How to achieve ‘functional fitness’ in middle age without injuring yourself
Take it slow
Even if a gym does its due diligence and asks you about your goals and your medical history, it’s ultimately your responsibility to communicate what your injuries and limitations are.
“Are there any exercises you feel might hurt you? A good trainer will know how to ask the follow-up questions,” Thompson said. A reputable fitness trainer will know how to design a workout for you, give you modifications or request that you see a doctor before you take part in their course, he says. So how do you know if you’re overdoing it while exercising? “Normal is a burning in the muscle, shakiness and fatigue. What’s not normal during an exercise is joint pain,” said Sabrina Jo, director of science and research content for the American Council on Exercise. “Anything that tends to signal pain directly in the joint or around the joint, that’s when you want to back off.” If you haven’t exercised formally in several years, start off slowly, Thompson said. Don’t jump into a high-energy program where you may pull a muscle — or worse — in the first 20 minutes.