Old age certainly doesn’t mean that you have to accept the inevitable physical decline and forget about working out forever.
Even if you haven’t been working out your entire life, there is research that states that any time is a good time, the right time, and that you can build yourself up to being stronger and healthier well into your older years.
Although previous research has indicated that upper and lower body muscle mass decreases as people age, this is not the same as if those adults would have been undergoing a regime where they were training regularly. This is due to studies that have been conducted on the impact of resistance training in older adults, which show that it increases power, reduces the difficulty of performing daily tasks, enhances energy expenditure and body composition, and promotes participation in spontaneous physical activity.
If anything, older adults should be training more to increase their strength because their strength does decrease. It makes performing regular tasks much more difficult if you are weaker and can lead older adults to have a higher likelihood of picking up injuries that can range from the most minor to ones that require operations such as hip replacements due to a fall.
Research has shown, in relation to older adults who were already physically active and were continuing to be so, that lifelong high-intensity physical activity could potentially mitigate the loss of motor units associated with aging well into the seventh decade of life.
But how should you work out?
It goes without saying that people who are older should train differently to people who are younger because doing some movements are not recommended for older adults. Older people will also not be looking to build a lot of new muscle, necessarily, but rather tone and strengthen the muscles that they already have.
Due to the fact that you may not have been working out before, it is always advisable to consult a medical professional before starting out. But once you’re in the clear, there are other precautions that don’t only apply to older people but everyone in general.
You will also need to keep in mind that it might be difficult for you to train as regularly as other people, but it’s no worry. Your body will take a longer time to recover and recovery is essential for building strength and allowing muscles to heal properly, so proper recovery is beneficial to your all-round health and fitness.
- Take it easy
- Practice proper warming up and warming down
- Align your nutrition with your training
- Use fitness apps to monitor your progress
- Find the best exercises for your body
Exercises to do:
- Cardio – swimming, jogging, cycling, walking
- Bodyweight training (no weights) – squats, lunges, planks, yoga
- Low-intensity strength training with weights than are not too heavy, can be assisted with a machine
- Eccentric loading to prevent injuries
Exercises to avoid:
- High-intensity interval training
- Running, spinning
- Pilates, plyometrics
- Heavy weight training – squats, deadlifts, bench press
The major point to take away from this is that it is possible, but it has to be progression and you should take it as easy as possible, while listening to your body as you get stronger. Stay hydrated, train on days that you can, and on the others: enjoy the sauna!
You're never too old to get to know your body better. Get Body Fit our easy to follow plan for those trying to improve their fitness.
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