You're Over 50: Are You Making These Exercise Mistakes?
Movement is medicine - but similar to over the counter medications, exercise needs to be done correctly in order to work effectively. This article is dedicated to all those who want to stay healthy as they age. If you want to delay loss of muscle mass, bone density and mobility over time, exercise in any form is crucial. However, proper exercise programs, specifically resistance training, have been proven to reduce or reverse the common effects of aging.
If you're active, you may be falling victim to some exercise habits that will do you more harm than good. Below we’ll outline 5 of the worst exercise habits and how to avoid them.
- You’re avoiding weights
Weights can be intimidating for many people - heading over to the weight room where big, burly men are pumping pounds of iron? Yikes! But you’re not alone, many people share the same feelings. Lifting weights is a very important part of any fitness program designed to slow or reverse the aging process. Our recommendation is that you start slow and simple! Lift weights that are challenging, but comfortable for a low number of repetitions.
- You’re skipping mobility work
Mobility is crucial to preventing injury and maintaining a functional range of motion, but it doesn’t have to be boring! Yoga, massage and foam rolling are all activities beyond stretching that can help with mobility. Moreover, both passive and active stretching should be incorporated between 30 - 60 minutes three times per week in addition to weight training to maximize benefits.
- You’re focusing too much on isolation movements
Let’s say you’ve already graduated to weight lifting - now we need to focus on using the right movements. Oftentimes, people are too focused on isolation exercises such as bicep curls, tricep extensions and leg extensions. Yes, these exercises are important when it comes to training, however you should be focusing on compound movements that prioritize multiple muscles and joints. A few great examples of these are variations of squats and deadlifts. These exercises are sure to result in improvement in bone, muscle and overall performance.
- You’re only walking on stable surfaces
Walking seems like a simple task, but it’s actually a great addition to weight and mobility training! Did you know that walking on uneven surfaces such as sand, trails and rocky terrain helps improve balance and ankle strength? If you’re used to only walking on paved surfaces, give this a try!
- You’re skipping exercise altogether!
Get up off that couch! Inactivity is the worst habit of them all. We like to say that doing anything is always better than doing nothing. If weight training feels too ambitious, try going for a short walk, get on that treadmill that’s taking up space in your basement or try that pilates class your neighbor raves about! Bottom line, get up and move - your body will thank you now and later.
Even if you are unable to follow these recommendations, you should still continue to exercise in one form or another. You should always consult a healthcare professional before beginning any exercise routine - and if you're still unsure if the aforementioned recommendations will benefit you, your friendly therapists at Altima Physio in Milton are here to help! We offer no-obligation phone call or in-person assessments to discuss whether these recommendations are right for you.