This blog has been written by Mark Laybourn, Personal Trainer here at Unique Results.
Strength training as we age. Any good? Keeping a positive mind and staying active, good idea? Quality of life. Surely a priority for us all, correct?
Whether it’s enjoying an interest of any subject, or more special, quality family time (maybe with grandchildren, if you’re at that stage in life). Memories for all, so important in an ever changing, fast paced world.
Maybe its an upcoming holiday or an important family event that you’re really looking forward to. Staying healthy to be able to enjoy it to the full must be a priority.
As I sit here writing this article I’m drawing on a couple of personal experiences regarding the ageing process and the importance of strength exercises and general movement (or the effect of the lack of it). In my immediate family there are a couple of individuals of grandparental age. Admittedly a few years between them but nonetheless both are of the older generation.
We all experience many changes as the years pass. Even as I’m writing this I’ve just received a message from my wife, Jo. This gets me thinking even more about movement, and the correct appropriate exercises. As this post is published, I hope Jo’s issue is well and truly resolved. She has (hopefully had) a disc bulge in her lumbar spine and subsequently it’s causing a lot of discomfort. Spinal surgery has been a topic of conversation with our GP. Now those two words “Spinal Surgery” would put fear into anyone. It’s extremely invasive and the risk factors associated with it are very high. Success is not guaranteed. No, No, No. An absolute last resort when all other options have been exhausted.
So, following on from discussions with our resident experts in their own field, Dave Adkins and Tony Miller it’s agreed that with the correct movement and exercises by the time you read this, hopefully Jo’s back issue is resolving itself. Pilates exercises concentrating on mobility are proving very effective. No loading just bodyweight movements to help improve mobility and decrease symptoms.
So, back to the ageing generation. One of the examples I’m using is my dear old Dad. approaching 80 years of age and “Fit as a butchers dog!!” Been active all of his life in various ways. Long retired now but on the go every day. “Son, I’m doing 25 press-ups every day. Any good for me” Any good? I should say so. Done correctly, which, rest assured, they are. This will help improve overall muscle strength, which in turn will help bone density. As we age, if we are inactive we are susceptible to osteoporosis, a weakening of bone density and an increase in the likelihood of bone breakages due to lack of structural stability in the body. This, of course is just an example of a bit of strength work my Dad does regularly to remain strong. It doesn’t have to be intense but its regular for him. Amongst many other activities he takes part in to, not only keep the body active but also the mind and the long-term result is a healthy, active lifestyle. A lifestyle that has quality to it and with a healthy mind, long-lasting memories with family and friends.
He has benefited for many years now by leading this pro-active lifestyle and very rarely suffers any ailments that hold him back. The other example that I’m drawing experience from is another member of my family. Sadly this couldn’t be more of an opposite extreme. Hardly an active day in all of the years I can remember, and I’m going back a very long way indeed. Always feeling that the answer laid in the bottom of a bottle of pills. I don’t need to elaborate on who this individual is but if this wasn’t the case and activity was a regular part of life then the subsequent illnesses that this choice of life has brought on wouldn’t have to be dealt with. I’m afraid there are just to many ailments to write about.
Now, this isn’t an article for me to simply pour out my family issues but simply a harsh reality check on looking after yourself by keeping active, both in body and mind.
Strength training to stay strong throughout your life. 50, for me is only 3 years away. I’ll be brutally honest, I’m knackered, blooming knackered. But content in the knowledge that I’m able to constantly chase my kids around and will be for many years to come. I wouldn’t want it any other way. In ten, twenty years from now I’d like to title my blog “I’m still going. The batteries haven’t run out yet”. Dan John Strength Coach talks about “Mild Changes” to an exercise routine to maintain strength.
As we age, the likelihood of training for performance or competition lessens, or isn’t in mind at all so, we still need to remain fit and healthy. Adding the extra rep to a set or changing body position to push oneself just a little bit more is a tiny Mild Change. Doing the same routine every week with just a little adjustment from time to time.
So here at Unique Results we regularly take you all through a variety of workout routines using, “Body Weight” exercises. Not only to gain muscular strength but to improve all-round mobility and flexibility. Getting down to the floor and back up again in various different ways just one very good example. Walking lunges another. Making “Mild Changes” along the way. If you are unfortunate enough to experience injury. Of course, speak to the appropriate specialist for the correct advice but ultimately movement and the right kind of movement will get you back to winning ways. When knees and hips are replaced the focus is movement as soon as possible to build up the body and joint strength as soon as the individual can. So keep moving and keep active in mind and in body. It certainly keeps you feeling younger than your years. Apparently there’s a rock band that I follow. So I’ll leave you with a song title that sticks in my mind. “I’ll Sleep When I’m Dead”. Hopefully you will too (but not for many years yet).