Do it for yourself

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If there was one thing you could do to significantly improve your chances of staying mentally sharp, physically healthy and independent throughout your golden years, wouldn’t you do it? Regular exercise can allow seniors to live independently, reduce their risk of falling and breaking bones. Plus, people older than 60 who exercise on a weekly basis feel 12.3 years younger than their real age.

If you’ve never really exercised before, or want to increase your current exercise level, you may have thought about joining a gym. Maybe even walked into one—and walked right back out when you saw all the young, fit people.

Some call it “gym-timidation.” It’s that feeling that others in the gym will judge you for being less than perfect, and it can keep people of all ages from getting the exercise they need. But don’t worry, you can overcome it with these smart steps:

Start slowly
Whether you’re new to exercise in general or just new to a gym environment, everyone has limitations. Be safe and smart by going slowly, and establishing a foundation that encompasses cardiovascular conditioning, strength training and flexibility.

Ask for help
Your gym’s trainers and staff are there to help ensure you know how to use the equipment safely and effectively. Don’t be discouraged by discomfort People of all ages experience stiff joints and muscle soreness when they begin to exercise. These are signs your body is aware of the stress you’re putting it through and is responding and adapting. It’s part of the process of getting more fit, so don’t give up just because you’re feeling the effects of more exercise.

Find a workout buddy

Working out side-by-side with someone can help you measure the intensity of your workout and keep you accountable.

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