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Maximizing your Workouts as You Age


Being physically active is essential. As we age, our stamina, coordination, muscle mass, bone health, and balance will naturally decline. This is entirely normal and expected. Maintaining our physical activity is essential for our physical and mental well-being. Maintaining a consistent exercise program has many benefits, including:

  • Improved mental health

  • Improved endurance

  • Improved independence

  • Improved bone health

  • Disease management

  • Improved cardiovascular health

This article will discuss the best ways to maximize your workout, improve your recovery time, and improve your overall health and wellness safely and effectively.


Increase your Warm-Up Time:

Joint pain is inevitable the older we get. The best way to conquer your stiff joints is through movement. The better your warm-up, the better your range of motion without pain and discomfort. Another benefit to an extended warm-up is allowing your body temperature and heart rate to rise naturally. If you jump into a workout without your warm-up, it can increase your blood pressure and heart rate too quickly. An extended warm-up is a great way to prevent injury to your joints, muscles, and heart.


Functional Strength Training:

Functional strength training focuses on specific exercises to directly enhance the performance of movements in a person's day-to-day life. These exercises include but are not limited to multi-planar movements. Functional strengthening exercises include coordination, strength, speed, and range of motion. A bodyweight squat with a dumbbell curl is an example of functional strength training. A squat can improve the functional motion of getting out of a chair, and having the dumbbells can improve the strength for picking up or carrying objects. Another function strength exercise is a lunge. Lunges will improve your ability to safely transfer from the floor to a standing position. The great news about functional strength training is it requires minimal equipment and space. You can easily do an entire routine in the comfort of your own home.


Balance Training:

A fall can be debilitating to almost anyone. Throw in an Osteoporosis or Osteopenia diagnosis; a fall can easily break a bone and require a significant recovery time. A fall alone can create a fear of falling, preventing a person from living their fullest life. Studies show that just the fear of falling will significantly increase your fall risk. If you are not actively working to improve your balance, you are rapidly losing it. Balance requires our bodies to integrate and interpret signals from our eyesight, hearing, muscles, and joints (proprioceptors). As our hearing and eyesight decline, our balance will follow. The good news is that, just like our strength, we can build better balance through the consistency of appropriate exercise routines. There are many ways to challenge and improve our balance through exercise. Balance exercises can include single-leg standing, dynamic balance activities, and agility training. A good balance exercise program will give you the strength and confidence to be safe in your day-to-day activities.


Posture

Each year, gravity sets in, and we develop wear and tear on our spine and joints. Lack of core strength decreases stability in our spine, causing postural abnormalities and back pain. We live in a world of computers, tablets, and cell phones which encourage forward shoulders and chronic neck pain. Add gravity to the mix, and you end up with postural abnormalities, decreased joint range of motion, and chronic pain. Exercising the posterior chain of muscles will improve your posture while improving your low back and neck pain. These exercises include rows, glute bridges, and neutral spine core strengthening. Neutral spine core strengthening is the most beneficial to protect your spine. Big rotational motions or crunching can put your spine at risk for injury. You can complete neutral spine exercises standing or lying down. Some great exercises include:

  • Bird dogs: You are on all four of the ground. You lift your right arm and your left leg simultaneously. Keep your core tight and minimal moving in your back with each lift. Repeat on the other side.


  • Planking: Planking is a classic core stabilization exercise. When done correctly, it can be one of the most challenging but beneficial exercises. You can modify this exercise by placing your hands on a higher surface like a table, countertop, or chair. Keep your neck neutral, shoulders over the wrist, spine straight, tailbone tucked, and core engaged.



Embrace your Recovery Time:

Working out can stimulate inflammation needed to break down and build stronger muscles. Unfortunately, as we age, our body does not recover as quickly as we did when we were younger. If we are in the chronic stage of breaking muscle down and do not allow our body time to recover, we will stimulate chronic muscle pain and inflammation. There are many ways we can incorporate recovery time into our workouts.

Active recovery is a way to bring increased blood flow to the muscles for healing. You can do this through gentle movement, stretching, foam rolling, yoga, or tai chi.


  • Stay Hydrated: Hydration is the key to improving healing in your muscles. Adding in Electrolytes can reduce muscle cramping and muscle soreness.


  • Get Sleep: The best way to combat inflammation is sleep. Sleep is the time that our body heals. So get into a goodnight regime to improve your overall recovery.


The key to maximizing your workouts maintain is variety. Focusing on a blend of endurance training, strength, and mobility exercises. It is important to modify your workouts when needed. It is also essential to challenge yourself in a safe and productive way. A physical therapist is a great way to start. A physical therapist is a great place to start! They can help you develop an appropriate exercise program that meets your needs and goals. Wellness 360 offers a specialized team to develop an individualized program with one-on-one treatments. We offer multiple programs that offer modifications for most fitness levels. This includes physical therapy, wellness sessions, group fitness classes for disease management, and an online Wellness+ On-demand exercise program. For more information on Wellness 360, check us out at www.wellness360fitness.com



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