“I’m too old to go to the gym!” “Weights are gonna make me bulky.”
Do any of these sound familiar to you? Have you heard something similar, or perhaps have similar feelings yourself?
Did you know that lifting weights - not just walking, yoga or aerobics - can protect your bones and prevent any osteoporosis-related fractures and injuries? A lot of muscle is lost as we age if we maintain a sedentary lifestyle. By the time we’re 70, we could have lost as much as 50% of our total muscle mass. Weight-bearing exercises and strength training can help prevent bone and muscle loss, and even build new bone structures and strengthen existing ones.
Do not let any negative notions surrounding weight training, which you might possess, get in the way of your progress towards a healthier, fitter and stronger you.
Focus on your back and hips, especially when you’re first starting out.
These are the areas which get the first hit and most damage in bone loss.
Your hips are linked to many other parts of your lower body and strengthening them will give you a much stronger and stable base,
lowering the risk of fractures and making daily activities a whole lot easier to go about doing.
Working on hip flexor muscles - attached to both your lower back and hip -
would lead to greater muscle mass in both areas. One of my favourite
exercises for this is the Bulgarian split squat:
- Simply position yourself in front of a mirror with a chair behind you.
- Place one leg on the chair behind you and your hands on your hips.
- Lower your body as you drop your back knee straight down, keeping your
- Ensure that your hips remain levelled. You can measure this by making
sure your hands are in a straight line.
- Push yourself up from your standing heel back into starting position.
Repeat the same number of reps on each leg.
You also want to work on your hip adductors, abductors and extension.
5 tips you may find useful
- Train under the supervision of a professional, qualified and certified personal trainer, especially in the beginning and more so if you have any medical conditions.
- Have a strong mind-muscle connection. Don’t perform movements too quickly. Perform every rep with full control. Feel every contraction,
concentric or eccentric. Think of the muscle you are using.
- Tighten and engage your abdominal muscles while carrying out movements. This helps protect your spine and also strengthen your core.
- Use only the muscle(s) the exercise intends to work. Do not use other muscles to compensate. It’s never about your speed or amount of weight you lift, but instead using the right form and performing the exercise correctly to avoid injuries.
- Do strength training at least 2-3 times a week. Ensure you are hitting the same muscles twice per week. Consult with a trainer about the most efficient way to go about your routine, and also as you become stronger and start upping the weights.
If you already have osteoporosis, seek out a personal trainer like Priscilla who knows the dangers, what to do and what not to do. Be careful when you’re lifting beyond your comfort zone, performing exercises which involve the twisting of your torso and bending forward. Also, refrain from any activity that would put you at the risk of falling.
You may not see immediate changes in your bone density levels during your next medical check-up, but if you persist and remain consistent in your workout routine, expect to see great and positive differences in 1-2 years.
This adds up over the span of a decade. As long as you’re able to read this, you’re never too young or old to start getting fit, healthy and strong.
Don’t wait any longer. Change your life for the better now.
Article by Priscilla Prasad - Get Fit with Pris
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