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  1. 4 Ways To Maintain Muscle As You Age
  2. Learn the Strength Training Guidelines for Seniors
  3. Search Harvard Health Publishing

What is the best workout for people over 60? There are many men and women over the age of 60 either trying to build up their physique or simply trying to be more active. Here are some great tips, workouts and more. Find out more. There are many men and women over the age of 60 either trying to build up their physique or simply trying to be more active and healthy. In addition to maintaining or creating a great physique recovery and proper technique are now even more important.

Exercise is important at any age, and staying active as one gets older is a great way to promote a healthier, longer life and prevent injuries. More and more older adults are engaging in a broad range of activities, from athletics to aerobics, proving that you don't have to be young to play hard and have fun. Obviously, older adults are going to engage in workouts that differ from those of younger adults and teenagers. While no one wants to be told that they can't do something, certain movements are inappropriate for older adults and age should be a consideration.

Before beginning a workout plan, it is important to consult a medical professional with a knowledge of your personal medical history—this advice goes for exercise enthusiasts of any age. But because older adults are at risk for more medical conditions, such as osteoporosis and arthritis, this is a crucial first step. After gaining clearance, one may not be sure where to start. Thankfully, the ACSM has provided some general guidelines for exercise programs designed specifically for older adults.

The core recommendation is that at least 30 minutes of "moderate physical activity" should be performed on most days of the week.

And while it may seem like an odd priority, strength training should be a main focus, as it prevents bone and muscle loss. Additionally, flexibility and functional movements those that mimic everyday activities are important. In this example plan, there will be four days of cardiovascular activity and two days of strength training. If any discomfort or pain is felt during the activity, stop immediately and consult a trainer or medical professional for guidance.

In addition, be sure to have water nearby at all times. Before beginning the session, it is imperative that one performs stretching as a warm-up. This reduces the risk of muscle strain and improves flexibility, a core concern of exercise programs for older adults. Remember not to "bounce" or stretch too far, as this will only aggravate the muscles. Some good stretches are: triceps stretch, seated floor twist, toe touch, standing biceps stretch, and the spinal stretch. After stretching is complete, it's time to get the party started!

For cardiovascular activity, the actual type of exercise isn't the most important thing, but rather the intensity level. ACSM recommends working at a level that is "hard enough to raise your heart rate and break a sweat," but still allows one "to carry on a conversation. The options for activity are virtually limitless—do whatever you enjoy most. Because there are four cardiovascular days, variety can be incorporated—this is a nice way to keep things fresh and fun and prevent feeling burned out or bored. Some great activities for older adults are:.

All of these activities can be made more entertaining with the inclusion of family and friends, or if performed while reading a book or magazine or watching television. Before you know it, 30 minutes will have flown by. Again, stretching is critical before beginning to exercise.

Ensuring that joints and muscles are moving comfortably can avoid injury, and getting muscles warm before exercise leaves one less susceptible to strains. Weight training should be performed twice per week, in sessions lasting between 20 and 45 minutes. In addition, the same moderate level of intensity should be sought after.

Because hypertrophy and maximal force production are not likely to be goals for the 60 and up crowd, free weights and muscle specialization will not be necessary. Rather, one or two exercises should be performed for each of the following muscle groups: Legs, Back, Shoulders, Arms, Chest and Abdomen. For each exercise, two sets of repetitions should be sufficient. In addition, the focus should be functional movements. In order to prevent overexertion, weight training should not be performed on consecutive days. As with cardiovascular exercise, incorporating friends and family is a great way to make the experience more enjoyable, which increases the likelihood of continuation.

4 Ways To Maintain Muscle As You Age

Obviously, age makes a difference in terms of physical activity, especially in such a potentially demanding setting as the weight room. One major difference is in the frequency of workouts. While teens may be able to handle three days of lifting per week with seven days of cardio, this is not realistic for older adults and would likely result in injury. Intensity, too is different, as more tender joints and less conditioned lungs and other muscles are potential issues for older adults to consider.

The exercises themselves have a few differences. While free weights are often favored by serious gym-goers and exercise enthusiasts, machines are preferable for older adults. The use of machines aids in maintaining proper form because the movement is assisted. Also, machine movements do not rely on stabilizing muscles as much, which is important as older adults may be somewhat deconditioned and will not have sufficiently developed muscles for complex free weight exercises.

Lastly, exercise selection for seniors is specialized.

Learn the Strength Training Guidelines for Seniors

Functional movements are key, as are exercises that focus on more than one muscle. Because only a few lifts are being performed, isolation exercises would be inefficient and therefore inappropriate. My third guru for aging while still being phenomenally fit is Dr. Pam Peeke , a physician, scientist and bestselling author of numerous books on nutrition, stress, fitness and public health. At 62 and by what she attributes to, "the grace of God and good genes," Dr. Peeke just qualified for the triathlon event in the next Senior Olympics she placed second in her age group.

As we discussed the possibility of people trying to achieve their best levels of fitness after fifty, Dr. Peeke didn't mince words. She says the "mass majority of people are in terrible shape" so you have to look at where you're starting. The good news she offers is if someone has been in rotten shape all their life, it won't be that hard to get in relatively great shape by comparison, after all it's only up from there.

The opposite is also true. If you've been in great shape most of your life, you need to keep your expectations in check and be realistic. Her advice to people over fifty going for new fitness goals is to, "be realistic, patient and consistent" and as you train, you may want to chant, "I'm am no longer 20! The upside is, if you have already built a strong foundation over the years, it's not that hard to get it back.

Whether getting back to, or starting from scratch, she says to focus on "optimizing the key components of fitness: endurance, strength, balance and flexibility. Peeke says most peoples' health goals after fifty are to be both "physically and mentally independent" rather than fit into a certain jean size. Who doesn't want to feel great during their golden years so they can enjoy their leisure time with grandchildren, travel with ease of movement, or perform optimally in their careers?

The trick is to attach "meaning" to your fitness goals and do the work, step by step. If you haven't thrown on your gym clothes and ran out the door for a workout by now, you need a little more motivation. A recent study published in the American Journal of Medicine found that the higher your muscle mass index is, the more likely it is you'll live longer! The findings suggest that muscle mass relative to one's height is an independent prognostic marker for survival in older adults.

So if you're looking for the fountain of youth, get out there and make some muscle! Tap here to turn on desktop notifications to get the news sent straight to you. Help us tell more of the stories that matter from voices that too often remain unheard.

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