We’ve long known that regular cardiovascular exercise is one of the best ways to ward off heart disease, diabetes, and many other chronic diseases. It can also help you sleep better, prevent anxiety and depression, and keep you looking fit and healthy. But as you get older, you might wonder if cardio exercise is still safe for you, and how much you should do.
For those who are lifelong fitness enthusiasts, it’s usually safe to continue your normal exercise routine as long as it feels comfortable for you. But even if you’ve never been much of an exercise buff, it’s never too late to start! Of course, you should continue to follow all safety guidelines.
Ask your doctor. If you’re wanting to start a new exercise routine, always check with your doctor first. He or she can screen you for underlying conditions and advise you on the types of movement that are safe for your level of fitness.
Exercise with a partner. In the event that you’re injured or experience any other mishap, an exercise partner will be there to assist you.
Wear the correct attire. If you plan to walk or jog, in particular, you will want properly supportive shoes. If you’re exercising outdoors, remember to protect yourself from the sun with breathable clothing, a hat or visor, and the appropriate sunscreen.
Go easy on your joints. Those over 65 often experience a loss of cartilage in joints, especially knees and hips. Choose lower-impact forms of exercise, such as swimming or cycling, to prevent soreness in those areas.
Work out at the correct intensity. For the most effective cardio workout, you should get your heart rate into the target range for your age and level of fitness. Follow your doctor’s advice, or consider hiring a personal trainer who can help you develop an exercise routine. Wearing a FitBit or similar device can help you monitor your heart rate.
Exercise regularly. For best results in preventing chronic disease, aim for 20 to 30 minutes of cardiovascular exercise at least three times per week. If you haven’t exercised regularly in the past, keep in mind that you might need to start out with shorter sessions.
Again, always consult with your doctor before beginning a new exercise routine. This is the best way to ensure that your plans are safe for your fitness level, and to receive other advice relating to disease prevention.