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It can be hard to find an effective workout program if you’re no longer “in the game.” But determining a good training regimen can help you stay in shape and support your overall health.

Whether you’re starting a strength and conditioning routine or any other fitness program, the top priority should be to avoid injury. Here are a few considerations to keep in mind before you start training again.

Training Tips For Former Athletes

The first thing to keep in mind when starting a program is to accept the fact that you’re no longer in the competitive arena. This sounds easy, but it can be extremely difficult for former athletes. You’ll want to set new fitness goals for yourself by considering your fitness level, medical history, and schedule.

So, what are your goals? Are you looking to lose weight? Are you interested in running a marathon? Maybe you just want to build or maintain muscle. Whatever it is you want to accomplish, it helps to have a clear idea of your goals in mind.

In the past your coaches probably urged you to push yourself to your limits, and then go a little farther. While this may be a great mindset for someone preparing for athletic competition, it’s not a good idea for someone starting a new fitness routine. Training more efficiently, rather than training harder, will help you meet your fitness goals and avoid injury.1

Once you’ve determined your fitness goals, share them with your doctor. They may have recommendations on how to reach your goals in the safest way possible.

Finding An Effective Athlete’s Workout Program To Lose Weight And Stay In Shape

woman weight lifting | LCR Health

There’s no reason why you can’t find a safe, effective fitness routine. Here are a few tips to keep in mind while exercising to help you do just that.

  • Think speed when weight lifting – If you’re HIITing the bench press or doing some other type of weight lifting, focus more on the speed of the bar rather than the amount of weight. You don’t want to put too much strain on your joints, but you want to increase your fitness level. Focusing on speed will help you avoid joint breakdown.
  • Don’t neglect hip strength – Plyometric exercises, or jumping exercises, do a great job of helping to strengthen the legs. But with age, it’s important to make sure to keep your hips strong. That helps ensure your entire lower body stays stable as the years go by.
  • Keep your tendons strong – You might already know how to bulk up your muscles, but don’t forget about your tendons when starting a conditioning routine. The right training regimen can keep your tendons strong and durable.2

Strength And Conditioning: What Is High-Intensity Interval Training?

You might have heard of an exercise routine known as high-intensity interval training, or HIIT for short. What is it, and could it be a good option for your training regimen?

man working out | LCR HealthIn a nutshell, HIIT is a type of training that alternates between maximum effort and recovery. HIIT training can boost cardiovascular health by helping to lower both blood pressure as well as cholesterol levels.

HIIT training can also help reduce body fat while increasing muscle mass, considerably improving fitness levels in the process. Depending on the type of HIIT training regimen you follow, you may put forth maximum effort anywhere from five seconds all the way to eight minutes. Recovery will typically last as long as the intense work period. You then alternate intense work with recovery.

There are many different types of HIIT training workouts. These can include swimming, cross training, cycling, or even walking. There are HIIT programs designed for all fitness levels. Talk to your doctor about whether or not HIIT is safe for you to try.3

Allow For Recovery Time During Your Fitness Training Routine

No matter what kind of training regimen you pursue, remember that recovery will be even more important at this stage of your life. You aren’t training for an athletic competition – but to maintain your fitness level. Proper recovery will be key to helping you avoid injury.

As you get older, your tissues need more time to rest. You might have gone a day before workouts previously. Now you might need a couple of days.

A good rule of thumb as to how long your recovery time should be is to listen to your body. If you’re still experiencing soreness, and this soreness is affecting your next workout, you may need to take longer between training sessions.4

If you aren’t sure how much time to allow for recovery, ask your physician or a physical trainer.

Beginning An Athlete’s Workout Program: Talk With Your Doctor About Your Athletic Ability

doctor examining patient | LCR HealthAs mentioned, you should always talk to your doctor before starting a new workout program.

Your physician will take your medical history into account and can provide exercise recommendations to best support your health. They may also suggest avoiding specific exercises or training programs altogether.

There may be some tests you’ll need to take to gauge your bone strength or to evaluate your joints. These could help direct you toward less impactful exercises that might help you avoid injury.5 In some cases, a doctor may want to check to make sure you’re not deficient in certain hormones, vitamins, and minerals.

Tips For Staying Safe

Whether you’ve kept yourself fit over the years or you haven’t worked out for a long time, you need to take steps to stay safe when starting a new workout routine. Start gradually if you haven’t been active for a while.

If you’re going to be lifting weights, try to keep from holding your breath. You should breathe out while lifting and then breathe in while resting. If you do the opposite, that could cause potentially dangerous changes to your blood pressure.

Also, never start any workout without warming up, and focus on bending at the hips rather than the waist when possible when lifting weights from the floor to help reduce strain on your back.6

If you take some precautions, find a routine designed for your fitness level, and keep your doctor in the loop, there’s no reason you won’t see fantastic results from your new training program.

Learn More:
Seniors Activity Ideas That Are Enjoyable For Anyone
How To Deal With A Knee Injury
5 Gentle Exercises To Soothe Your Lower Back