Category Archives: Exercise for over 50

Fitness Over Fifty Beginner Routines – Toning Upper Arms

Flabby Upper Arms? Try Chair Dips

Toning upper arms is one of the quickest and easiest ways to reverse the appearance of aging . One of the best exercises to tighten up those flabby upper arms is the bench dip. Because this series of exercises are for beginners and one of the requirements was to find work out routines that can be done in the comfort of your own home with little or no additional equipment other than what can be found around the house we have substituted using a bench with a simple straight back chair.

Here are the steps:

  • Begin by sitting on the edge of a chair.
  • Lay your hands on the chair next to  your bottom and grab the edge.
  • Feet flat on the floor 2 feet in front of you knees bent.
  • Lift off the chair so you are supported by your arms and hands.
  • Bend elbows, dropping (dipping) your body towards the floor. Dip as far as you feel comfortable.
  • Push back up, squeezing the muscles in the back of the arms.
  • You want to maintain a position with your back as close to the chair as possible to reduce shoulder strain.

Chair Dips

My suggestion is to start out doing as many as you can in one minute. Try to work yourself up to 3 one minute repetitions 3 times a week, you’ll be amazed at the results in a month or so, the triceps respond to resistance training fairly fast.

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Over 50 Beginners Workout Routine – Lunges

lunges

Lunges – Great at Home Exercise for Beginners

The third exercise of this series concentrates once again on the lower body. The lunge involves all the big muscles below the waist – quads, hamstrings and glutes.
This exercise is even easier in some respects than the squat because it copies a very natural, everyday aspect of life. Walking!
Having said that though don’t be fooled. It is a more advanced move than the squat because it not only works and strengthens your lower body but it also will improve your balance.
Okay here’s how they’re done.
From a neutral standing position take a big step forward, keeping your back straight but not rigid and bend your knee to about 90 degrees (make sure your front knee doesn’t go beyond your toes). While steppping forward drop your back knee towards the floor.
That’s it. Really simple and can be done just about anywhere.
I suggest doing as many of these as you can in 30 seconds at first and over time increasing the time intervals to 60 and then 90 seconds.
You can improve our everday mobility and flexibilty by changing this exercise sometimes to stepping either backwards or to the side.

The third exercise of this series concentrates once again on the lower body. The lunge involves all the big muscles below the waist – quads, hamstrings and glutes.
This exercise is even easier in some respects than the squat because it copies a very natural, everyday aspect of life. Walking!
Having said that though don’t be fooled. It is a more advanced move than the squat because it not only works and strengthens your lower body but it also will improve your balance.
Okay here’s how they’re done.
From a neutral standing position take a big step forward, keeping your back straight but not rigid and bend your knee to about 90 degrees (make sure your front knee doesn’t go beyond your toes). While steppping forward drop your back knee towards the floor.
That’s it. Really simple and can be done just about anywhere.
I suggest doing as many of these as you can in 30 seconds at first and over time increasing the time intervals to 60 and then 90 seconds.
You can improve our everday mobility and flexibilty by changing this exercise sometimes to stepping either backwards or to the side.

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Over 50 Beginners Work Out – Wall Push Ups

Over 50 - Wall Push Up

In the first of this series on beginners exercises for over fifty we featured squats for the lower body, today we will show you a really easy way to strengthen the upper body doing wall push ups.

We begin with these two exercises because they both engage large muscle groups and strengthen areas of the body that are used in every day activities.

The push up works the chest, back and arms. When done correctly it also helps strengthen the core. While I’ll admit that the regular way of doing push ups is challenging and I still find it difficult to do more than 15 or 20 at a time (on a good day) I will show you an easy way to get similar benefits that almost anyone can do.

  1. Stand 2 – 3 feet from the wall – Feet about shoulder width apart, knees straight but not locked.
  2. Hands flat against the wall – Just a little wider than shoulder width, arms straight.
  3. Now bend your arms – Bend until your nose is about 1″ from the wall.
  4. Push Back – Return to starting position.

That’s all there is to it. The level of difficulty and resistance increases the further you place your feet from the wall. Find a position that allows you to complete 12 – 15 repetitions. Perform these 10 – 15 reps 2 to 3 times about twice a week and you should see improved upper body strength within 6 weeks.

One of the great things about this exercise is that it’s so portable. You can do it at work on your break, while out walking around the park, while away from home on a trip or vacation, just about any where!

