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Age Shouldn’t be Your Restriction When It Comes To Exercising

Age Shouldn’t be Your Restriction When It Comes To Exercising

What do athletes train for? Athletes train for the event that they are competing in. The field however stretches far from the courts and crowds.

You don’t need to complete a podium finish to be an athlete

There are 1/4th of Americans aged 65+ that fall down each year.  Every 11 seconds, another adult is treated in the emergency room for a fall; every 19 minutes, an older adult dies from a fall.  Falls are the leading cause of fatal injury and the most common cause of nonfatal trauma-related hospital admissions among older adults.  Chronic diseases account for 75% of the money our nation spends on health care, yet only 1% of health dollars are spent on public efforts to improve overall health[1].

Forget the assumption that at fill-in-the-blank-age our bodies will fall apart and we will become weak.  Empower yourself to maintain or improve your health through exercise.

You may not be donning some state-of-the-art gear, have sponsors or compete for a podium finish.  Your sport is life and this event has no off seasons.  In life, we literally move to do what we need to do.  Especially to keep our independence as we get older it is key to be able to move well for our quality of life.

The events include the squat, deadlift, pulling objects, pushing things, rotating and lunging. Then think about what you like to do – play with the kids or grandkids, golf, vacation, gardening, triathlons, and the list goes on!  In this metaphor is a nugget of truth- “training for life does not stop at a prescribed age.” What happens if we decide to throw in the towel and stop training for life?

You should not stop exercising regardless of your age.  Disregard assumptions about physical potential as you age because you decide what your potential is.  The point is to hone in on the important fact that exercise is much more than “getting in shape”.  Your type of exercise may change as you age, but don’t stop training for life.

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Things could be so different when you choose to empower yourself

Imagine you are planning a trip to visit New Zealand after an old friend from college shares her sons story of the amazing landscapes there.  You not only enlist your partner in crime, but also the invitation is extended to your kids and grandkids.  They all accept the challenge.  Plans are made, everyone is excited.  This will be a splurge but a worthwhile one.  You all arrive in New Zealand.  The next day everyone is up early and ready to log some miles.

Scenario A

You want to participate in the story telling during the walk but you are too focused on trying to navigate uneven terrain.  In the back of your head you knew that your balance was not what it used to be but just decided to push through it.  It is also quickly apparent that it is difficult for you to mount any areas where you have to step up.  Only an hour in the hike and the group is slowing to your pace and you hear a family member say “see I told you this was not a good idea, she is too old for this trip, especially with her arthritis”.

Scenario B.

You are not only able to navigate the terrain during the trip, but you are making it look easy.  Because you knew the trip was coming up you started to work with a fitness professional to improve your balance and strength among other things.  Your knee pain became more manageable because of your sessions and with the help of walking sticks you are able to relieve the pressure on your knees.  Pictures are taken, stories are told and memories are made.

What are you going to do when you get to that point that you are able to experience that joy of enjoying that trip.. vs the frustration of not being able to complete it?

What are you going to do with your life so you make sure you experience your wants and likes?

I am training with a 78 year young client right now for her vacation in Columbia.  Ruth wants to be able to enjoy her trip without being distracted by things like her balance and strength.  Since working with me she has made strides in her balance and agility.  Of great importance she has been aware of how our sessions have improved her everyday life.  She has also purchased and is using walking sticks during her walks to ease the pressure on her arthritic knee.  Otherwise known as Nordic walking, it has been shown in studies the cardiovascular benefits from it.

    Train for life so you stay in the green and keep your functional capacity and have a good quality of life where you can do what you want to do.  Inactivity will lead to a quick decline to a place where inability to do everyday activities is life changing.

    This is how you can get started

    The first step is to talk to your doctor to get cleared for exercise and also make sure that you are on top of any chronic conditions that you have.  Also, get your eyes checked.  Then explore all of the options for you.  Some love the big gym environment, others prefer small studios.  Some individuals prefer personal trainers, others prefer the community aspect of a group class.  Depending on the time of the year and where you live you may have some outdoor options.

