Now, I know a lot of people recommend swimming as an exercise for when you are older, and I have nothing against swimming, I think it’s great. But it’s main benefit as it relates to aging is that it is not weight bearing, so it is easy on the joints. If you need this, then swimming is a god send, but if you don’t it is not on my top list of anti aging exercises for this reason; in order to maintain our bone density and condition our joints we need to have impact. Our bones only get stronger if there is weight put on them. This doesn’t happen with swimming, or cycling for that matter.
If you want to get the most bang for your anti aging exercises buck, and stay young as a result here is what I suggest:
Spend at least two, up to three days a week on:
Functional Training that focuses on large muscle groups.
Any resistance training program worth its weight will have you doing exercises that not only get you to progress and get better at that exercise but should be easily translatable into real life. Meaning, you should also get better at things outside the gym. This means pushing and pulling exercises, rotations and squatting. Check out my blog on 7 Primal Movement Patterns to find out which movement patterns need to be in your program.
Spend as many days a week working on your:
Balance, stability and fine motor control.
Balance, stability and fine motor control are all hallmarks of yoga, which is why we love it so much at RHF. But even if you aren’t into yoga, you can still find ways to work on your balance. Why not incorporate it into your daily habits, like stand on one foot while you brush your teeth or wash the dishes. Dropped something on the ground? Stand on one leg while you bend down and pick it up. Putting on your pants and shoes? Why sit when you can stand? And balance isn’t limited to your feet. Putting weight on your upper body is important as well. Examples of this would be planking, and then as you progress, plank with only one hand on the ground, or side planking. This ensure the stabilizing muscles of your shoulders get some work as well.
Spend one to two days a week working on:
Agility training to improve coordination and reflexes.
As we age, our fast twitch muscle fibres are the first ones to go That is one of the reasons we tend to trip and fall more than we used to. I still want you to heed my advise above, about resistance training for bone density, but really, the best way to not break a bone is to not fall in the first place right? There are a number of ways to work on agility, and playing a sport, like tennis, is probably one of the best ones but in the gym you might want to start using an agility ladder or using a BOSU for your step ups. These challenge your reflexes and depending on the complexity of the movement can challenge your coordination as well!
Every day or at least every time you workout you should work on:
Yoga or Mobility Training that maintains fluidity of movement and range of motion.
As a general rule, you should warmup before your exercise with dynamic stretches through your full range of movement and then spend 5 minutes stretching for every 30 minutes of exercise. But that might not enough if you tend towards tightness. You may need to hold your stretches for up to 3 minutes if you are particularly tight and are looking to improve range of motion, rather than just maintain it. If that’s you, you may want to hire an expert to help you decide which stretches or mobility exercises are right for you so you.
Remember, it takes a long time to become young so start now and stay consistent!