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Exercise Safety Tips

Exercise for Seniors

Exercise Safety Measures

Don't hold your breath during strength exercises. Breathe normally. Holding your breath while straining can cause changes in blood pressure. This is especially true for people with cardiovascular disease.

If you have had a hip repair or replacement, check with your surgeon before doing any lower body exercises. If you have had a hip replacement, don't cross your legs, and don't bend your hips farther than a 90-degree angle.

Person with a painful joint Avoid jerking or thrusting weights into position. That can cause injuries. Use smooth, steady movements.

Avoid "locking" the joints in your arms and legs in a tightly straightened position. A tip on how to straighten your knees: Tighten your thigh muscles. This will lift your kneecaps and protect them.

Breathe out as you lift or push, and breathe in as you relax. For example, if you are doing leg lifts, breathe out as you lift your leg, and breathe in as you lower it.

This may not feel natural at first, and you probably will have to think about it as you are doing it for awhile. Eventually it will become second nature.

Muscle soreness lasting up to a few days and slight fatigue are normal after muscle building exercises, but exhaustion, sore joints, and unpleasant muscle pulling aren't. The latter symptoms mean you are overdoing it.

None of the exercises you do should cause pain. The range within which you move your arms and legs should never hurt.

Drug and Exercise Interactions

Prescription Drugs If you are taking certain prescription medications, watch your workout. There may be hidden dangers in combining some drugs with exercise, according to the IDEA Health and Fitness Association. Antihistamines can increase your risk of injury by making your drowsy, while other medications, such as cold and allergy medicines, might contain stimulants that can elevate your heart rate - a potential danger if your workout has already pushed you to the limit. If you are on any medication, either prescription or over-the-counter, be sure to consult your physician or health care provider about its possible effects or risks.

Move Your Feet to Avoid a Fracture

A new study shows that if you walk four or more hours a week, your risk of a hip fracture is 40 percent lower than if you do not exercise! Walking improves your balance and reaction time, so you are less likely to fall and risk injury. For extra bone protection, try walking faster. This increases the impact on the bones in your hips, legs and feet, and they get stronger. So if you do fall, you will be less likely to break something.

Final Tip: Practice Sitting Straight

Sit or stand with your shoulders back, but not pinched, and hold this position while you take slow, deep breaths. You can do this anytime, not just while exercising.

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