Getting into exercise this late

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SOMETIMES, thinking of getting into exercise can be too late for people who had not done it before and who had reached the age of 50 or more. A dose of a long-term condition, such as diabetes or hypertension, can make getting into exercise trickier.

However, it is not a hopeless case for everyone.

The ultimate step is to check with your doctor for ideas, particularly on how far you can go for it.

However, you can do something on your own first before going medical about it. At least, you will have an initial idea if the dream of exercise is still possible or it must be shelved for good. Anyway, exercise does not have to be running. Walking will do, at least for the meantime.

The first step is to test your fitness level. It means checking your basal (or resting) heart rate (BHR). The normal BHR ranges between 60 and 100 beats per minute (bps). You can get your BHR by check your pulse early in the morning just after you wake up. Count your pulse within a period of 15 seconds (use a watch or any timer) and multiply it by four. A more efficient heart has lower BHR, such as 40 bps for trained athletes.

For non-athletes, more than 100 bps is too fast (tachycardia) while less than 60 bps is too slow. Extreme BHR can cause dizziness, fainting, or shortness of breath. Thus, checking with your doctor is necessary and urgent. Do not start an exercise without getting a clearance.

If you have a normal BHR, you can clarify your goal for getting into exercise. Do you want to lose weight? Do you simply want to be physically fit? Whatever it is, make it clear ahead of time.

Plan your exercise time out. It does not have to be an early morning task. Walking will do, like taking the stairs at work or while catching up with a bus or a jeepney. Each time, take it easy. You do not have to burn off your muscles. When you feel your muscles start to ache, slow down or stop for a while to ease the slight ache. You can stop the session for another time in the day if the slight pain persists.

A reasonable goal is getting 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity (e.g. walking or light running) per session for a week. Avoid vigorous aerobic activities at this point. Again, you can stop anytime if you start feeling muscle aches, having difficulty in catching up with your breath, feeling sick, experiencing dizziness and the like. Take some days off if you need them to recover. End each session by slowing down and letting your heart rate slow down within normal range.

Make exercising a new hobby and you will keep your mind looking for it every day. The idea is to make it a habit. You can even seek a buddy who could exercise with you.


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