At home - three exercises, three sets, three times a week
As we age a loss of strength can lead to a loss of confidence in taking on resistance training. We imagine a power-lifter and the pain of training, and we revert to an all-aerobic exercise pattern. That helps our heart but not our posture and our increasing frailty.
Here's good news. Slow low-intensity resistance training will rebuild your muscle mass and help you stand taller and less likely to fall.
You can do it at home, and there is plenty of evidence of the "effect of very low-intensity resistance training with slow movement on muscle size and strength in healthy older adults".
By taking up a program, in your home, of regular slow low-load exercises, you will rebuild your muscle mass and enjoy an active life for longer.
This program will significantly slow, if not reverse, the 1% per year loss of muscle mass that is typical for adults aged 60 years and older. Just like slow cooking develops the flavour, slow training will develop your muscles (and your muscular coordination, tendons, and joints).
Do These To Walk Stronger And Live Longer
As we age, falling is one of the major causes of reduced lifespan, because of the terrible consequences of broken bones and broken spirits.
You may have had the distressing experience of witnessing a healthy older relative who fell, became inactive, and quickly deteriorated. That is why exercising - for all of strength, endurance and balance - is a key to living longer better.
The question is this: if you wish to focus specifically on more competent walking, which exercises and muscle groups should you give most attention?
I have an answer, based upon several related research studies.
Proven to be better than yoga for a sore lower back
My hamstrings have been tightening since we've had lockdown and gyms closed. I've been running more, a lot more. Running pits the quads and hamstrings in battle, and the quads win, which tightens the hamstrings by stretching them.
Typically, for runners, tight hamstrings reflect in a sore lower back. The combination of two recent research studies will help.
There's a fitness benefit, also why you might best skip it
Running with a mask taught me four things that you need to know before you try, two reasons why you might be best not to try, and one fitness benefit.
I've been trail running 5km almost every day for over 6 months, so I have a good baseline. Yesterday I ran with a mask. It's not fun. If you have to run with a mask here's what to know.
How to fix waking up with a headache and dizziness
Physiotherapists are reporting more people seeking treatment for symptoms related to forward-head posture. These symptoms include headaches and dizziness. Up to now, research into neck mobility and dizziness has been inconclusive. Just published research changes this.
What to do when you have lost the motivation
We all have distractions. Some, like the pandemic, are a massive one for all us and can be demotivating. Others can demand our attention, and some simply provide excuses to slip into old habits or to procrastinate.
A friend had recently started on an exercise program I designed for him. But after 3 weeks he surprised me by saying that he had lost the motivation to do his morning exercises. I wasn't immediately sure how to help, but we worked it out together to get him started again.
Have fun retraining your brain to fix your sore knees
Walking better will give you a better posture, a visceral pleasure in propelling your body forward and may help you live longer. And you won't even have to look like a serious walker.
Even better, it will rebalance your body and ease some of your pains, especially if you have been using treadmills too much.
Felt that slight drift when you walk? Don’t let it get worse
As we age there are two creeping disabilities that have catastrophic consequences, yet can often be dramatically slowed with a little effort. The first one is the loss of balance, and the second is loss of the strength to get up off the floor.
And, of course, the two are related. If you fall from poor balance and cannot get up off the floor, then you could be in dire trouble.
If you suffer from no complicating factors, then here are two simple at-home exercises you can do to improve your balance, and your skeletal muscle strength.
I Discovered Bulgarian Squats #AtHome For Balance And Strength
When you're over 50 you need to pay attention to exercises which improve your (deteriorating) balance. It's time to forget the split training days and to concentrate on the split squats - in particular the Bulgarian Split Squat.
Some say that the Bulgarian Split Squat (BSS) is the King of single-leg exercises. That's a beautiful thing. All the more so during these #StayAtHome times because it's an exercise that you can easily do at home.
Be kind to yourself
What we eat affects how we feel, but, unfortunately, how we feel affects what we eat! If we feel stressed, we make poorer food choices, which sets up a circle of feeling bad.
Right now, the number one rule is to be kind to yourself. If you're making poor food choices, then that's a natural outcome of the circumstances. It's not going to kill you. Rest assured you're not alone.
If you'd like to try to break the pattern, I have some suggestions for you.
Since I was diagnosed at 50 with Type 2 diabetes I've been learning how to do bone-building fitness training which lowers my age. You can too. It's your choice. Walter