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Doing sport over the age of 60 is not the same as it is when you are only 20, particularly if you have not exercised for quite a long time....
You need to be more careful about the risks of injury and cardiovascular problems. That is why you should always get your doctor and a qualified coach to approve a particular sport and decide if your health will allow you to do it or not. Before getting started, follow these 5 tips for getting back into sport !
1. Better Safe Than Sorry!
Doing an activity incorrectly could well backfire on you: cramp, tendinitis, sprains… Not to mention the discomfort you could suffer if you are poorly hydrated, or the heart risks you could be exposed to.
To avoid all that, always make sure you speak to a doctor before starting a new sport!
Have a medical check-up and, just in case, a cardiology consultation. You might also want to seek the advice of an appropriate sports expert. The opinion of a specialist is vital as it will determine whether or not the state of your health will let you take up a certain activity.
2. Don't Forget to Warm up
Before doing sport, start with a warm-up. Spend 5 to 10 minutes getting your body ready for exercise.
There is no point in causing difficulties for your heart, arteries, muscles and joints before you've even started. Run for a few minutes at a gentle pace to gradually warm up your lower body and abs and to get your heart ready for exercise. This will increase the temperature of your muscles.
Start off gently so that you don't feel tired and expend all of your energy reserves.
In order to warm up your upper body, swing your arms in a circle and move your head in a half circle (don't do full circles of your head as this risks damaging your spine).
Likewise, stretch after doing any sport in order to recover and avoid getting stiff. Make sure you get plenty of sleep afterwards!
3. Take Things Slowly
An absolute must is working at your own pace! There is no point trying to beat records; your body won't appreciate this.
You need to know how to pace your training and adapt it to your own physical fitness.
Trying to go too quickly or too intensively may cause you to injure yourself. Therefore, you should always listen to your body. If necessary, slow the pace of your session or stop for a few minutes should you feel any discomfort. Don't wait until you are ill or until your body hurts to stop an exercise.
Lastly, getting into sport means not starting out exercising too often: begin with one day in every three, then one in two.
4. Control Your Breathing
Working out effectively without getting completely out of breath means learning to breathe properly as you exercise.
How? By trying to breathe as evenly as possible (without gasping). Your exhalation should on average be two to three times longer than your inhalation. This is vital for emptying air from your lungs and returning to normal, controlled breathing. Inhale through your nose and exhale through your mouth.
Try to keep your breath as steady and even as possible, and let your body settle in to the pace. Between exercises or during your recovery period, do some deep breathing to make up for your oxygen debt.
5. Drink Regularly
Did you know that, as you get older, you don't feel thirsty as much? This is why you should always keep a bottle of water nearby.
Water loss during exercise can be rapid if you are sweating a lot. Even if you don't notice that you are dehydrated, it can significantly decrease your muscular and physical performances.
Good hydration is essential for limiting the risk of injury. It increases blood flow to your brain, supplies the nutrients your muscles need to function and helps you recover.
You should drink a litre of water per hour of exercise, in small regular sips, before, during and after your activity.