How to Progress
Once your physical activity program has been set, you need to learn how to progress the activities. Progression is the key to improving fitness. In general, increase the length or number of the activities before increasing the intensity. Follow the progression guidelines in each of the steps noted above for specific recommendations.
- Increase the number of times per week the activity is performed
- Increase the length or number of the activity/ exercise (time, sets, repetitions)
- Increase the level of the activity (noted by more resistance, or heart rate)
Track your progress by maintaining a physical activity log. Be sure and bring it back to your healthcare professional when you return for your follow-up.
How to Stay Motivated:
- Moderation is the key; start gradually with enjoyable activities and progress slowly
- Maintain activity logs to record achievements
- Try to do workouts about the same time of day
- Make activity part of your daily life
- Reward yourself for reaching your first goal
- Review your goals with your activity logs on a regular basis.
- Revise your goals as you progress your activities
- Exercise with a partner or in groups where possible
- Ask your family & friends to support your physical activity commitment
Create a Walking Itinerary
- Print a street map of your neighborhood (or any imaginary location) from Google Earth, or any map program
- Mark goal posts on it for each leg of the itinerary
- Walk, marking from post to post on your map toward an end-point of your journey.
- Alternate plan: If you are not in a safe neighborhood for walking, join a YMCA and use their treadmill. There you can challenge yourself with elevations as if you were hiking.
- Wear loose, comfortable clothing and shoes with good support
- Be sure and perform warm-up and cool-down activities such as stretching with every session.
- Start slowly and progress slowly as recommended by your healthcare providers.
- Monitor the intensity of your activity as recommended by your healthcare providers.
- Be sure and drink plenty of fluids, particularly if you sweat during your activity.
- Remember to maintain proper posture and form with each activity. Don't take shortcuts to finish the activity.
If/When you use a treadmill, focus on your exercise; do not allow the music or voice from your device to distract you, or the TV program on the little monitor, either. Don't zone out in a book. Be always conscious of what you are doing and ready to correct any wrong move you may make. Individuals have suffered serious accidents at any speed on the treadmill by losing their balance or reaching for something or weaving off the belt or walking out the back.
Overuse can cause inflammation of the joints in the hips, bursitis, or tendinitis, altering their gait unnaturally.
Don't obsess about maximizing the amount of weight or the number of repetitions when you should be concentrating on your form and appropriate weight loads. Protect your spine, joints, tendons, and chest.
Know your limitations and listen to your body . . . better still, seek guidance from a certified coach when in the gym.
Do Want to Get Serious Among Your Peers?
Visit Go4Life, a website designed for older adults by the National Institute on Aging at National Institutes of Health.