06. January 2018 · Comments Off on High Intensity Interval Training: Is It Safe For Seniors? · Categories: Family, Physical Fitness · Tags:

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Regardless of age, exercise is a necessity. It’s so important to our physical, mental and emotional health that it’s even recommended for children, pregnant women and, yes, seniors, too. Just because you’ve reached your golden years doesn’t mean you can’t workout or exercise. In fact, as you age working out helps you improve balance, strengthen joints, aide memory and mental clarity, prevent age-related muscle loss, and build muscles resulting in improved strength.

It’s NEVER too late to start a fitness regimen and improve your health and well being. But if you’re like most older people, you’re probably hesitant to start working out, let alone try high intensity training. And if you’ve seen others trying it, it makes you even more unsure of joining a class. You might even be intimidated by the routine and worried that you might not be able to pull off the routines.

Worry no more. This article will help you understand and assess your personal readiness for a high intensity interval training (HIIT) or Tabata style program.

Personal Assessment: are you ready or not?

Your readiness all boils down to your physical health. If you can safely go through a workout routine without any side effects or problems then you’re in good shape.
So how do you assess if you’re ready? You can start by answering these simple questions:
Do I have any heart conditions or problems?

Do I have trouble breathing?

Do I have high blood sugar levels?

Have I had any physical injury in the past?

Have I experienced any joint pain recently?

Has my doctor advised against strenuous activities?

If you answered yes to any of the questions above, you may want to consider less intense cardio workouts for starters. Stress on the last two words because it doesn’t mean that you won’t be able to try Tabata or other HIIT training programs. You will either need a qualified physician’s opinion or slowly progress and self-assess if you’re ready over time.

If you want to start slow, here are some tips to help you prepare for high intensity interval training (HIIT) or Tabata style training.

Take note, if you have any medical condition these tips may not help you. It’s best to consult a physician for professional advice. Safety ALWAYS comes first.

1. Start with beginner forms of cardio – Beginner forms of cardio are exactly what they are – for beginners. Whether you have joint pains, weak balance or core strength issue, this will help you stay fit and prepare for a more intense workout later on. Beginner forms of cardio cater to those who can only use certain body parts smoothly or find it hard to do full-body fitness programs.

A. Seated Forms of Cardio. The best example would be a stationary bike. This is an easy cardio because it only requires a few body parts and seating means it requires little to no balance or core stability.

B. Fixed Forms of Cardio. For this one you can use an elliptical machine. Just like a seated form of cardio, this requires little core stability to perform and less taxing on your joints. The only difference is that the whole body is working in conjunction.

C. “Free” Forms of Cardio. The best examples are treadmills and stair masters. The reason is because these machines are similar to the real thing like going for a run or climbing the stairs. This is your next step once you’ve mastered the first two.

2. Pick the right cardio, speed and intensity. You should perform cardio on these machines using Steady State (SS) cardio. This means picking a speed and intensity that you can maintain for an extended period of time, usually 30 minutes or more. It’s about stability and consistency.

3. Choose a low-impact/easier form of HIIT or Tabata. Once you’ve progressed through the easier, steady state forms of cardio, you can move to lighter forms of HIIT and Tabata.One of the plus sides of doing Tabata is that you can choose almost any exercise and make it fit into your fitness routine.To start off, you can go for cycling or “sprints”. These two are good because the movement is fixed, meaning you won’t risk injury with these exercises if you struggle to stay in proper form for 20 seconds. And if you’re still worried about your joints, you’re still safe because these exercises are less stressful for your joints. You can also pick easier types of HIIT cardio to ease your way into the more advanced forms.

Now you’re ready for HIIT and Tabata. Just make sure you follow all the tips enumerated. To be safe we also recommend that you check with your doctor before you start any exercise program.

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