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posted: 3/25/2013 6:00 AM

Steps to take before working out

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Finding the right gym or beginning a training regimen can be confusing, if not intimidating, for older people who have not worked out regularly. A good idea is to start with an assessment and lesson from a personal trainer. Some gyms will offer the first one free.

A small but increasing number of trainers are middle-aged or older; if you think they'll understand your goals and limitations better, don't be shy about seeking one out.

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Here are some resources for older people interested in beginning an exercise program. As always, consult your physician before beginning any new workout regimen.

• Go4Life: This National Institute on Aging campaign is devoted to fitness for people over 50, go4life.nia.nih.gov.

• American Council on Exercise: This nonprofit organization certifies trainers and offers a list of trainers by location. It also offers exercises for older folks and answers to frequently asked questions about seniors and fitness, www.acefitness.org/acefit.

• AARP: General health and fitness information from the nation's largest advocacy group for people 50 and older, www.aarp.org.

-- Lenny Bernstein

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