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Exercise Tips for Seniors to Start a Healthy 2009

Get a checkup, know your options, and get going, council urges

SUNDAY, Jan. 18 (HealthDay News) -- Most fitness advice is aimed at a general audience.

But if you're an older adult, the International Council on Active Aging (ICAA) has some tips for seniors to get started and keep them at the top of their game:

  • Get a checkup. Talk with your doctor about getting clearance to begin a fitness program and making any modifications to suit your situation.
  • Know your options. Before starting, pick a program you'll enjoy, so you'll do it regularly. Some people, for example, like to go to a gym for structured workouts, while others might prefer a more informal neighborhood walking club. Checkout the facility and the staff. Is the place friendly? Can you change clothes comfortably? Are facilities easily accessed?
  • Determine your participation style. Choose what's best for you -- a class or going solo? Morning or night hours? Indoor or outside exercise?
  • Start slowly. Most people are overeager and sometimes overdo it. Record a baseline of your regular activities and determine a reasonable schedule.
  • Make a date. Find a buddy to exercise with you and keep you motivated.
  • Set specific short- and long-term goals. Plan for activity in your day and make it a priority.
  • Make a list. Try to make the benefits about things you can control, rather than an outcome (such as weight). Looking to decrease stress and depression, build stronger bones or greater strength, get a better sleep? Remind yourself what your goals are.
  • If it hurts, don't do it. Learn to work around pain, not through it. And once you've reached your goal, treat yourself for the good job you've done, so it will encourage you to continue.

More information

The U.S. National Institute on Aging has more about exercise for older adults.

--HealthDay staff

SOURCE: International Council on Active Aging, news release, January 2009

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