Do you hear the songbirds calling you to come and play outside? Maybe you’re thinking that you’d love to get into the garden but your knees and hips are feeling stiff. Not to mention your sore back. However, the more sedentary your lifestyle, the stiffer your joints will become. Regular activity will help you experience fewer aches and pains, better posture and balance, more energy, and an improved quality of life. Other benefits to starting an exercise program include meeting new people, feeling more relaxed, sleeping better, and having more fun. Here are a few helpful hints to get started:
Start with a fifteen-minute warm-up of slow walking to raise the temperature of your body and muscles. This will give you greater flexibility and lower the chance of straining a muscle.
Know your limits.
Don’t push yourself too hard or compete with friends. Move at your own pace and frequently ask yourself, “How hard am I working?” A simple way to monitor your exercise intensity is to use the Talk Test. This is based on the understanding that you should always be able to hold a conversation while exercising. Exercise intensity should be adjusted so that two to three-word phrases are possible.
When you exercise, don’t hold your breath. Pay attention to signs of overexertion, such as pounding in your chest, dizziness or faintness, or profuse sweating. Cool down for five to 10 minutes before ending your workout. If any symptoms persist, see your doctor.
Continue to exercise.
If you are feeling a little sore, continue activity but choose something different. For example, if your legs are tired from your first curling lesson, make sure you go for a walk the next day to help limber up those muscles. The idea is to keep the muscle moving and active, but not to put any stress on it, which could further injure it and/or delay healing. Alternating activities is a wonderful way to keep muscles from getting achy.
After a day of exercise, sooth tired muscles in a hot bath with Epsom salts. It is normal to feel stiff and to have sore muscles following your first sessions of an activity program. This soreness will soon disappear with regular participation.
There are many activities to choose from. Consider walking, swimming, line dancing, cycling or bird watching. Round out endurance activities with flexibility activities such as stretching, gardening, golf, bowling or curling. If you are not sure where to start, try visiting your community centre, senior’s centre or local recreation department. Talk with your doctor, family and friends to find out what they are doing to stay active.
Blessings on the road to health!
Kimberley Payne, a former Personal Trainer who lives in Ontario, combines Christian commitment with ten years experience in the health and wellness arena. Visit her Website www.kimberleypayne.com and you can connect on Twitter @fitforfaith.