keep up our strength.

This fall I encourage each one of you, if you haven’t already, to find something you enjoy and just have fun – work up to 150 minutes per week and, of course, enjoy the weather! If you are home bound, spend less time in your chair; get up out of your chair every 30 minutes or every commercial and look outside at the sunshine and dance or move your body around or march in place or have a plan with a friend or family member to call each other and move your arms and legs while you chat away!

Last but not least:

1. Drink fluids

2. Eat some carbohydrates about 30 minutes before you exercise and eat protein within 45 minutes after your workout!

3. Workout to music with rhythm that you can synchronize to your exercise: a beat that keeps you moving! A recent study from Sports Medicine – Open 2015: 2(7) concluded that cardiac patients who listened to music exercised more than people who didn’t listen to music. And those that listened to music with rhythm that is synchronized to exercise actually exercised significantly more minutes per week than those who didn’t use music. So—put on that Elvis and pump up the volume!