I'm writing on behalf of my mom, because I know she'd never work up the courage to write herself. :) I was wondering if you had any recommendations for an older (over 60) woman who wants to start working out? She has a few health issues - type 2 diabetes and hypertension - and that's part of the problem.

What happened was this...she joined a gym recently but during the evaluation her blood pressure was high and they told her to see her doc before starting a workout plan. So she did, and the doc said he wanted her to get her BP under control and he wouldn't sign the release form so she could activate her gym membership. Now she's discouraged because of this and, even though she has a stationary bike at home and bikes 20-25 mins a day, she feels like she's failed already. Do you have any suggestions that would work for someone who can only (for now) work out at home? Any good, low impact DVD's or the like? I want to help motivate her again but I really don't know where to start.



Thanks for writing and asking this question.  What your mother is going through is something that I see all the time: people not knowing where to begin and feeling so far away from where they need to go that they become overwhelmed and decide to simply not do anything at all.

The good news is there is always a place to start but because of your mother's health problems she should continue to be closely monitored by her doctor and not progress unless given clearance.

I would suggest she commit to a daily exercise program where she completes 30 minutes of moderate cardiovascular activity a day (indoor cycling, power walking or light aerobics) and complement that with alternating between an at home yoga or pilates DVD on one day and a basic at home strength training program on another day.  Take a look at this article and this one for some fun ideas that she can do at home.  Also, make sure she is following a healthy diet as we all know it is our nutrition that plays the biggest factor in losing weight and controlling our blood pressure and cholesterol.

Once she has seen an improvement in her health and her doctor signs the form she can go to the gym and continue to progress.

Keep helping her stay positive and encourage her to keep going, making sure you support her through this, constantly congratulating her and telling her how proud you are of her for what she is accomplishing.  Fitness looks different on everyone and your mother's journey to being able to join a gym is no different from another’s journey to completing a marathon.  It is all relative.

Attached - Goldie Hawn and Kurt Russell go for a walk.