Remember muscles need increased resistance as they get stronger to maintain the same level of fitness so increase your distance away from the wall as your strength improves. Eventually you can move from the wall to using a chair or bench for support thus lowering you body closer to the floor and creating even more body weight resistance – but that’s all for later. Start out with these beginner wall push ups and trust me you’ll get there!

Exercise Over 50 – Beginners Routines

Over 50 Beginners Work Out Routine – Squats

exercise for over 50

If you’re over 50 and haven’t worked out in a while mastering the squat may be somewhat of a challenge but it’s first on the list for a very good reason.

Builds and strengthens the foundation – Squats target the largest muscle group of the body, the quads or thighs and glutes or butt. These muscles are called into use every day in normal activities that require lifting, pulling or pushing. They’re also important for maintaining balance. Strengthening these groups of muscles may help prevent falls and as an added bonus can help prevent osteporosis or porous bones that sometimes occurs when the bones grow weak with aging and become more susceptible to fractures and breaks.

Okay, so what’s the proper way to perform a squat?

Bodyweight Squats

  • At first for balance place a chair in front of you facing forward and place your hands on the back of the chair. You can also place a chair directly behind to prevent a fall when you go down and to keep the beginner from going down too far
  • You should be standing with feet about shoulder width apart
  • Your chest and stomach should be straight up and down with a slight curve in your back
  • Bend your knees, at first go only as far as you comfortably can, the goal is to eventually be able to go down until your thighs are a little past parallel to the floor.
  • Only using your legs, push back to the starting position. Use your grip on the chair only for balance unless you absolutely need to pull yourself up.
  • When you get better at it you will no longer need the chair. At this point you may even add some weight for more resistance.
  • For weight, use two milk jugs, dumbbells or whatever holding them at your sides as you squat.

Here is a great video showing the way it’s done.


Exercise Over 50

Wall Push Ups for Beginners

Exercises For Over 50 – Work Out Routine For Beginners

This is the introduction to a series of post that we will be doing on exercises for over 50. The first of the series will focus on beginner work out routines and working our way up to a more strenuous work out plan.

These exercises are designed for those who have either never worked out or haven’t in a some time. Therefore the first order of business was to decide what kind of exercises would be best suited to a beginner over 50. We decided they had to meet at least at least 4 requirements.

  1. Ease of Motion – No fancy dance steps or twists and gyrations. I personally have felt my body “pop” just getting out of the car, and I’ve been working out for years! We’ll leave the Tae Bo and Hip-Hop for further down the road (maybe)
  2. Can be done at Home – I think that a lot of people and us over 50 especially are somewhat intimidated by the thought of going to a gym and being around a lot of people who are already toned and trim. A few weeks doing things alone in the privacy and comfort of home can build our level of confidence so that we wont feel like a complete newbie the first time in the gym.
  3. Full Body Work Out – This one is important whether you’re a beginner or have been working out for years. It’s best to engage as many of the “large” muscle groups as possible with each exercise. For those of us over 50 this is especially true as it helps fight sarcopenia and battles the aging process. Doing 100 bicep curls will make you great at doing bicep curls and make your arm muscle bigger but it won’t do much for the rest of your body.
  4. No Equipment Necessary – Okay maybe we fudged a little on this one but any equipment needed will be everday items found around the house. Or maybe even a part of the house (one exercise uses a wall for support). These work outs are designed to use body weight for resistance. The weight of your body along with a chair, the floor or a wall for support will be all you need. Of course as you get stronger you may want to add small hand weights (or milk jugs), resistance bands, or kettle balls for added resistance but they’re not needed to get started.
Although there are many exercises that could fit these basic requirements we decided on three really simple ones. Squats, wall push ups and lunges can all be done at home, are easy to learn and need no equipment other than a chair or wall. We  added resistance bands to the list because their versatility,  ease of use and low cost make them the best add-on to any home fitness routine.

