Exercise has great importance as you age. As you get older, the importance of exercise only increases. If you continually stimulate the body’s various systems it means that you are never letting it get inactive. Some people believe that with each passing year, they should try to do less and take it easy.
This could not be more wrong, in-fact inactivity is the Achilles heel of ageing.
Did you know that losses in muscular strength occur at an approximate rate of 12%-14% per decade after the age of 50? If you are getting weaker with age, you are leaving yourself vulnerable to illness, falls, the ability to recover with speed and much more.
Simply having a great exercise routine in place can help nullify the above and more.
So how can you make the most out of your exercise when you age?
Lift heavy and stick with it
If you can get your body lifting heavier weights, then you are setting yourself up in wonderful ways for the future. The ageing process compromises muscle cells’ ability to repair damage done to them, meaning human bodies lose muscle cells as they age. Seniors who work at it, however, can still make strength gains.
Why is the improvement of muscle mass important?
The building of muscle mass help improves metabolism and bone density amongst other things.
Not only this, but your ability to lift heavier weights also improves your chances of recovering from potentially dangerous scenarios such as:
- Frail bones
- Lack of coordination which can lead to tripping
It is also not enough to only lift occasionally. If you are only exercising sporadically then your body will never adapt as it needs to. The key to success with just about anything in life comes down to your ability to ensure that you stick with it and create a routine. As you age, lifting weights should always be a priority.
Train everything at once, frequently
It is time to ditch the split programs and single muscle group exercises. The importance of exercise as you age must ensure that you are getting a full body workout every time that you are in the gym.
Our body is a complex group of systems, and for it to function effectively, it needs to have these systems working in unison. If you are only focusing on a specific muscle group each time you exercise, then you are wasting an opportunity to work on the entire system.
Ensuring that you are performing compound movements (squats over leg extensions) means that you are utilising multiple muscles AND joints at the same time. This is much more likely to assist with your body in every day life.
Hint: Instead of doing 4 x weights workouts a week focusing on separate muscle groups, you would be far better off doing 3 x full body workouts and then a walk/stretch/mobility session for the 4th. This would allow your whole body to get targeted with great frequency and also have the benefit of a fourth session that focuses on something different again.
Mobility and mixing it up are key
It is not good enough to be strong, it is also important to make sure that you are mobile. The importance of exercise as you age relies heavily on being mobile.
What is mobility?
Mobility is the ability to move a limb through its full range of motion. It is often something that is taken for granted and hard to get back once it is gone. It is something that can deteriorate greatly as you age, but is vitally important.
I.e. It is no good having the strength to get up off the floor after a fall if you cannot get your body in the position to do so.
If you are strong and mobile, you are far more likely to be able to live a free and independent life will into old age. Helping maintain healthy muscles, bones and joints means that your body is less likely to suffer from joint swelling and pain associated with arthritis.
Your exercise should always include movements that are going to aid, not hinder your ability to be mobile.
It should also be noted that you should be looking to mix up your exercise with relative frequency. Regardless of age, it should always be the aim to avoid plateaus. Once the body gets used to doing a particular movement, it stops adapting to the change required to perform it.
If you are changing the exercises frequently, you are continually growing and developing to be able to perform them. This will then translate in to everyday life as you are able to navigate different scenarios as they arrive.
Posture and core for the win
Sitting and standing with proper alignment improves blood flow, helps keep your nerves and blood vessels healthy. It also supports your muscles, ligaments and tendons. People who make a habit of using correct posture are less likely to experience back pain and will have fewer headaches.
When your bones and joints are in correct alignment, it allows the muscles to be used as they are intended. This means you will have less fatigue and more energy. In other words, the muscles do not have to work so hard to do what they are supposed to do.
If you are focusing on good posture and double that up with a strong core, then you are putting yourself in a great position moving forward.
Having a strong core will help you greatly in a number of different areas. One of the main functions of our core is to help with balance and stability. Without a strong core, we rely on other muscles of the body. Doing this contributes to injuries and a reduction in functionality.
Hint: If you are doing 3x full body workouts a week, it is always a good idea to have a 4th workout. This one should be focused around core, posture and mobility. All things that are incredibly important in the aging population.
If you are focused on movement in your younger years, it means that you understand the importance of exercise as you age. If you are following the above few points in your younger and older years, then you are going to ensure that you will live a full and productive life.
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