Chairs, Soup and Getting into Exercise Safely

Getting into shape can be difficult. We want to be healthy and workout. But, when we look at beginner’s tips on the internet, sometimes, the “beginner’s” tips are beyond us. We want to offer some genuinely practical advice for people who really are beginners and aren’t necessarily young, fit and preparing for a triathlon!

First thing’s first: talk to your doctor. Someone who knows your medical history can advise you on the best exercises for you. If you have had surgery, had injuries, have medical conditions or are on certain medications, they may tell you about things to do or avoid. They can also give you realistic goals. Maybe you should set your eyes on a marathon! Perhaps you should work toward better balance, strength or mobility. Getting the “look” of a sporty person isn’t as important as reaching your health goal.

Our second piece of advice is that the internet is excellent at reinforcing ideas or reminding us how an exercise is done, but it’s not a good teacher. At least, not just random sites on the web. Many community gyms, the Y and other services offer inexpensive classes. Some might be free depending on where you live, because of the pandemic or to seniors. Many of those classes are currently online. Those classes can teach you a lot.

Some sites are genuinely useful, but many could lead you astray and could cause you to injure yourself. Be sure you are reading a reputable source. Many states have websites devoted to health; your local government wants you to be healthy so that you don’t end up in the hospital. That information has been vetted. They also have lists of resources in your area. Those sites are wonderful places to start as they can help guide you to info you can trust.

Third, modify an exercise to your abilities. We’ve all heard, “feel the burn.” Workouts should be tiring! It shows your muscles are doing something! But, if it’s painful, something might be wrong. We’ve seen websites that offer “beginner” moves that talk about starting in a squatting position or using a five- or eight-pound weight. For many people, that’s not a beginner move! You should be looking at chair exercises. Chair exercises are excellent because they lower your risk of falling and allow you to focus on exercising your arms while you keep your balance. Because you are moving your arms, a chair without arms is best.

Another great starter option is ditching the weights and “miming” the weight lifting movements; you will get more flexibility. You could also use soup cans or juice cartons in the place of dumbbells. You can work up to what’s right for you. You can work up to five or eight pounds, start small and grow your strength and skill!

Whether your final goal is to hike up a mountain or do a lap of your block without getting winded, the start is the same: start small, and ignore the influencers on the internet. Discuss your goals with your doctor and get started today!

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