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5 Workout Tips for Baby Boomers

Working out is important at all ages, but as we get older, many of us tend to let the exercise slide. We get caught up in other activities, or for many, it's discouraging because we aren't as flexible as we used to be! However, working out is important and can be a preventative treatment for any problems associated with aging. Below are five workout tips to consider for baby boomers.

1. Start Off Right - Not adequately preparing for working out can make the whole experience painful and not enjoyable. First, you should be hydrated before you work out. Hydration is especially important for older people because your body doesn't conserve water as well as it used to when you were younger.Warming up makes a workout easier on your joints, and it helps prevent injuries. A proper warm up doesn't have to be difficult. It can be something as simple as walking for five to seven minutes to get the blood flowing to your muscles. Warm muscles are also more conducive to stretching, which you should do pre/post-workout.

2. Weight Training- Lifting weights isn't just for big, burly men. As you age, you start losing muscle mass. You lose muscle mass even more quickly once you hit 50. In fact, you can lose about a half pound of muscle mass every year. Strength training can help you combat muscle loss and gain new muscle. Side benefits of weight training include improved brainpower and reduced risk of diabetes. At a minimum, lift weights once a week with dumbbells, machines, or resistance bands, but 2-3 times a week would be optimal.

3. Add Variety - Doing the same routine over and over can become tedious and boring, making working out a chore. Regularly switching up your workout is beneficial to both your body and your mind. When you do the same workout over and over, you run the risk of overusing your joints. Your body also gets used to a certain routine, and you will eventually stop making progress. Do different types of cardio (bike, walking, elliptical) and mix up weight training and cardio with group classes, such as yoga or Pilates.

4. Ask the Professionals - If you haven't worked out in a while, chances are your body isn't quite as flexible as it used to be. By starting off with a trainer, they can create a few routines for you and show you how to do them CORRECTLY. The major source of workout injury comes from doing exercises incorrectly, thus having a trainer can save you from unneeded pain. Professionals can also keep you motivated. Whether they're encouraging you to work out regularly or getting you to push your body to the next level, a trainer, teacher or coach can be a valuable asset to maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

5. Take a Break - It's great to be enthusiastic about working out and reaching challenging goals, but do not punish your body with constant exercise. Like the brain, your muscles also need a break. Muscles need time to recover after strength training workouts. Joints need time to rest after a tough cardio workout. This doesn't mean that you should sit on the couch all day, but do light activity such as walking the dog, cleaning the house, etc.

Baby boomers, no more excuses for not working out. Regain muscle mass, stay healthy for preventative reasons, and keep living long, healthy lives! More in-depth tips from health.com.

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