PUBLISHED: 5:00 PM on Wednesday, May 4, 2005
Exercise program ideas for the golden years
For those who are older and want to get in shape, the American Academy of Family Physicians offers these tips for starting an exercise program:

• Wear comfortable, well-fitting clothing and sturdy shoes with good arch support, and an elevated and cushioned heel to absorb shock.

• Check with your doctor first, then start slowly with exercises you are most comfortable with. You'll be less likely to injure yourself and you will prevent soreness. Start with walking. As you become used to it, you can increase the intensity of your workout.

• Engage in some type of aerobic activity (walking, swimming or bicycling) for at least 30 minutes every day, and resistance or strength training two days per week.

• Warm up for five minutes before each exercise session by walking slowly or stretching. Cool down with more stretching for five minutes (longer in warm weather).

• Don't exercise if you feel under the weather, have a cold, the flu, or another illness. Wait until you feel better. If more than two weeks pass, be sure to start slowly again.

• If your muscles or joints are sore the day after exercising, you may have overexerted yourself. Next time, exercise at a lower intensity.

• If pain or discomfort persists; if you have chest pain or pressure; have trouble breathing or have excessive shortness of breath; are light-headed or dizzy; have difficulty with balance; or feel nauseous while exercising, talk to your doctor.