Despite what you may have been told, even seniors can build muscle tone and strength at just about any age! Sure, aging is pretty much a one-way street, but you still get to choose your speed — and that’s an essential thing to remember when working out as a senior. You can still stay healthy and actually alleviate certain common health conditions with strength training, although it does take particular planning and preparation. Continue your path to fitness with these senior workout tips!
6 Senior Workout Tips
1. Consult the Experts
While we have lots of great information here on SeniorCaring.com, you’ll always want to start with consulting the right professionals when making decisions about your health and fitness. By now you’re probably well aware of how your body responds to different activities, yet it still helps to ensure you’re ready for whatever regimen you’re starting next. Let doctors or physical therapists know the types of medications you’re currently using, any particular concerns that may interfere with an exercise, or injuries that could be worsened by relatively strenuous activities.
2. Get Warmed Up!
As one of our most critical senior workout tips, warming up at the beginning of each strength training or exercise session is absolutely necessary. This could include 10 minutes of light cardio like walking, stationary cycling, or using an elliptical before the full workout begins. Without warming up, seniors run the risk of sustaining muscular or joint injuries that can cause further problems down the line. Not only will this help to make your workout more effective, but it ensures you can fully recover afterward!
3. Starting a New Plan
In all ages, starting a fitness plan — especially strength training — requires that you take your time and ease into the activities until you find the best rhythm. If you try too much too soon, there’s a high chance of injury. One of the most commonly recommended senior workout tips is to gradually increase the intensity of your workouts every 2 to 3 weeks. This is particularly important if you’re starting your fitness plan after being sedentary for a while. And if necessary, use a chair or wall for support just to get your balance back. Be sure to record how many repetitions of each exercise you’re completing — this will make it possible to track your progress and ensure you’re on the right track!
4. Now You’re in the Rhythm!
Most experts will recommend at least two full-body workouts or strength training sessions each week. You’ll always need to consider that 48 hours of rest are needed before each session so your muscles can recover. Using a mix of free weights, machines, cable pulleys, resistance bands, and medicine balls will also help you to span a wide range of movements. Really, the idea is to do the same workout like bicep curls or leg lifts using free weights one session and resistance bands the next. This is where recording each session really comes in handy! Generally speaking, you’ll want to get in 8-12 repetitions each session until you can add a few more down the line. Regardless of how quickly you’re building muscle, it’s very important to maintain a regular schedule. Working out consistently and then stopping completely can have some negative effects, so try to stay committed for the best results!
5. Stretch to Success!
Realistically speaking, stretching is almost as important as the workout itself if you’re trying to build muscle as a senior. At the end of each training session, you’ll need to stretch the muscles you just worked out for at least 15 minutes. Be sure to breathe deeply and focus on one muscle group at a time while holding each stretch for 30 seconds. In order to ensure you’re stretching for the right amount of time count in your head while breathing in through your nose and out the mouth.
6. Rest and Recharge
Working out shouldn’t take a toll on your body, but rather improve its function. While strength training, your muscles will actually tear on the microscopic level. This means that eating a protein rich and nutritional meal after each workout is essential to a full recovery. Additionally, sleep does wonders for rejuvenating the body and making these repairs!
Keep in mind that everyone has their own pace, so don’t rush your strength training. Following these senior workout tips can be a good start, but you’ll definitely still want to consult personal trainers or doctors along the way to make sure that you’re on the right path!