Tips For Seniors To Avoid Injuries During Exercise
Doing exercises the wrong way can do you more harm than any good.

In this article, you will learn how to stay safe and reap maximum health benefits of exercise, such as preventing injuries from falls after 50 (60 or even 70) by building leg muscles and improving your balance. You just need to keep focus and follow certain key tips. Here’s your first one, for example: Wear that red safety clip when you’re using the treadmill to stop the belt if you start to stumble or slip.

Read on for important tips to follow and common mistakes to avoid for the seniors to perform exercises safely and prevent injury.

Our bodies change with age, most of which occur gradually. That is an unpleasant thought. But you can delay this natural process and live a healthy life simply by doing exercises.

Before I share the tips with you, first, let me explain why the risk for injury is higher as we get old:

Following are the changes that you can notice as you age:  

(i) Tendons and ligaments lose some of their elasticity: This causes reduced range of motion in our joints, making these areas more susceptible to injuries. In addition, as we get older, our bodies tend to take a little longer to recover from injuries.

(ii) Muscle loss: Generally, this loss starts in the mid-40s (earlier if you are physically inactive) and may reach as much as 10% after the age of 50. This muscle loss can definitely lead to a noticeable decline in physical abilities. Fortunately, regular exercise can significantly slow this muscle loss. If we don’t use our muscles regularly, the muscle tissues become weaker and less flexible.

Though older adults are prone to a variety of injuries, the most common injuries can be:

(i) Stretching or tearing of a ligament (sprains); and

(ii) Stretching or tearing a muscle or tendon (strains) around the knees, shoulders, and ankles.

These injuries may only be in the form of minor stiffness or soreness. Unfortunately, people often ignore or do not recognize stiffness or soreness as a problem and work through the pain. That may, over time, cause more soreness and injury. Other common injuries include Achilles tendinopathy, tennis elbow, and shin splints.

Tips For Seniors – How to Prevent Injuries During Exercise and Sports

You need to exercise to live a more healthy and productive life. But it may be at a slower pace or for shorter periods than you did when you were younger. Keep in mind that you may not be able to play as many back-to-back tennis matches as you once could or play hoops to the level of your 30-year-old colleagues. With age, you need to make some changes to your routine. Before you begin, follow these tips so you can prevent injuries during exercise and sport:

(i) Go for basic medical screening. Speak to your doctor. Find out if you have any condition that would put you at risk of injury while exercising. For example, if you are suffering from a chronic illness that is limiting, you may be able to find out an activity plan within the scope of your ability.

(ii) Find a balanced exercise program. Do not rely on one sport to keep you in shape. Instead, follow a stretching, cardiovascular, and strength training program.

(iii) Warm up before and cool down after workouts. Adding a few minutes of warm-up can make your physical activities safer. Cold muscles are more susceptible to injury. We ask for trouble if we skip the warm-up. Instead, try some walking or light jogging.

(iv) Keep it regular. You will not gain much in fitness by loading your physical activities and sports into the weekend. Instead, aim for thirty minutes of physical activity every day.

(v) Take lessons. Take the help of a trained professional such as a licensed athletic trainer or physical therapist to help you attain and maintain proper form in your sport, even if it is weight training.

(vi) Get the right equipment for your sport. You need to ensure the gear you use for your activity is in good shape and used correctly. For example, check the condition of your shoes or think if you will need a helmet.

(vii) Follow the ten percent rule. When you are ready to enhance your activity level, do so in ten percent increments. That is increase activity in small increments per week. Follow this rule also when you are working with weights.

(viii) Be careful about adding new exercises. Avoid taking on too many activities at once, especially if you are new to exercise. Add activities gradually.

(ix) Listen to your body. Pay attention to how your body is reacting. For example, if your knees are in pain after you ski, choose an easier ski run or consider a different activity that does not hurt your knees.

(x) Be cautious about jumping right back into your workout routine. Instead, slowly return to your exercise routine if you had to take a brief time out due to injury or illness. If an injury requires additional help, make sure to follow the return-to-play guidelines provided by your trainer or physical therapist.

(xi) Go for professional help if you injure yourself. Check with your physical therapist or doctor for injuries not relieved with home care. Some injuries will not go away on their own and need medical treatment.

No longer old age means less activity. As a matter of fact, it is quite the opposite. The more active you are, the better your body will age. Listen to your body, play smart, and you will have more abilities than limits. Don’t hesitate to call your physical therapist for help to find a workout plan that fits your ability levels and lifestyle. They have the skills and expertise required to help keep you active and safely prevent injuries during exercise and sports.

About Author: Renu Bakshi, AKA Fitness Buffhq, is ISSA Certified Elite Trainer. He passed Fitness Buffhq - Renu bakshiPersonal Fitness Trainer Course, Nutrition Health Coach course & Specialist Exercise Therapy course from ISSA, USA obtaining + 97% marks. He shares his experience and knowledge about nutrition and effective workouts to get you in the best shape of your life, no matter how old you may be. The author says: “For me, age is just a number!”

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