Proper Exercise for
and Its Possible Effects on Aging
I don't recommend running or jogging for Baby Boomers because it is tough on the knees and lower back but recommend brisk walking for one half hour at least three times a week.
Myths, they’re everywhere.
On TV, radio, newspapers and believe it or not, they’re even at the place that you work out. Make no mythstake…sorry, I couldn’t resist.
Seriously, I’m sure you’ve watched an infomercial and turned to your wife, husband or friend and said, “Do you think that really works?”
Believe me it doesn’t.
Most of the myths such as:
Lying leg lifts really build strong abs.
Overhead shoulder presses are safe.
Bench press for strong pectorals.
Walking lunges tighten the glutes.
I’m sure that you’ve heard at least one of these myths:
The most overlooked and arguably the most important word in fitness is ‘balance’. Why? Because this one word says it all—balance! We spend our entire lives trying to keep things in balance, our check book, our diet or time with family. We even make time for hobbies, all to ‘balance’ our time with our work. Well, fitness is the same way.
We need to ‘balance’ our work outs. The kind of ‘balance’ I’m referring to is muscle balance. It is very important to make sure that any one muscle group does not overpower its opposing group.
People have a tendency to work harder on what they can easily see and neglect what they can’t. I call this ‘gym rat training’ because every gym has a core group of people that practically live there, constantly doing bench presses, bicep curls and leg extensions.
You know who I’m talking about. This type of training easily affects everyone in the gym because, mistakenly, the casual exerciser believes that these big, muscular guys and gals actually know what they’re doing. Why not? They look great.
Next time you’re at the gym take a real close look at these guys and gals. Don’t stare. (I don’t want anyone to get punched in the nose. A simple glance will do.) What do you see? Horribly rounded shoulders? Terrible posture? That they’re constantly, rotating or rubbing their joints after a lift? My guess is that you will answer yes to all of the above.
To get the most out of exercise, one must always keep in mind that everyday life is exercise too. What your occupation, hobby or physical activity may be does make a difference. If your job sits you in front of a computer all day, you may find that push exercises will come easier than pull.
If you cycle, you have probably overdeveloped your quadriceps. If you kayak or crew you would have overdeveloped back muscles. Do you see where this is going?
We live in a push world. What that means is, on a daily basis we will probably use our pectorals (chest muscles) and anterior deltoids (front shoulder muscles) more than our rhomboids (middle back muscles that assist in pulling movements). That brings us to ‘balance’ again or in this case ‘imbalance’.
Most of you have been in a health club. What do most clubs feature? Their ‘high tech’ exercise machines. Don’t get me wrong, I think these machines can be very useful in making you stronger, but some problems do exist.
Let’s take a look at these machines. There are usually one or more machines for every muscle group (most clubs have two each of the machines that work the facilitated muscles we discussed above—two pectorals, quadriceps and bicep machines). Why? Because, they are usually the most popular machines in the club and people will complain when they can’t get on them.
Remember what I said earlier?
People work most what people can see. If you continue to work already facilitated muscles, they will only get stronger at the expense of the much weaker opposing muscle.
If an excessive muscle imbalance exists working on the entire circuit of these machines will only make it worse. If you believe that this is the case, and that an imbalance already exists, I recommend making an appointment with a fitness specialist (be sure to ask for education, certification and years of experience) or a licensed physical therapist.
Here are a few things to look for: rounded shoulders, toes pointing toward two and ten o’clock when you walk, not being able to lock your knees without great difficulty or discomfort and constant lower back pain.
When you do exercise, use, body weight, bands or tubing. Don’t be afraid to experiment. Remember; always err on the side of safety. Start with very light weights progressing slowly until you reach the prescribed rep range.
As far as cardiovascular exercise, let’s face it, if you’re old enough to be surfing this website, I really don’t recommend taking up running. Running or jogging is tough on the knees and lower back. I most certainly do recommend brisk walking for one half hour at least three times a week. (It’s most effective if you walk after your resistance work out, but walking on separate days is fine too).
If you are already in a running program, in no way is this article suggesting that you stop from doing something you enjoy. I’m just advocating that over-fifty isn’t the best time to start.
Bottom Line: Fitness can be achieved at any age, remember, be careful and keep safe.
Robert Bresloff is a Certified Personal Trainer, Fitness Therapist, Adaptive Fitness Specialist, a Specialist in Fitness for Older Adults and Endurance Trainer with The International Sports Sciences Association. He owned and operated, Total Fitness Concepts Inc for 10 years. He has written for Masters Athlete Magazine, The Waukegan News Sun and trade e magazines and recently released his first fitness book,
'The Baby Boomer's Guide to Fitness"
The Baby Boomer's Guide to Fitness