Know Your Body, Know Your Fitness Limit

Dr. Ken Redcross shares several tips to help seniors get started on their fitness journey.

Posted in , Jun 14, 2021

Woman enjoying exercise actiivty; Adobe Stock

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Working on your fitness is a good idea at any age. And as you grow older, exercise has even more benefits. Dedicating just 30 minutes a day can lower your risk of chronic diseases, prevent falls, and even improve your mood. But before jumping into a new routine, it’s important to know your limits and listen to your body. Here are tips to help you get started from Dr. Ken Redcross, a board-certified internal medicine physician, and 75-year-old fitness inspiration Joan MacDonald of Train with Joan.

Find your exercise match.

Pick a workout that will best help you reach your goals and is enjoyable. If you’re not sure what to choose, look online or consult a fitness coach for help. MacDonald, who lost over 60 pounds, attributes much of her success to her personal trainer and daughter, Michelle. “Good ones know what you are capable of,“ she says, and they can help you stay motivated.

Don’t to forget to warm up.

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Redcross says, “Warming up your muscles before an activity is key to injury prevention.” To start, he suggests walking or running in place for five to 10 minutes. Stretching exercises can also improve your flexibility but be careful not to push past your limits.

Be prepared for pain.

Having comfortable, supportive shoes and wraps or braces (if needed) will make exercise easier, but some soreness can be expected with new activity. “You want to avoid medications that mask pain,” says Redcross. Instead, he suggests using an Arnica-based medicine like Boiron’s Arnicare Gel to spot treat sore areas. This type of homeopathic pain reliever can safely be used alongside other medications or supplements you may already take.

Have a positive mindset.

A difficult part of any fitness plan is patience. Try to make lasting changes instead of striving for perfection and set realistic goals. This can-do attitude served MacDonald well throughout her fitness journey. “Nothing will come to you if you don’t go and get it. It’s not easy nor will it get any easier with age,” she says. “It’s about changing the mindset.”

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