    You may encounter individuals that disregard you because of your age, make assumptions or don’t know how to work with an older population.  Disregard them and move on to those that show you the respect of challenging you just enough and don’t treat you like you are fragile.

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    Do exercises that can benefit your daily activities 

    These exercises below should be part of your regime: squat, deadlift, pulling, pushing, lunging and rotating.  Remember, get cleared for exercise with your doctor and follow any instructions that they may have.  Also feel free reach out to professionals to give you some hands on instructions.

    Chair Squats

    A good way to improve your squats is to do chair squats. Sit on the edge of a chair without rollers. Have your feet firmly planted so you can stand up. Try crossing your arms across your chest so you don’t rock. Keep a good tall posture. When you do rise push off on your heels. Stand up tall. When you return to the chair don’t just fall down. Return to the chair slowly.

    Deadlift

    Even if you are not familiar with this name, you do this movement in everyday life. Think about how many times you pick something up off the floor. Many times you are executing a deadlift. There are many useful videos about proper form. Click here to read an article and see the videos. It may be useful to practice this without a weight and have a fitness professional watch your form if you can. This exercise is different than a squat.

    Pulling

    Resistance bands are great tools for everyone. There are resistance bands with handles already attached and of ranging weights just like dumbbells. You can execute rows if you attach them to a sturdy pole or enlist a partner to hold the other end.

    Pushing

    Being able to push is important when getting up off the floor, moving furniture or other objects. Wall pushups can be a great way to not only build your arm strength but it can be a good core workout. Start completely vertical and be able to place your palms against the wall at the same time. Try a few pushups against the wall. Focus on bringing your chest to the wall, not your head. Then increase the angle by taking a step back and trying it again. Now your feet are further back than your hands. Make sure you keep that standing plank & keep your body straight like a board. Soon you will find a comfortable but challening angle that you can start to practice your pushups.

    Lunging

    You want to be able to step in a direction and pick something up. When you do this you are performing a lunge. Strengthen your legs and improve your balance. Start off stepping at a comfortable length forward and pushing back with that front foot. Try stepping to the side and then pushing back. If you are working on improving your balance have a wall at your back for support. Soon step at different angles – just like we do in our everyday life. Think of your path of lunges like the hands of a clock and hit all of them. Holding a moderate weight in your hands can also be a good idea after you have mastered it and your balance is improved.

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    Rotating

    A good way to incorporate rotation in your training is adding a rotation to your lunge. Lunge to the side and then slowly turn in the direction that you lunged. Make sure that you keep tall and don’t lean over. A good way to keep your core engaged is to cross your arms and have your elbows up like a genie. Also if you have a medicine ball or dumbbell you can hold this after you have mastered it and your balance has improved.

    Some mental notes to help you maintain this habit

    Get friends and have fun

    If there is an activity that you enjoy like lawn bowling, dancing or tennis, join a team.  Often as we get older we don’t take time to play and move.  Mix in some activity that is outside the box of “working out”.  There are also many social and emotional benefits of being part of an active community.  Or if you prefer to do something around the house start gardening, that can be a great way to get outside and move!

    Create milestones to see the difference

    Is there something that you have always wanted to do? Train for that vacation, trip or experience you want to enjoy.  You will see how your improvement benefits your everyday life activities too.

    The saying rings true – move it or lose it.  If you don’t train for things like balance or strength chances are those abilities will erode.  You can maintain or regain it, don’t think that you can’t! Instead of dragging your feet to exercise to “get in shape” change your mindset to exercise so you can do what you want to do in life!

    Reference

    [1]National Council Of Aging: Fall Prevention Fact

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    Damien Joyner

    Fitness Professional for the diverse 40+ Population!

    How to Set a Fitness Goal That Will Last? If You Take Care Of Your Need, Age Wouldn’t Be A Problem To Your Fitness Routine Age Shouldn’t be Your Restriction When It Comes To Exercising

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    Last Updated on January 14, 2019

    7 Ways To Make Exercise Fun For Everyone

    7 Ways To Make Exercise Fun For Everyone

    From Atkins to Paleo to eating gluten-free despite not being one of the rare few people afflicted with celiac disease, fad diets are everywhere. It drives me crazy because I believe these diets do more harm than good. Your body is made up of a variety of vitamins, nutrients, and minerals, and losing weight healthily isn’t possible when you fill your body with unnecessary synthetic plastics, sugars, and powders. There’s no easy button in life.

