Staying fit can be one of the most effective anti-ageing techniques, but exercise is age specific.
Is your fitness routine age appropriate?
Do this: Start a strength training routine.
Here’s why: As you get older, you’re going to lose muscle mass, and it’s going to be harder to start. This isn’t a freebie, decade, you need to build a fitness foundation now. Start doing strength training about 2-3 times a week.
It’s a good idea to start doing resistance training, such as lunges and push-ups, for thirty minutes. Aim for a load that you’re comfortable with. The sweet spot is at 9 reps, but no more than 12. Remember, you’re the best investment you can make!
Do this: Add to your routine.
Here’s why: If you keep doing the same thing over and over, you’re going to run into problems down the road. For example, a swimmer who just swims will eventually suffer from a hunched posture due to a chronically tight neck, chest and back muscles. Not good.
Cross-training can prevent overuse of old injuries and imbalance. So, that swimmer could add running and cycling to mix things up. You’re free to determine how you want to shake up your routine, but know that flexibility and balance exercises are paramount. These can prevent falls and injuries as you get older.
Do this: Work on preserving lean muscle mass and losing belly fat.
Here’s why: This is the age when the kids are usually grown, so you stop lifting: right when you should be! This is the age when you start losing muscle mass. Another danger is stress fat. This insidious beast climbs in and around your organs, raising the risk of heart disease, diabetes and cancer.
Keep up a consistent and varied workout regimen to battle these dangers and keep yourself healthy.
Do this: Protection. Keep your heart and core safe.
Here’s why: This is when aches and pains begin to surface. Don’t be a tough guy and ‘walk it off’. Sore knees? Switch your running shoes for a pool. The American Heart Association recommends 30 minutes of aerobic exercise 5 times a week.
You’ll also have to fight your body’s urge to curve forward which causes chronic back pain. Yoga and pilates will help you strengthen your core and keep your back straight. Don’t go all out, allow time to recover- this is vital.
Do this: Prevention is the key.
Here’s why: The older you get, the more you’re on a slippery slope to frailty from which there is no escape. Lifting waits for 30 minutes 2-3 times a week while alternating between lower and upper body exercises can do wonders for your body.
Keeping your bones and muscles strong is important, but don’t do this alone. A qualified personal trainer is essential. They’ll help you find your limits and respect them. A certified fitness professional specializing in geriatric fitness is the best option here. Check the IDEA Fitness Connect is the best database of fitness professionals to find any qualified instructors near you.
Tireless at 70+
Do this: Preserve strength and flexibility.
Here’s why: Walking isn’t the only safe option for senior gym members. It’s important to work on strength, flexibility and balance. This an be done with stretching, resistance bands, leg and arm lifts. Aerobics done on a chair followed by stretching.
Use your stretch time to take stock of how you’re feeling. Feeling pain? Take it slow, there’s no pressure.
It doesn’t matter what your age is. You can start exercising today and reap the benefits. Don’t have time? Then you better make time to get sick, there’s no in between and there’s no third option. Your body is what helps you get from point A to point B. Take good care of this most wondrous possession and thrive.