Many older adults want to become more active, but they don’t know where to start. It’s important to have accurate information that is designed for the lifestyle of an older adult. Here are a few tips to share with the older adult population:
1. Talk to a health care provider. Discuss any special modifications that you may need before starting an exercise program.
2. Choose the correct program. Review your program options and choose one that will be enjoyable. You might like a class at the gym or a neighborhood walking group; either of those options will improve your fitness. Remember that you will be more likely to stick with a program you enjoy.
3. Ease into your fitness program. It’s important to start slowly, especially if you’ve previously had a sedentary lifestyle. Overdoing it at the beginning will usually cause soreness and make you want to stop the program.
4. Set short- and long-term goals. Make your short-term goals as specific as possible, noting the days that will include exercise and the amount of time that you will spend on the exercise. Set long-term goals for an activity that you might not be able to do right now but plan to be able to do by a specific date.
5. Make lists. Start with a list of the benefits you expect from your physical activity program. These benefits should be things you can control rather than an outcome (such as weight). As you continue your physical activity program, add more benefits to your list. Make a second list that includes reasons to stay physically active. It could include items that help your overall health, such as decreased stress, stronger bones, and increased energy. Keep this list posted where you can see it every day as a reminder of the long-term rewards of physical activity.
This is just a sampling of the ways in which older adults can become more active. For additional tips and information, read the entire article at www.icaa.cc/welcomeback/30tips.pdf.