I don’t need to tell you how important exercise is, especially once you reach your 50’s. Weight loss, mood, healthy joints, keeping your heart and lungs healthy, the benefits are endless.
I’m here to tell you that exercising consistently can be the BEST thing for you in your 50’s, only if you do it properly!
Truthfully, exercise is now identified as a HIGH RISK factor for INJURY!
Meaning it is more common for people to become injured while exercising than it is to receive all of the positive benefits!
How is this? Even though exercise is supposed to be the holy grail in terms of health and wellness?
- We live more sedentary lifestyles, which causes our bodies to become stiff, and less "aware" of our bodies which can lead to "bad form" during exercise which is a recipe for injury
- The exercises you pick might be more than your body can handle, which can lead to a "breaking down" of your body faster than it can "build itself up" (many people may not understand the difference between "good soreness" or "injury pain" if you haven't exercised in a long time)
- Exercise is too repetitive (it's okay do do something you enjoy, such as biking or running, but choosing to only stick with 1 mode of exercising can cause "overuse" and "repetitive strain" injuries)
The last thing you need to happen is to finally get off the couch, into the gym, but to have all of that great energy and momentum be derailed by an injury that could have easily been avoided…
Please understand that not all exercise is created equal, and one of my goals to help guide you towards choosing exercises that are not only safe and wont create injury, but can also help you live an active, fulfilling life.
So, if you are in your 50’s, and are thinking about exercising again, please consider these 5 IMPORTANT STEPS BEFORE you start exercising to ensure your safety and wellness.
- 1. Start with low impact exercise such as yoga, pilates, or walking: You may have been a runner in high school/college, or maybe you used to hit the gym hard in your 20’s/30’s…But if you haven’t been exercising in a while, choosing low impact exercise to start is a great way to re-lengthen stiff muscles, and grease up your joints to not only maximize safety, but also get results!
- 2. Don’t just stick to one mode of exercise: This may include cycling, running, or boxing/punching. It is definitely OKAY to do these types of exercise, but it is important to vary your movements so that your body and muscles do not become too used to a specific movement pattern. Bodies that can adapt to different movements are much more resilient to injury and less prone to getting stiff and sore
- 3. Focus on recovery: Allow your body to recover, not just between work out days, but within workouts. Limit the amount of soreness and fatigue you push yourself through, as it’s best to “leave a little in the tank”. This will allow you to exercise more often, and not have to deal with too much post exercise soreness, which can delay your workouts, but also make you more susceptible to injury!
- 4. Eat correctly: Choose high powered foods, such as spinach, nuts and beans, and also consider turmeric to reduce inflammation and reduce soreness after workouts. It will also optimize your energy levels, help you recover faster, and get you back into better shape in no time!
- 5. DON”T PUSH THROUGH PAIN!!!: The words “no pain no gain” should no longer exist in your vocabulary. And don’t be intimidated when a trainer suggest you push through pain, or when you see gym partners visibly pushing through pain. Many times when there is pain with exercise, it is NOT because you are feeling a good “burn”, what you might actually be feeling is harmful inflammation, which can lead to such things as tendinitis, muscle tears, and arthritis. It is okay to work hard during your workout, but pain should be a red light to stop!
Consult with a movement expert: The best, safest, and most effective action to consider is to consult with someone who is trained at assessing your movements in a one-on-one setting, BEFORE you engage in some form of exercise. A movement specialist can give you clear guidance and knowledge about what your body can and cannot do. We can also tell you exactly how to put you in the best position possible to succeed at whatever fitness goals you may have. The LAST thing you would want is to finally get going into your exercise plan, for it to be derailed by an injury that COULD have been EASILY avoided!
At Balance and Body Restoration, here in Dublin, CA we can provide YOU with a movement assessment for FREE! We can identify very quickly any risk factors you may have for injury with exercise with our head to toe movement screen. We can also guide you on what your best, safest exercises are to make sure you stay injury-free happy, and healthy. Our movement assessments are PERFECT for those who
- Are currently exercising with some sort of pain and want to get it checked out before it gets any worse
- WANT to get more active, butfeel stuck/fearful of because of some form of pain or injury getting worse
- Aren’t looking to do “anything crazy” like “run a marathon” or “lift weights”, but would like to live a life being able to do simple tasks such as walking, or playing with kids/grandkids without fear of pain or injury
If you want to learn more about what we can do for you, click THE BUTTON BELOW to ask about a FREE “Discovery Visit”. At this 30-minute “taster session” we can help you get to the bottom of what’s going on and also provide you with a free assessment of your movement.
From there, we can discuss ways to keep you active, or help you become more active, without having to rely on pills, “resting” or having to risk unnecessary surgery because of something that could have been avoided.
Also feel free to email me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org, and I’d be happy to help you through any exercise questions you may have, or if you want to start exercising again, but are unsure where to start because of pain or injury!
Kevin Mao DPT
Doctor of Physical Therapy
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