Aging will happen to everyone eventually, and depending on how well one took care of himself or herself, the aging process can set in earlier or later than usual. The fact is, that aging can lead to many different changes in the body, and most can affect how people function physically. The lower energy levels and the diminished strength of seniors can most definitely affect which workouts and exercises are acceptable and ideal for them so, in this article, we will look at the seven worst exercises for aging adults or seniors and what exercises can be substituted for them. Read on to find out more!
Aging and Exercise: What people can do in their 50s and Beyond
People who are over fifty (50) years of age can easily get injured if they do heavy types of workouts. As such, it is recommended that older adults and seniors avoid exercises that are high intensity and shift their workout routines into something much lighter. While some individuals view aging as just a number, the reality is quite different when accomplishing certain exercise routines. The older one gets, the risk of complications and injuries simply just increases as well. This why while some older adults may be in tiptop shape, the said health concerns and issues can still adversely affect the type of exercises and workouts they can and should do.
Seven of the Worst Exercises for Aging Adults and some alternatives:
For people who are aged 50 and above, the following workouts should be avoided as they are some of the worst workout routines for older adults and seniors. Right after each worst exercise routine is the possible exercise alternative. These are:
1. Long Distance Running
One of the simplest, inexpensive, and effective cardio workout is running. However, long-distance running should be avoided. This does not mean though, that running should be completely stopped. It is just that older adults and seniors should go for shorter runs and choose manageable races over long-distance ones.
Possible Alternative: Instead of running long distances, try doing brisk walks in intervals with short bursts of runs at a moderate pace.
2. Running Stairs
Congratulations if you just watched the movie Rocky (starring Sylvester Stallone) and you suddenly feel the passion for running up and down a flight of stairs. But before starting with this badass boxer style of workouts, be forewarned that this kind of workout is not really for older adults or seniors. This is because as an older adult, your balance can easily get lost which could spell a lot of trouble if one is running up and down the stairs. Another thing to consider in avoiding the said kind of workout is that it can be a high impact form of routine that can adversely affect the person’s knees. Running up and down can simply put too much stress on the knees while running the stairs.
Possible Alternative- Instead of doing running stairs, one can opt to go for the gym’s stair climber. It can provide similar results without being too harsh on the knees. It also has an impact that is lower compared to when just using the stairs to run.
3. Squatting with Weights
One exercise that is considered a wonderful routine to build balance and strength is the squat. However, when weights are added to squats and the individual is already beyond 50, then the routine can get pretty dangerous. This is because squatting with the added challenge of weights can lead to joints experiencing too much stress and pressure. As such, squatting with weights is considered as one of the worst routines for older adults and seniors.
Possible Alternative- Instead of doing squats with weights, older adults and seniors can just do regular squats without any added weights. For better results, it is recommended that the form be perfected for every squat
4. Overhead press
While this exercise or routine may look pretty harmless, Overhead presses can lead to extreme injuries of the back and shoulders, particularly for older adults and those who are aged over 50. This is because the back’s mobility can be greatly decreased as people age as well as the muscles of the back shrinking with the aging process, resulting in greater stress in the back as a whole.
Possible Alternative- Instead of doing overhead presses, older adults and seniors can do shoulder raises or other exercises of the shoulder that are low intensity.
5. Bench Press
This popular form fo exercise or routine is popular for good reason. It has been shown to build muscles if executed properly. However, the same cannot be said for seniors and older adults as they need to steer clear from this kind of exercise. Bench presses that are done incorrectly can put a lot of stress and strain on the pectoral muscles, shoulders, and wrists. As such, it is important to remember that as people age, the joints are unable to support a lot of weight which can cause serious injuries.
Possible alternatives- Instead of doing bench presses, it may be best to do some exercises with free weights on the chest.
6. Bikram Yoga
To enhance the body’s flexibility, it is better to practice Bikram yoga. But for older adults, this may not be a good option. This is because hot yoga studios should be avoided to prevent getting dehydrated. Too much sweating and dehydration can lead to fainting spells.
Possible alternatives- Instead of doing Bikram yoga, older adults can try out yoga sessions or routines that are lighter and low impact.
It is not that simple to do crunches and for people who are 50 and above, it is best to stay away from this particular routine or exercise. Spine mobility is lost during the aging process and doing crunches can lead to injuries for older adults.
Possible Alternatives- Instead of doing crunches, older individuals may opt to go for something low impact on the spine such as planks.