Exercises Over 50

Squats for Beginners Over 50

Wall Push Ups for Beginners Over 50

Lunges for Beginners Over 50

Resistance Bands

These are great exercises to get you started and remember CONSISTENCY is the key. Don’t worry about starting out of the gate in a full gallop, in this race the winner is the one who sets his or her goals and keeps at it. The suggested beginner exercises will soon get dull and your workout will become boring. This is one of the biggest reasons that people quit. No fun anymore! Well you might consider adding a home workout DVD to the mix. For beginners over 50 we suggest Moving Free Longevity Solution Easy Strength Level 1 Body Sculpting and Weight Loss Fitness/Exercise DVD For Beginners, Boomers, Women Over 50, and Active Seniors by Mirabai Holland. Ms Holland is a 50+ health activist that is certified by the American Council on Exercise (ACE)  and her DVD is designed especially for Boomers, women and seniors.

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Fitness over 50 Beginners – Try Resistance Bands

Fitness Over 50 - Resistance BandsIf you’re over 50 and either new to the idea of working out or haven’t been in a gym in years I have the perfect solution to getting you started on the path to getting in shape and fighting the inevitable muscle and coordination loss of sarcopenia that is just a natural art of aging.

Resistance bands or exercise bands as some people call them are great for resistance training at almost any level but especially for the beginner. Just some of the benefits are:

  • No gym required – You can get a workout just as effective as a gym workout without leaving home. This will certainly save you time and provides you with privacy and the luxury of scheduling your fitness routine around your lifestyle.
  • Low Cost – Many resistance bands can be purchased for less than $20. I recommend buying a few different ones, they come in different thicknesses to give you different levels of resistance. You could even throw in an instructional DVD and still come in under $50 – $60. I know some gyms that charge that or more a month.
  • Portable – Resistance bands  can be folded up and put in a small hand bag, carry all, or even fit in a glove compartment. Just right for maintaining your routine while traveling.
  • Versatility – These simple little things can perform HUNDREDS of different exercises that when done correctly and with proper form provide you with the same resistance as weights. Your muscles don’t know the difference between weights and bands, it’s all in the amount of tension and positioning of the bands. That’s why I suggest getting a pack of varying thicknesses.
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Fitness Journals Can Help You Achieve Your Goal

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Sometimes it’s difficult to notice the changes that are happening to our bodies and spirits when we begin a fitness routine. Being over 50 has taught me patience and I know that there is no overnight miracle success to getting and staying in shape but still I’d like to have some way of reassuring myself that the time and effort, (not to mention the sweat and tears) is paying off and that I am step by step “getting there.”

When we first embark on a fitness journey it isn’t long before our friends and family can see the changes in us, often times even before we can see it ourselves. This can keep us motivated to continue on. I mean who doesn’t like a little praise every now and then? But after a while the pats on the back stop coming and that’s when we have to find other ways to stay motivated.

I’ve found that keeping a fitness journal helps me to stay on point. When I’m wondering if I’m really making any progress I can always look back a month or so and see that I’ve increased the time that I can stay on the bike or elliptical machine without tiring or that I have added a few more pounds or reps to the weight that I can lift. True these gains may not be as easy to see to others but I know just how much effort I’ve put into being fit and that is always enough to lift my spirits and make me look forward to the next workout.

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Over 50 Fitness – Choosing the Right Gym

ESpacious Gym Floor Category:Gyms_and_Health_Clubs
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Over the years I’ve lived in and traveled to many different places and whenever I found myself in any one place for any longer than I week I usually felt the need to locate a gym or fitness center. Luckily most gyms offer either a short term rate or even a free trial membership. This has given me the opportunity to go inside a lot of different facilities and I’d like to share with you what in my opinion makes some better than the rest.


Cleanliness

Although the other items in this article are in no particular order this first item, Cleanliness, is at the very top of the list. Most places will look clean at first glance but make sure that the locker rooms are cleaned and sanitized on a regular basis. Are there dirty towels lying around? Does it pass the sniff test? Are the mirror’s clean? The waste bins over-flowing.

In the workout areas does the facility provide sani-wipes to wipe down the equipment after each use? This is extremely important as most germs are transfered by hand contact. Oh and don’t forget to bring your shower shoes if you’ll be showering at the gym after your workout.

Equipment Condition and Availabilty

Is the equipment maintained and in good condition. Serious injury could occur by using faulty gym machines. Are there enough machines, barbells, and floor space for you to work out? I hate it when I have to wait for 20 or 30 minutes to get on an exercise bike or there is a line waiting to use a particular machine. I like to get in the gym, do my thing and get out. I know that for some it’s a good place to mingle and socialize and I have nothing against that but for me it’s all about the workout and getting fit. Which brings me to my next item.

