We all know that exercise is a great way to take care of both our body and mind. However, it’s important to make sure you aren’t overdoing it—especially when you start a new exercise regimen.
As a senior, you may find that your body doesn’t respond to exercise the same way it did when you were younger. Getting back into shape looks different at every age, so try not to let yourself get too hung up on achieving the level of fitness you experienced decades ago. Instead, talk to your doctor about a sustainable form of exercise you can safely complete a few times a week.
Most importantly, make sure you’re listening to your body and being aware of your own limitations. It’s not uncommon for early motivation to lead to overexertion—especially if you haven’t exercised in a while.
Here are four signs to look out for that may indicate you’ve overexerted yourself and need to take a break.
1. Feeling Dizzy
Your fitness regimen should never be so strenuous that it leaves you feeling dizzy and lightheaded. This could be a symptom of pushing your body too hard or not properly fueling your body before a workout, leading to low blood pressure. If you begin to feel dizzy, find a place to sit down immediately and see if drinking water slowly makes you feel better.
2. Feeling Nauseated
Similarly, your workout shouldn’t make you feel nauseated or like you’re going to be sick to your stomach—symptoms that could also arise from pushing yourself too hard or needing to eat something. If you do feel sick, take a break immediately and see if breathing deeply and drinking water causes the nausea to pass.
3. Experiencing Pain
While your workout may not always feel comfortable—after all, some discomfort is to be expected—you shouldn’t feel any sharp tightness, pain, throbbing or burning from exercise. Stop what you’re doing immediately to avoid injury.
4. Feeling Excess Fatigue
Exercise can be exhausting when you’re doing it, but you should feel energized and invigorated once you’re finished. If you are instead experiencing fatigue that lasts all day, you may be pushing yourself too hard in your workouts.
All of the above signs of overexertion point to the importance of having a workout buddy or trainer with you when you exercise to keep you safe. A professional can also help you prevent overexertion by creating a program that allows your activity level to progress naturally and utilizes important techniques like stretching and cooling down.
Above all, talk to your doctor about safe exercises and remember to listen to your body. If something doesn’t feel right, chances are it probably isn’t right.
When it comes to health and wellness for seniors, different rules apply than for young adults. To learn how to live your best life well into your retirement, check out our free resource, The Vitality Guide: Health, Nutrition and Exercise for Seniors.