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Staying Fit After 50

One thing we can’t deny in life is getting older. And as we age, we often lose flexibility, strength, and balance, which can make staying fit after age 50 a challenge, even for the most determined of Baby Boomers. But just because you’re getting older, doesn’t mean you have to stop exercising all together. In fact, the more you can get out and move around, the better you’ll be feeling, for decades to come. Remember, if you don’t use it, you lose it!


Here are four of the best types of exercise to practice as you age.

Strength Training
Remember to relax and keep breathing, keep motions smooth and steady, and avoid locking your joints. 

Bicep curls to strengthen upper-arm muscles
– Sit in an armless chair and keep your feet flat and even with your shoulders
– Hold your hand weights at your sides, arms straight, palms facing forward
– Slowly bend your elbows, lifting the weight toward your chest
– Rotate your palms to face each other while lifting the weight
– Hold the position for 2 counts and slowly lower back down
– Repeat 10 times

Knee flexion to strengthen muscles in the back of the thigh
– Stand straight and hold a chair for balance
– Without moving your upper leg, slowly bend your knee as far as possible so your foot lifts up behind you
– Hold for 5-10 seconds and slowly release
– Repeat with other leg and continue alternating for 10 reps on each side


Stretching
Stretching should involve slow, steady movements to help your muscles stretch naturally. Never bounce into a stretch.

For flexibility in your legs, try the legs in v pose:
– Sit on the floor with your legs comfortably spread apart in a V shape.
– It doesn’t matter if the V isn’t that wide to begin with; it’s more important to stretch comfortably.
– Gather some firm pillows and place them in front of you.
– Lean forward, keeping your neck long, and use the pillows to support your upper body.
– Breathe six times, allowing yourself to feel the stretch along your legs.

The seated forward bend will help reduce blood pressure. 
– Sit on a chair, keeping your knees together and your feet flat on the floor. The chair helps to avoid stress on your back.
– Inhale, then as you exhale, bend forward, rounding your shoulders and bending your back forward one vertebra at a time.
– Let your arms hang freely by your sides and hold the pose for three deep breaths.
– Your chest should make contact with your thighs, and your forehead should be near your knees.
– As you gain strength and flexibility, you can remove the chair and execute this position as a standing forward bend.
– Use caution if you have a bad back.


Balance

Always do these exercises near a table or chair so you can grab on if you feel you are going to lose your balance.

Hip extension to strengthen your buttock and low back muscles
– Stand 12 to 18 inches from a table or chair with your feet slightly spread
– Bend forward at the hips at about 45-degree angle; hold on to the table or chair for balance
– Slowly lift one leg straight backwards without bending your knee or upper body
– Hold for 5-10 seconds and slowly release
– Repeat with other leg and continue alternating for 10 reps on each side
– You can add leg weights once you are ready for a more challenging exercise

Enhance balance anywhere
These are quick and easy and can be performed anywhere, just make sure you have something to grab on to if you lose your balance.

– Walk heel-to-toe by positioning your heel just in front of the opposite toes each time you take a step. Your heel and toes should almost touch.
– Practice standing up and sitting down without using your hands
– Stand on one foot as long as you can, then alternate feet.


Endurance

If you’re just starting out you’ll want to start slowly and build your endurance gradually. The idea is to get your heart rate up. Moderate cardio exercises include walking briskly, swimming, and flat surface bicycling. Once you are ready to move on, try stair climbing, snow shoveling, or bicycling up hills.

Always remember to start out slow with any new fitness activity. It’s normal to feel a little discomfort when you’re using new muscles, but intense pain should not occur and is a sign you’re doing something wrong – you’ll need to talk to a healthcare provider right away. Physical Therapists are experts in body movement and can show you the proper way to stretch, exercise, and work out. But it’s important to know that it’s never too late to start a new program, just make sure you start at a mild level and work your way up.

Staying Fit After 50
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Staying Fit After 50

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