Atmosphere

Just because I don’t socialize at the gym doesn’t mean that I like a Spartan, no-nonsense type atmosphere. A lot of gyms have T.V.’s in them now and I’ve often been able to catch up on the news or watch a ball game while riding the bike or elliptical machine. I’ve also met some really nice people and even made a few good friends at me local gym. I think the atmosphere and tone is set by the management and staff which is important.

Staff

I’ve seen good gyms that could be a lot better if they had staff that understood the importance of good service. Instead of being out on the gym floor and available they hover around the main desk and seem to be more involved with each other than the gym patrons. The best staff is well trained in the latest in physical fitness and eager to help you reach your goals. I like the ones that are like good waitresses at a diner. Not always asking how they can help but seem to have a sixth sense about knowing when they’re needed.

Defibrillator

Okay, I admit that now that I’m over 50 I think of these things but then again this blog IS about fitness over 50 and I have actually seen the availability of a heart defibrillator possibly save the life of one man at  a gym. Wouldn’t have thought about it before that incident but now it’s one of the tings that I look for.

So what do you think is a must have for the right gym?




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Aerobics or Resistance, Which is Best?

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Best Exercise For Over 50 – Aerobics or Resistance?

Often the question comes up about what type of exercises are best over 50 years old. For decades the belief was that aerobics that worked the cardiovascular and respiratory systems were the best. While there is no disputing the benefits of aerobics new studies show that resistance or weight training is more important in fighting sarcopenia, the ravages of aging that decrease our coordination, creates wrinkles and sagging skin and causes stooped posture.

For these reasons I like to suggest that a combination of the two is the best exercise plan for those over 50. This is not as difficult or time consuming as it may seem to be and the rewards are terrific. I had been trying several different routines for a couple of years before I stumbled across this and although by then I was in moderately good condition my workouts had become boring and I dreaded going to the gym.

After combining aerobics with resistance my time in the gym became fun again and I was finally able  to lose those last 5 or 7 pounds that I wanted to and that had been so elusive up till then. As I said I “stumbled” on this accidentally because I just wanted to change things up a bit but after I saw the results I did some research and found that what I was doing is actually recommended by many experts in the medical and fitness fields as the best way to combat aging.

I use a variation of interval training. Interval training involves short burst of moderately intense exertion like jogging, enough to get the heart rate up, followed by active “rest periods” like walking. You don’t actually rest but you lower your rate of exertion to a comfortable level. This is followed by another short burst of intense exertion. These are typically done in cycles of 1 minute exertion followed by 2 minute rest until you can work up to 1 minute cycles of each then 2 minutes exertion and 1 minute rest and so on.   It’s been shown that 15 minutes of this type of exercise gives you the same workout as a 30  minute routine using the regular method of 30 minutes of constant motion. This cuts your time in the gym in half!

My variation on this adds resistance or weight training to the “rest” cycle. Instead of walking I jump on an exercise machine or grab a barbell and do a little resistance training while my heart rate slows down. Now I’m able to jog at a nice pace for about 5 minutes before my heart rate gets to aerobic level (about 123 bpm for me) and then I do 5 minutes of resistance with moderately heavy weights. Nothing heavy, don’t need to because my muscles are already somewhat stressed from the jogging.

This has kept my workouts fun and eliminated the monotony. Give it a try and let me know how it works for you!

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Health Club Membership – Perfect Gift

Baby Boomers  are the fastest-growing age group  in the countries fitness centers and health clubs. Two hot new high paced classes now popular with the over 50 crowd are  Zumba which melds Latin dance moves with exercise , and Nia a low impact aerobics exercise program that combines Latin dance with Tai Chi and yoga.

Polls show that baby boomers are  as a group experimental, individualistic and  free spirited. These traits mark them as very different from the generations before them and should mean that the trend towards staying engaged in physical activity will continue all of their lives.

Women over 50 in particular  are more better educated, more independent,  working and handling  family responsibilities more than any generation in history.

Most “boomers” believe that “old” is 78 and they are the first generation to really feel that living to 100 is a achievable goal.

Men and women 50 and older like and will spend on luxury items such as cars, houses and travel and in many cases have paid off their homes so have the money to spend. They believe they’ve worked hard all their lives so now they deserve what comforts and pampering they can afford. Health club membership for the over 50 and fit (or wanna be fit)  is the perfect gift.

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