    What you need to do is exercise, which isn’t very appealing to many people. Workouts take work, so there’s already a stigma involved in going to the gym. Starting a healthy workout regimen becomes easier when you make it fun. If you want to live long and prosper, get off the couch and try these methods to turn your workout into a playout.

    1. Take the scenic route.

    Walking is an easy way to transition to a healthy lifestyle, and it’s free. Not only do you burn calories (check out this calculator for how many calories you burn based on your weight), but you see the world in a different way. Hiking in nature is great if you have access to it, but don’t let living in an urban area deter you from walking.

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    Whenever I’m creatively stuck I get my head straight by walking a couple of miles. It’s also how I discover new paths, meet new people, and stumble upon hole-in-the-wall spots I never would have found otherwise. You could drive past the same place every day and never appreciate the beauty, nor even notice it’s there.

    2. Distract yourself.

    No matter what exercise routine you choose, use the time to meditate. You may wonder how marathon runners are able to put so many miles on their bodies. It’s because the pain from running that you avoid is something they’ve learned to harness to enter a transcendental state. If you’re aware of the benefits of meditation and exercise but don’t have time to do both, you can combine them, killing two birds with one healthy stone.

    3. Listen to music or podcasts.

    There are few experiences in life more pleasurable than turning up the music and drowning out the world around you. With so many podcasts and music apps available on your smartphone, you can easily find entertainment options perfectly suited to your personal tastes. Never worry what people may think of you when working out;instead, crank up the volume and get lost in your own world. You’ll be in shape before you know it.

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    4. Bring a friend.

    Some people can’t go anywhere alone. While I highly recommend dining out and seeing a movie in a theater alone, having company while exercising is very helpful. It allows you to pace yourself with someone else, and gives you a coach to motivate and push harder than you may have on your own.

    Many exercises are safer when done with a friend, and some sports can only be played with another person. Involving others in your goals can mean the difference between success and failure. Just remember to continue exercising if the other person flakes, or they’ll be in control of your health.

    5. Accessorize.

    There are accessories that can make exercise easier, and sometimes buying a new toy can add some much-needed fun to your routine. With apps like RunKeeper and Nike+, your smartphone is capable of tracking your vitals and progress. Wrist weights can add a new dimension to your workout, and, if you exercise at night, a headlamp can help you see what’s in front of you so you don’t trip.

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    For urban runners and power-walkers, one of the biggest obstacles is other people. It’s difficult to get in your meditative zone and enjoy your music when you constantly have to dodge people. To resolve this vexing issue, Runbell, a startup in Tokyo, has developed the runner’s version of the bicycle bell. With this lightweight brass bell warning people you’re approaching from behind, you’re free to maintain your transcendental state while continuing your workout. Head to their Kickstarter campaign to pledge your support.

    6. Compete.

    A little healthy competition can motivate you to push yourself further in your workout regimen. There are apps like Zombies, Run! which turns your run into a video game, and MyFitnessPal which allows you to connect with others in the exercise community. Whether you’re directly competing with a friend, an online community, or against your previous self, setting goals is the key to reaching them. Running with no destination can feel like an impossible task, and it’s easy to get distracted.

    7. Relax.

    The best part about exercising is how much you enjoy the downtime. If you think laying on your couch all day is enjoyable, it has nothing on that hour you spend as a couch potato after a rigorous workout. Jay-Z said it best, “in order to experience joy, you need pain.” The harder you push yourself while exercising, the better you’ll feel when you’re relaxing.

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    With that said, don’t relax too much, or it loses the effect. It’s okay to indulge every so often. Treat yourself to some junk food you’re craving, imbibe a drink here and there, and spend a day vegging out on your couch. Staying healthy doesn’t have to be torture. Just turn down when you can and dedicate some time to better the health of your body. You only get one.

    Featured photo credit: tpsdave via pixabay.com

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