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By following the simple tips here, you can achieve a successful and safe exercise program.
Once you've decided to begin an exercise program and consulted with your physician and an exercise professional (certified by the American College of Sports Medicine or the American Council on Exercise), follow these tips to be successful and prevent injuries.
Schedule Exercise Into Your Day
Research shows that you have a greater chance of being successful if you plan how to get your exercise in each day. This might include logging your exercise time in a daily planner or putting it on the calendar. Also, exercising first thing in the morning allows you to get it accomplished early, rather than at the end of the day when you might be tired.
Exercise With a Buddy
When you exercise with someone else, you are more likely to succeed than if you exercise alone. Often you'll make the extra effort if you know someone's counting on you to be there. Even if you can't find a buddy for every time you exercise, find a buddy who can exercise with you a couple of days each week.
Pick Activities You Like to Do
No matter how good an activity is for you, if you don't like it you won't do it. Choose activities that you enjoy and that fit into your lifestyle.
Find Ways to Incorporate Exercise Into Your Regular Day
Sometimes it can be as simple as having your walking shoes in the car so you can go for a walk at a moment's notice. Park far away at the shopping mall or walk to your local convenience store instead of driving.
Start With Good Equipment
If you're beginning a weight-bearing program, make sure your footwear feels good. If it doesn't feel good at the store, it won't feel good when you exercise. If you're swimming, make sure your goggles form a tight seal and don't leak. If you ride a bike, make sure it's in good repair (and don't forget to wear a helmet).
Wear Appropriate Clothes for the Climate
In San Diego wearing the right clothes is especially important because the weather changes throughout the day. Wear layers so when you heat up as you exercise you can peel off a layer or put it back on if the temperature changes. It's important to allow the body to cool itself. Avoid 100 percent polyester products because these make it harder for the body to sweat and cool itself. Along with this, you want to make sure to keep hydrated by drinking water throughout your exercise time.
Start Off Slow
Often people rush into an exercise program and do too much too soon. Then they get injured and must refrain from exercise. It took awhile to become a "couch potato," and it will take awhile to get back into shape. Progress slowly — you are on a lifelong journey with your exercise, and there's no rush. If something hurts, change or modify it so that it doesn't. The year 2003 slogan is "no pain, all gain," which means that exercise doesn't have to hurt to be good for you.
By following the simple tips here, you can achieve a successful and safe exercise program — and one that is fun!
For More Information
To learn more about Sharp's senior health services and exercise classes for seniors or to find a Sharp-affiliated doctor, search for a San Diego physician or call 1-800-82-SHARP (1-800-827-4277), Monday through Friday, 8 am to 6 pm. To find general information about senior health, read the Senior Health News archive.