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What are the Best Exercises for Different Age Groups, without Injuring Yourself

by Chris Ruxton(more info)

listed in exercise and fitness, originally published in issue 275 - January 2022

Chris says:

“Along with sleep and eating a balanced diet, exercise is essential for maintaining good health and wellbeing. While you can’t outrun a bad diet, you can support your metabolism with regular physical activity, which helps you burn more calories. Improved insulin sensitivity, heart health, and body composition may also help prevent health problems like type 2 diabetes and heart disease.

“Chronic pain is another problem that can be alleviated with regular exercise, even when our first instinct is to put our feet up. Physical activity has also been shown to reduce anxiety and depression, by giving us a boost of endorphins and ‘happy hormones’. What’s more, it gives a boost to healthy ageing, by helping us maintain muscle mass and bone density into our golden years.”

Deadlift

“While moving more provides a range of health benefits, it’s important that we up our activity levels safely to avoid injury.” Chris Ruxton, personal trainer, and brand ambassador for www.deep-heat.co.uk and  www.deepfreeze.co.uk has the following 7 tips.

  1. Start slow: If you’re new to exercise, introduce it slowly, taking your time to increase the duration, intensity, and weights you use;
  2. Rest up: Rest days might feel like wasting time, but they’re essential for muscle recovery;
  3. Fuel your workouts: We’re made up of around 60% water, so hydration is crucial, especially when we sweat. Also, muscles are made up of protein, so it’s important to help them recover with healthy sources of protein, like chicken, eggs, or beans. Add to this, antioxidant vitamins from fruit, vegetables, nuts, and healthy oils;
  4. Warm up: Warming up before exercise is vital so always remember to warm up properly before exercising and consider using topical products, such as Deep Heat Muscle Rescue roll-on, to get your muscles ready for action and many people swear by it, with some using the roll-on to focus on their joints that ache with exercise;”
  5. Try eight reps of leg swings (right and left), squats, and good mornings (hold your hands behind your neck with elbows wide. Keeping your knees soft, bend forwards until you feel a gentle stretch up your hamstrings);
  6. Don’t run before you can walk: Getting the basic techniques right before you move onto more challenging movements is always an injury prevention priority, especially when doing resistance training;
  7. Cool-down: Don’t forget after exercise to cool down with stretches and for tired, hot, muscles, like the lower legs and feet, Deep Freeze Glide-On Gel is my go to as it is cooling, soothing and scientifically proven.

Exercise through the Life Stages

It’s never too early or late to reap the rewards of regular exercise. However, it’s important to work within your limits, building up slowly. Chris Ruxton for www.deep-heat.co.uk and  www.deepfreeze.co.uk says: “Isometric resistance training is a great way to kick start general fitness – and you don’t need any special equipment as your body weight is enough.”

He adds, “For the complete beginner, I would recommend a general warm up to get the heart rate going, followed by exercising for 30-45 seconds of each minute and resting for the remainder. Build up the time each week if you can only manage 30 seconds initially.”

Teens

During our teens our bones and joints are still growing, so we need to keep that youthful enthusiasm in check, being careful not to lift weights that are too heavy for you. However, according to the WHO, 80% of children and teenagers don’t get the recommended minimum 60 minutes’ physical activity a day. Here are a few exercises to get teens started:

  • Isometric push up – go into the push up position with your knees on the floor. Bend your elbows until your chest is just hovering off the floor and hold. Look just ahead of your hands at the floor.
  • Burpees – learning to love burpees is a fast track to fitness. Either attempt a full burpee with a jump and clap or try an easier ‘up down’ by stepping back into a straight arm plank before jumping back.

20s-30s

We may be able to bounce back easily from injury as young adults, but that also means we can push ourselves too far without taking time to recover. Warning signs ignored – a grumpy lower back, an injured shoulder, poor posture from hunching over a laptop – can lead to issues creeping up. Build up slowly with exercises like these:

  • Overhead hold – standing up straight, take an object in your left hand (tin of soup, small dumbbell). Reach above your head with your straight elbow close to your left ear. Then hold. Repeat on the other side.
  • Jumping jacks – great for cardiovascular fitness. In the standing position, jump legs in and out while clapping the hands above the head.

Pregnancy

With an expanding uterus and loosening joints resulting from hormonal changes, a woman may feel aches and pains in her back, abdomen, groin, pelvis, and thighs during pregnancy. While it’s especially important not to overdo it, gentle physical activity working within your body’s limits, can be helpful:

  • Lunge hold – standing up straight, lunge forwards with your right leg so you feel a stretch in your left hip flexor and quad. Place your hands on your hips, look ahead and keep your chest up, and hold. Repeat on the other leg.
  • Squat – strengthen and open hip flexors by standing with legs hip width apart and toes pointing out. Now slowly squat, keeping the chest up. Hold and stand.

40s and 50s

Women lose muscle while gaining fat as menopause approaches but men in this age group can be similarly affected by muscle loss, while ageing can also bring cartilage loss and inflexible joints. The good news is, incorporating resistance training into your daily routine can help. Try these exercises to put the brakes on your fitness decline:

  • Gun hold – taking an object in each hand (tins of soup or dumbbell) hold them at 90 degrees to your body with your elbows tucked into your sides. Keep your chest up.
  • Side Plank – lie on your left side with legs straight and feet stacked. Place your left hand on the floor under your left shoulder. Raise your hips and knees off the floor, keeping your core tight. Easier version: drop your left knee to the floor, keeping your right leg straight. Repeat on the other side.

60s Plus

Brittle bones, fractures, and slower repair of muscles and ligaments are all things to look out for as we age. In fact, they’re fairly common. You’re never too old to start doing weight bearing exercise to help maintain your muscle mass and bone density. Here are three exercises to build on:

  • Plank – take a push up position on your toes with your arms straight. Brace your core and hold. Easier version: drop your knees to the floor, maintaining straight arms and a tight core.
  • Wall sit – with your back against a wall, slide down into a sitting position with your legs at 90 degrees. Hold out your hands in front of your chest and maintain this position keeping your core tight.

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About Chris Ruxton

Chris Ruxton is a Level 3 Personal Trainer and Level 1 CrossFit coach and also brand ambassador for the topical thermotherapy experts and topical cryotherapy experts Deep Heat and Deep Freeze. https://www.deep-heat.co.uk/ and https://www.deepfreeze.co.uk/. Chris may be contacted on 07568545501; info@ruxtonfitness.co.uk  and via Ruxton Fitness

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