We’re just about two months into 2022 and your New Year’s resolution to get fit. By now, hopefully, you’ve found an exercise or physical activity that gives your heart rate a little boost and gets your blood pumping. Whenever you start a new exercise routine, it’s important to take caution to avoid common exercise injuries.
Exercise injuries in older adults are a common issue. So much so that in 2020, exercise-related visits to the ER topped 107,000 for those 50 and older. Unfortunately, exercising the wrong way can almost be as bad as not exercising at all. Fortunately, there are small things you can do to help avoid exercise injuries in older adults.
Here are a few tips to help keep you safe during exercise.
Wear the Right Equipment
It doesn’t matter if you’re young or old; if you don’t wear the proper equipment for the particular exercise you’re participating in, you’re putting yourself at risk of getting injured.
Exercise equipment is designed for each activity in mind. So, for example, you wouldn’t wear a bike helmet for skiing. And, yes, there is a difference between tennis shoes and running shoes. Tennis shoes are designed to focus on lateral support and stability, whereas running shoes offer more cushion.
Ensure that all fitness equipment fits properly, is the right design for your exercise, and is in good condition. If your shoes are worn out, they aren’t providing you with the support you need, which could cause you to fall, twist your ankle, or injure some other part.
Start Off Slow
You don’t have to start off running a 5K the moment your feet hit the pavement. We’re happy that you’re eager and motivated, but if you’re a beginner, start as a beginner. There are different level exercise classes for a reason.
Your body has to be conditioned. Over time, you will develop strength, endurance, and stamina, which will allow you to do more and push yourself a little further. If you do too much in the beginning, your muscles could get torn or strained.
Fitness classes are created for individuals on varying levels. When you work out, you want to ensure you’re able to use proper form throughout your whole workout. Otherwise, you run the risk of hurting yourself.
Don’t Skip Your Warm-Up
Even professional athletes have to warm up. Warm-ups are essential for avoiding injuries in older adults. As we age, our soft tissue becomes less elastic, and we need to stretch and warm up our muscles before diving into a hard workout or intense movements.
Although stretching isn’t bad and is advised to do, warm-ups are more about getting your body moving and blood flowing. Before you begin your full workout, try exercising moderately for five or so minutes. For example, if you’re going for a run, walk briefly before picking up your pace.
It’s also a good idea to cool down at the end of your workout. This gives your body a chance to get your heart rate and temperature back to normal. Your cool down should just be your activity performed at a slower pace.
Listen to Your Body and Rest
If you’ve ever been around people who work out, you’ve probably heard the saying, “rest day.” Rest is essential for your body. The goal of getting fit and exercising is doing it slowly and gradually. This requires taking a rest day from time to time. Rest is needed so your muscles can repair themselves and they don’t become strained.
Don’t worry; your muscles will respond. When you exercise, especially when working your muscles, you should expect to be a little sore after, but you never want to feel pain while exercising. This is an indication you aren’t using proper form, or you’re overdoing it and risking injury.
Consult Your Doctor
Before starting any new exercise routine, you should discuss it with your provider first. You always want to make sure that you’re in good health and it’s safe for you to partake in physical activity.
This is especially true for individuals who have any type of heart diseases, such as diabetes or high blood pressure. Your physician can help advise you of what exercise may best fit your needs and health.
Prevent Exercise Injuries With A Little Precaution
Engaging in physical activity is essential for good health. It strengthens your heart, muscles, and overall body. In addition, it helps to improve balance and build strength—all positives, especially as you age. However, a simple workout can quickly turn very serious if preventative measures aren’t taken to avoid common exercise injuries in older adults.
Don’t push it. Take it easy and follow the tips discussed above to avoid an injury that could lead to bigger issues down the road. Remember, slow and steady wins the race.