Senior bent over in pain

7 Mistakes To Avoid When Starting A Workout At 50+

How to prevent injuries by avoiding the most common mistakes older adults make when exercising

As we all know, the best way to stay healthy as we age is to stay active. Doing a minimum of 30 minutes of exercise a day is what is recommended.

Walking is a really good way to stay active and you should walk regularly. However, walking moves your hips only ONE way (back and forth). A lot of older adults have hip pain because they only use them this way! Your hips are ball-in-socket, meaning they can move in any direction and even do circles! This is just one example of why a variety of fitness activities is important. 

Why it’s important to do different forms of exercise

By doing different exercises you will:

  • Work your hips, thighs, and glute muscles (butt)
  • Develop stronger legs to stay independent as long as possible
  • Improve balance and avoid risk of falls
  • Improve cardiovascular endurance
  • Work your core
  • Gain strength
  • Gain Flexibility
  • Increase your lifespan
  • Reduce your overall pain
  • Lose weight, or maintain your normal body weight
  • and so much more.

How exercise keeps you healthy as you age

By staying active, you reduce your risk of developing health issues such as:

  • Heart disease
  • Cancer
  • Diabetes
  • Dementia
  • Blood clots
  • Arthritis and joint replacements
  • Osteoporosis (fragile bones)
  • Anxiety & stress
  • Back pain
  • … and more.

7 Mistakes To Avoid When Starting A Workout At 50+

1. Believing in “no pain, no gain”

The old way of saying: ”No Pain, No Gain” is very wrong and will put you at risk for injuries. Instead, go slow and listen to your body. If you’re over 50 you shouldn’t be trying to push yourself as hard as you can. Your body isn’t the same as it used to be so you have to approach exercise differently as well.

2. Not warming up your body before starting an exercise program 

The warmup is an important component of the fitness program. It increases your body temperature and warms up your joints & muscles to get them ready for the workout. Skipping the warmup will put you at risk of injuries.

3. Starting with the wrong intensity (doing the program too quickly or too soon). 

If you’re just starting an exercise program, keep in mind that after you turn 30 years, you lose 5% of muscle mass per decade. After you turn 50, it goes even quicker. That’s why it is important to lift weights to protect your bones in case of a fall.

So many people getting back to the gym start with the same routine they USED to do. Folks, you have lost muscle mass! You need to reduce your intensity and use lighter weights. If not, you might injure yourself and be too sore. If you do this to yourself, you’ll be even further behind because you’ll have to take a break from your fitness program while you recover and as we age, it takes longer and longer for our body to repair. So the best way to increase intensity is gradually. Every week, add a little intensity (add time, use heavier weights, add more reps/sets).

4. Using poor form

Proper form is a must to do the exercise appropriately, to target the right muscles, and to avoid injuries. The best way to make sure you are doing each exercise correctly is by following along with a fitness program for older adults like “Strong At 60: Full Body Fitness For Energy & Health.” This is a gentle fitness program that takes you step-by-step through all aspects of physical health including, strength, cardio and recovery. 

5. Working only on the body parts you see in the mirror

People have a tendency to work what they see in the mirror (chest, biceps, etc). We all have muscle imbalances and the best way to balance them out and improve posture is to work the muscles you don’t see. These are your back, triceps, hamstrings, glutes and deep core muscles that improve your posture, balance & mobility. 

6. Using machines or lifting weights without knowing how to do so properly 

Okay, this one is similar to #4, but it’s that important! If you don’t know what you are doing, get someone to show you. As we get older, it’s a lot easier to injure ourselves if we make an innocent mistake and it can take us a lot longer to recover from it.

7. Not stretching at the end of the workout

Stretching prevents injuries. It keeps your muscles from tightening up so that you aren’t too stiff or sore to do your exercises the next day. Stretches at the end of an exercise program also help with posture, increasing your range of motion & keeping your body in alignment.

If you avoid these 7 mistakes when starting a workout at 50+ you’ll be well on your way to better strength, mobility, and overall health! A good way to make sure you’re ticking all these boxes is simply by following along with the done-for-you workout routines of “Strong At 60: Full Body Fitness For Energy & Health.”

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