Fitness is a part of health and wellness that is always important, regardless of age. Maintaining a workout routine is key for both the prevention of injury and disfunction, and also for the promotion of holistic health. But how do fitness needs change as we age? Should we maintain the same routine with, say less repetitions and weight, or should we readjust to incorporate more functional exercises? Here we will discuss the answers to both of these questions, and give you some direction about where to go from here.
At Any Age, Time Spent Moving is Important
Expert recommendations for exercise call for at least two and a half hours of moderate activity each week, and some strength training should be added as well. Combining cardio and strength training is a must. Achieving the balance between the two is something many people tend to struggle with. Either we do too much cardio and not enough strength training, or vice versa. But the aforementioned recommendations are in place for a reason – they optimize heart health and functional health. So try to follow suit. Your present and future bodies will thank you.
Variety is the spice of life and, as it turns out, exercise is too. Mixing up your routine can help you prevent overuse injury and strain, and also contribute to better range of motion and overall strength. But an element of this not discussed as often is the importance of listening to your intuition – to what your body needs and wants. If running is painful on your joints, try a lower impact exercise like swimming. If you have low back pain every time you use the squat rack, try doing wall sits instead. Understanding and responding to your body’s needs is key to health.
As Needs Change, So Should Exercises
As we age, we generally become less flexible and tend to lose muscle mass overtime. Creating routines to promote stretching and build strength are important for healthy functioning and ability. Calling on the help of a professional here can be a great asset. Again, being intuitive and listening to your body’s needs is also important. If you find yourself struggling to bend at the waist, start doing relevant stretches to increase flexibility. If going up stairs is more difficult, work to build muscle in the legs. The body is a great communicator, and when we respond accordingly, we experience maximum results.
*Disclaimer: Always consult your physician or other health care professional before seeking treatment or taking related advice herein.*
Story Credit: Navratilova and others discuss staying fit and healthy at age 20 vs. age 60 By Gabriella Boston
Photo Credit: Fitness room by Memphis CVB. Used under a Creative Commons license.
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