The nearness of summer gets a lot of people in the mood to start a running program. Running is a good aerobic exercise, but it’s easy to injure yourself if you don’t follow some safety precautions:
- Begin with easy jogging, maybe even combining jogging and walking.
- Increase your running time and distance by no more than 10 percent from one week to the next.
- Try to run on softer surfaces, such as dirt, grass or a soft running track.
- If possible, go to a sports store for your running shoes. People who work there should know how to fit you with a running shoe that’s right for your foot.
Source: American College of Sports Medicine
Clean Air and Exercise
As the weather gets warmer and air pollution gets worse, what do you need to know about how air quality affects you when you exercise? According to the Environmental Protection Agency, when ozone levels are above 0.12 ppm, heavy exercise such as running can increase your risk of respiratory problems and reduced lung function.
You can decrease the effects of ozone by doing a less strenuous activity—walking instead of running, for example. Or you can limit the amount of time you spend on the exercise. Exercising inside is another option.
Ozone levels are usually lowest in the early morning and in the evening, so adjusting your schedule is another way to go.
Source: Environmental Protection Agency
Blood Pressure and Exercise
High blood pressure, or hypertension, is extremely common in this country, but people still don’t take it seriously. It’s one of the main risk factors for heart disease and stroke.
Getting regular exercise is one of the best ways to help lower your blood pressure. Some people are even able to lower their doses of blood pressure medicine if they stick with a regular exercise routine. In some cases, you might even be able to stop taking medication. But even if you can’t, regular exercise can help your medication work better.
If you don’t like the idea of sweating, don’t forget there are gentle exercises out there that can give you a lot of benefit. Look into things like yoga, t’ai chi and qigong. These activities not only help your body, but they’re great stress reducers as well.
Source: National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute
About 90 percent of people who have asthma are at risk for having an asthma attack caused by exercising or playing a sport. Symptoms include
- Tightness in the chest
- Shortness of breath
Swimming is one of the best sports for people with exercise-induced asthma, because the air at the water line is warm and humid. Inhaling cold or dry air causes loss of heat and moisture the respiratory tract.
To decrease your chances of having an exercise-induced asthma attack, be sure that before exercising you take any of the asthma medication your doctor has recommended you take to prevent these kinds of attacks. Slowly warming up can help as well.
Source: National Institutes of Health
Never too Old to Build Strength
If you’re an older person and you’re looking for a way to get more fit, build strength and help prevent bone loss (osteoporosis), you might want to think about starting a strength training program.
Starting a weight training program with a certified trainer or coach can help you learn proper form and avoid injury. You can also talk about your particular goals with a professional trainer, and create a program that will meet your individual needs.
Your local senior center may have strength training information. If they don’t, they might be able to point you in the right direction. Or you can ask your doctor or nurse practitioner for advice.
There’s no cut-off age when it comes to improving your fitness level. And speaking of age…be sure to click on our new
Senior Magazine, making its first appearance here this month. We have articles about how to live an active life if you have arthritis, what to do if you’re feeling like you’re in a depression and what gadgets you can get to make your life easier. We also have some news about medications that concern mainly the senior population. And every magazine will have a recipe.