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By Jason Greenspan
Unfortunately, in the world of health and fitness there is a lot of false information being conveyed to the masses. Gimmicks, quick fixes and sometimes just plain old bad or misinformation is being advertised.
Typically this is done to sell a product or program that promises an unrealistic result. Usually it’s something like “get fit in five minutes” or “lose fat by using a particular machine or performing a certain exercise.”
Most of the time it’s not a quick fix or a gimmick, but just inaccurate information that can set you up for burnout or injury.
When you get in to the fifth decade and beyond in life, knowing what to do in the gym can be even more confusing. You certainly don’t want to exercise like you did when you were in your twenties or thirties. Your fitness program should reflect your current goals, fitness level and health history.
Below are some tips based upon my 30 years of experience designing fitness programs for men and women over the age of 50.
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1. Don’t use the machines unless you have a condition that doesn’t allow you to stand or if you’re a beginner that doesn’t have someone to help you.
2. Walking or doing Yoga is NOT a well-balanced fitness program and not the ONLY thing you should be doing. Walking and Yoga or two important aspects of fitness with many benefits but should be used as a complement to a well-rounded fitness program.
3. Make sure to include balance, core and strength training in to your program, in addition to power, agility, mobility, cardio and flexibility work. There should also be some sort of preventative exercise component to help build stability and protect from injury. This could be rotator cuff work or any exercise that helps with your specific weakness. Although this might sound like you need a lot of time to work on all these important components, you can actually get this done in 30 minutes.
4. Perform cardiovascular exercise three times per week, but not longer than 30 minutes. Keep exercise short to prevent injury and burnout. Progress to some form of interval training to simulate real life.
5. Your strength exercises should be functional to your life. This means the most important movements or exercises should mimic your everyday movements.
6. Exercises that work a lot of muscle at once are the most efficient. These include squatting, lunging, stepping, pushing and pulling and some sort of rotational movement. In addition, perform more pulling exercises versus pushing to help with posture. Most of us over 50 have a bit of a rounded shoulder posture, so the pushing exercises without pulling can enhance the rounded shoulder position.
7. Don’t waste time with bodybuilding routines. You’re not a bodybuilder right? Think quality- not quantity. Keep workouts short and sweet! Your workouts should take you 45 minutes at best!
8. Stand up to do most of your exercises! We sit enough, so why would you go to the gym and sit even more!
9. Make sure you progressively challenge yourself. If there is no challenge the body will adapt and not make any further improvements.
10. If you were to pick ONE form of exercise make sure it’s strength training. Muscle has been often referred to as the most natural form of medication we have. Without muscle tissue we get weaker and fragile, which can set you up for falls, poor mobility and posture and a decrease of your overall functionality or quality of life!
11. Make sure to use a foam roller before or after your sessions. The roller will help to break up knots and help you move better.
12. Don’t do tons of crunches or sit –ups! Crunches and sit –ups were the thing up until the 1990’s until new research came out. Crunches and especially sit-ups have been shown to put stress on your low back and encourage poor posture. Perform different variations of planks or other stability exercise that work more muscle and help to protect your back- NOT hurt it
Our Fit For Life program can help YOU lose weight, improve your posture, balance, mobility, strength, endurance and of course- Look better too!
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