What Is Your Level of Workout?

By August 7, 2014Aging in Place

PT Sue LogoJust as all people are different, all responses to a workout vary according to a variety of factors, such as previous level of activity, health issues, and mobility issues. Your workout needs to be tailored to you specifically, especially as you age and accumulate more problems. Once you have a tailored workout, then you can progress. If you choose a workout that is physically and psychologically beyond your limits, you will quickly abandon the workout. If you choose a workout where you can say “It is hard; it makes me work, but I can do it with a little push”, then you have a workout that has the potential to last. As you build in your strength, range of motion, flexibility, coordination, and endurance, then you can progress the workout to a higher level. No workout will be beneficial if, after a week of effort, you give it up. Choose a workout level that is reasonable and a workout space that works for you. And, then, persist in your commitment to exercise. And, rather than a workout, consider the exercise time part of your daily life style, such as getting dressed in the morning.

Workouts are often referred to “light”, “moderate”, or “vigorous”. The terms don’t mean as much as the consideration of your needs, especially if you are regaining strength and mobility after illness or fracture. If that is the case, or you have some serious chronic illness or debilitation, then over exerting your body will run the risk of physical failure due to such factors as over straining joints and muscles, increasing fatigue which can further compromise your immune system, and becoming discouraged and giving up on your body. It is important to have specific short term goals in mind. For example, your goal might be to walk three blocks. That won’t happen immediately if you are recovering, so your short term goal is to walk to the front door. Once you meet your short term goal, then increase the goal in frequency (number of times you walk to the front door) and once frequency is easy at three to four times a day, then increase distance. Your body actually gains more benefit from shorter, multiple sessions compared to one long session and then nothing.

In a light exercise routine your symptoms would be: breathing easily; feeling a warming feeling but no sweating; and able to talk while exercising. In a moderate exercise routine your symptoms would be: breathing faster; light sweating; and able to talk while exercising but with some difficulty. In a vigorous exercise routine your symptoms would be: breathing hard; sweating; very difficult to impossible to exercise and talk.

A senior starting an exercise routine, especially after illness or fracture may be so weak that they are at the vigorous level of exercising just trying to lift their leg up into the air three times. In order to slowly build or rebuild your body, you need to start at a reasonable level of exercise, repetition, and frequency and then slowly build as you gain in strength and endurance. Also, just starting such a routine demands that you really concentrate—pay attention to what you are doing—and that takes energy, much more than you realize. Again, as you get stronger and your endurance improves, so too will your concentration and ability to pay attention, as well as your breathing pattern, posture, and execution. The bottom line is to stay committed to your effort and get the advice of a professional as indicated.

Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions at my web site, ptsue.com; my office (951)369-6507; or my email, askptsue@gmail.com. My goal is to help seniors keep healthy and moving. I welcome all questions and/or comments.

Image Credit – http://i.huffpost.com/gen/1272125/thumbs/o-SENIOR-EXERCISE-facebook.jpg

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