1. Get started – just 20 minutes of moderate intensity exercise every day will help you stay stronger and more mobile. (Remember to read the safety message on the DVD before starting). Start off slowly and gradually build up rather than trying to do too much too soon. Chair based exercises are a great way build your confidence and strength so you can move on to weight bearing exercises when you are ready.
2. Always do the warm up to prepare your joints, muscles and mind for exercise. And also remember the cool down as the tensing and relaxing allows your muscles to return to normal and aids recovery.
3. Listen to your body; when you start using muscles that you haven’t used for ages you may well feel a little fatigued or stiff at first, so take it steadily and remember not to do anything that causes you sharp pain. It’s normal to feel a bit achy a day or two after exercising (this is called delayed onset of muscle soreness or DOMS) although acute pain is not. As long as you build up gradually your body will adapt and your mobility will improve.
4. Don’t just think about your arms and legs, incorporate exercises that use your core muscles and move your whole body including fingers, hands and feet. The tailored exercises of Move it or Lose it! exercise DVDs can help with everyday activities – staying mobile means staying independent.
5. Exercising can help improve your emotional wellbeing too – why not try to get a friend or two to follow the DVD with you? Research shows that people who work out with a friend are more likely to keep exercising and the whole point of Move it or Lose it! is to make exercise fun for older people!
6. Keeping an active mind is vital as we age and learning a new skill is really stimulating for the brain. The Move it or Lose it! routines combine following a series of movements set to the rhythm of the music with exercises that challenge your coordination – with practice it gets easier.
7. Being inactive for long periods causes muscles to lose their strength but resistance training has been proved to be very effective in redressing this balance – even when done sitting down. Any weight bearing activities help with strength such as walking up stairs or carrying shopping so try to incorporate these activities into everyday life. But if you can’t, then try to include the resistance band exercises as shown in DVD1, DVD3 and Put Pep in your Step.
8. One of the most important exercises older people can do is the ‘sit to stand’. Gradually, as you build up leg strength this will become easier. Try to increase the number of repetitions or try to sit back down as slowly as you can if you want to progress.
9. Remember it’s just as important to do exercises to strengthen your pelvic floor muscles as any other muscles! Once you’ve mastered the technique you can do them sitting or standing, about ten repetitions at least once a day to improve confidence and continence.
10. When you have improved and feel strong and confident enough, you may feel ready to progress to exercise standing up. Weight-bearing exercises can help prevent or slow the progress of osteoporosis but as always, check with your GP if you have any medical conditions before starting a new exercise programme.