It’s never too late to start — or restart — a fitness program. The truth is, the fastest-growing segment of the gym-going population is actually over the age of 50. “Exercise is one of the key components of heart health at every age, but it’s especially important as we get older because physical activity can reduce the natural age-related stiffening of the arteries,” says UVA cardiologist and Club Red Clinical Ambassador Brandy Patterson, MD .
If you’re one of the many considering a lifestyle shift to improve overall fitness and heart health, here are some tips to ensure a safe, effective workout regimen:
Get a Doctor’s Approval
Consult your doctor before hitting the gym, especially if you’ve been sedentary or have a history of health issues.
Focus on Health
Exercise can help you manage daily activities and stave off age-related illnesses, such as heart disease, diabetes, dementia and osteoporosis. Don’t chase an “ideal” body type. Instead, make it your goal to get healthy.
Break It Up
Research shows that short bouts of exercise throughout the day (e.g. three 10-minute walks) can be as effective as one long workout. Aim for 30 to 45 total minutes a day.
Incorporate all three components of a comprehensive fitness program — cardiovascular, strength and flexibility training — by trying a variety of activities.
Rev Up Your Metabolism
Increase your calorie burn by interspersing short, intense bouts of exercise with rest periods (e.g. one-minute sprints followed by two minutes of walking).
Listen to Your Body
If your trainer is saying, “push harder,” but your body is screaming “slow down,” then it’s time to take a break.
Before you start a new exercise regimen, be sure to talk to your doctor. Looking for a new provider? Find a primary care physician near you by contacting UVA Health System at 434.924.3627 or visiting UVA Health Primary Care .
Copyright 2015 © Baldwin Publishing, Inc.. All rights reserved.
Health eCooking® is a registered trademark of Baldwin Publishing, Inc. Cook eKitchen™ is a designated trademark of Baldwin Publishing, Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein without the express approval of Baldwin Publishing, Inc. is strictly prohibited.