Don’t Make These Exercise Mistakes!

I love to see Baby Boomers and seniors exercise; I cringe to I see the mistakes they make!

running

So kudos if you’ve finally made physical activity a regular part of your life.  Now, to maximize your efforts, here are 5 mistakes you’ll want to avoid:

Mistake Background Remedy

Cardio only

While cardiovascular (aerobic) exercise is vital for healthy aging, strength training is arguably more important to build and maintain muscles that protect from falls and support activities of daily living. Strength training guidelines: At least 2 days per week, work up to 30 minute-bouts of resistance training with dumbbells, body weight, resistance tubing, or machines at the gym.

Weight training only

Yes, I’ve said it many times:  you must keep your muscles strong!  But research now proves that cardio is also vital as we age: even moderate exercise like walking lowers the risk of chronic diseases, heart trouble, and mental decline. Cardio guidelines: Starting with 10-minute bouts once or twice a day, build up to 30 minutes of brisk walking, biking, swimming, gardening, or dancing at least 5 days a week.

Doing exercises incorrectly

Exercises are designed to work a specific muscle or muscle group.  Doing exercises incorrectly can be a waste of your precious time or even lead to injury. Educate yourself!  At the gym, look at pictures on equipment to see which muscles should be “feeling the burn,” or ask for advice.  At home, research in magazines or online for proper form, then ask a family member or friend to monitor your movements.

Not challenging your body

I see people doing the same routine day after day.  But muscles need constant challenge with variety and increased intensity to grow and remain strong. Vary your routine!  If you do cardio first, do weight training first tomorrow.  Use dumbbells one day, resistance tubes the next.  Throw in body-weight activities (push-ups, squats).

Most important: progressively increase the amount of resistance you’re using—Start with a low amount of weight/resistance.  If you can easily do 16 reps of an exercise with good form, increase the weight by 10%.  As long as you can do 8 good reps, start there and work your way up to 12 – 16 reps.

Ignoring your diet

Food and fluids play an important role in physical activity, even for the casual exerciser.  Muscles need energy for growth and repair.  Ignoring nutrition can lower performance or cause illness. Properly nourish yourself!  Two hours before exercising, consume 20 oz. of cold water, then 7 – 10 oz. every 10 minutes while exercising.  Eat a light snack 1 hour before activity, then some protein and carb within 30 minutes after for muscle growth (example: whey protein  powder with cold water).

 

Do you have some questions about proper ways to exercise?  Drop me a line on my Facebook page.