8 tips to consider before starting an exercise routine


March 21, 2012

Getting exercise is important for happy, healthy aging!Encouraging your loved ones to remain active and motivated is one of the best ways you can ensure that your elderly relatives age healthfully and happily. However, exercise routines for seniors are often quite different than those geared toward younger individuals. Here are some tips to help you figure out the best course of action for your loved ones.

1. Get a physical exam. Meet with your relative's doctor to ensure that there are no serious medical conditions that may hinder his ability to exercise. Aside from medical clearance, a physician might even be able to offer a few exercise suggestions or special modifications that may need to be made to certain programs.

2. Keep health concerns in mind. If your loved one has a condition like diabetes or another long-term medical issue, you may need to alter his or her existing schedule to fit in an exercise regimen. This might include changing meal plans or medication times.

3. Consider purchasing a medical alarm system from Bay Alarm. If your relative is ever in need of assistance during or after a workout, a medical alert device can ensure that he or she will be put into contact with an emergency response team or another form of help if necessary.

4. Start out slowly. Instead of jumping headlong into an exercise routine, it's better to gradually ease your loved one into it. Try separating a program into ten-minute increments or consider signing up for just one fitness class each week.

5. Ensure that your loved ones are participating in a variety of exercise routines. This includes strength training to build muscle tissue that decreases with age, endurance activities to improve the circulation system, stretching exercises to keep your loved ones flexible and balancing activities to help prevent against falls.

6. Set up specific goals. If your loved one has something to work toward, exercising will feel more rewarding. This could mean taking a 10-minute walk every day or eventually being able to do an activity that seemed impossible before starting a regular routine.

7. Find a workout buddy. Whether you motivate your loved one yourself or find another senior who's willing to participate in an exercise program, your relative will feel much better having someone else there to cheer him on and help him get his strength back.

8. Recognize problems. Make sure that you and your loved one both understand what's not normally experienced during exercise. This may include sharp pains, unusual shortness of breath, chest pressure, dizziness or cold sweating. If any of these symptoms do occur, immediately stop the physical activity and consider contacting 911 or using a medical alarm device.