As we all know, exercise is beneficial to everyone. Whether you are you are young, middle aged or in your senior years, you cannot beat the benefits of being active on a regular basis.

No matter what your age, regular exercise enhances blood flow, improves cholesterol, and strengthens heart muscle. These benefits alone will give you a lower risk for high blood pressure, heart disease and stroke.

For some reason, people over the age of 50 are more hesitant to start an exercise regimen. When men in the over 50 age group were asked why they didn’t exercise, the majority said they think they would easily injure themselves because they would be moving their body in a ways it wouldn’t be used to. This can be true but not if you are going about your routine in the correct manner.

No matter what your size, age, or level of experience, there are three big components of an exercise regimen that are a MUST. It is even more crucial for older men. The three huge MUSTS are WARMING UP, COOLING DOWN and STRETCHING.

Simply doing a few warm up exercises can make a world of difference to how your body will react to your upcoming routine. It is important for everyone to warm up but very important if you are older and just starting out as a beginner. Warming up allows oxygen-rich blood to travel to your muscles more efficiently, while gradually increasing circulation and heart rate. You are in fact actually ‘warming’ your muscles causing greater absorption to impact and shock. Your heart will be gradually prepared for an increase in activity instead of the sudden rise it would get if you neglected to warm up. To keep it simple, warming up prior to exercising prepares your body for more to come. Preparation with anything is always a smart idea.

The second ‘must’ mentioned above is cooling down. It should take place right after your workout. Many people tend to neglect the cool down because they are too exhausted from the workout and just want to sit down and rest afterwards. It is very important to ‘cool down’ your used muscles by keeping the body active as you gradually let your body calm down. Some light cardio is all you need. You can simply walk around for 3-5 minutes to catch your breath and let your heart rate slowly return to a normal steady level. Abruptly stopping a workout by sitting down is what can lead to injury. You may start feeling pain in your worked muscles and find it more difficult to let your body relax because your heart rate isn’t ready to go back to normal.

And finally, the third ‘must’- Stretching. When you work out, muscles naturally contract. Stretching after your cool down helps those muscles to grow by preventing them from shrinking. Stretching activates fluids in your joints causing them to be more mobile and flexible which is something the older age group seems to complain about- stiff/tight joints. Short tight muscles and stiff joints are some reasons why older men get injuries so easily. Muscles and joints that are not flexed frequently enough can easily snap. All it takes is a few minutes of basic stretching after your cool down to prevent these common injuries. An older man can do more harm than good if he disregards the importance of stretching.

So now you don’t have any reason to say you shouldn’t exercise if you are over 50. You just have to be smart about it and never jump into anything too quickly especially if you are a beginner. Exercise is something we all need and it is the essential ingredient to keep our bodies healthy and active as we get older. Remember to always consult your doctor before starting any exercise regimen.