FRIDAY, Dec. 31, 2004 (HealthDayNews) -- If you're an older adult who has resolved to get more active and fit in 2005, you should do a little homework and set some goals before you begin, experts say.
Too often, people who are 50 and older leap into exercise too quickly and without proper preparation. This can do more harm than good.
The International Council on Active Aging offers the following tips on how older adults can get active and stay active safely and effectively:
- First, get a checkup. Your doctor can tell you if it's OK for you to start an exercise program and what modifications or precautions may be necessary.
- Check out different exercise options and pick an activity that you'll enjoy. This will help motivate you to do it regularly.
- Start slowly. If you overdo exercise, your body may become sore and you'll want to quit.
- Try to exercise with friends. This will help keep you motivated.
- Set specific short- and long-term goals.
- If you plan to join a health club or other facility, check it out first. Is it friendly? Is the staff qualified to work with older adults? Get opinions from other older adults who use the facility.
- Create a support network by telling your family and friends about your activity goals, and ask them for their support and encouragement.
- Wear the appropriate shoes for your activities.
- If something hurts, don't do it.
- Do balance exercises as well as strength exercises.
- Reward yourself once you've reached set goals.
- And make exercise part of your daily life.
The U.S. National Institute on Aging has more about exercise for older adults.