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Fitness Advice for Seniors and Older Adults

First Posted: 01/13/2012 8:48 am   Updated: 05/16/2012 1:54 pm

Between the constantly changing advice on exercising -- one minute yoga benefits your health, the next minute yoga may be harmful -- and overwhelming workout options -- Zen-Core-Shred-What? -- choosing a fitness routine can be confusing. On top of that, you and your 20-year-old body have parted ways, and now you have to figure out how your post-50 body will react to physical activity.

But you shouldn't be intimidated, boomers, because you know what? Health and fitness professionals want you; in fact, you are at the very top of their priority lists. At least that's what the American College of Sports Medicine's ("ACSM") "Health & Fitness Journal" found when it ranked fitness for older adults no. 3 in its Worldwide Survey of Fitness Trends for 2012.

"It's changing the fitness landscape," said Walter R. Thompson, Ph.D., FACSM -- a regents professor of exercise science at Georgia State University and lead author of ACSM's study.

Nestled within the top ten fitness trends since the survey first began six years ago, fitness programs for older adults have been an ongoing focus for the health and fitness community. People at the age of retirement are more likely to have discretionary money in this economy, so they're the ones who may be able to afford personal trainers or fitness instruction, said Thompson.

But just because the health industry is pining over you and you have enough green to pay for a fitness program, doesn't mean you actually know how to start working out. Before lacing up those sneakers, follow the below tips to launch a successful fitness routine.

Time For A Check Up
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If you're starting an exercise routine for the first time or after a break in activity, you should go see your doctor before working out. "I think the most important thing for somebody over the age of 50 is to make sure that they get checked out by their doctor." said Thompson. "If they don't already have a routine of having an annual physical exam, they should get one."

Once your doctor is aware of your plans to begin exercising, he or she will pay extra attention to your heart and lungs and will check for any orthopedic issues, said Thompson.

Flickr photo by a.drian
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