My 6 Favorite Exercises for Baby Boomers

My 6 Favorite Exercises for Baby Boomers


Imagine walking up the stairs in your home every morning having to hold on to the railings; your arms hurt more than your legs as they are pulling you up the stairs.  You dread going up those stairs every day because it is painful.  Maybe you stop doing it and purchase a home with the master suite on the first floor to make life easier. What if your legs became stronger and you didn’t have to hold onto the railing each morning, What if your pain was in your muscles, not your joints?

“With age, bones tend to shrink in size and density — which weakens them and makes them more susceptible to fracture. You might even become a bit shorter. Muscles lose strength and flexibility, and you might become less coordinated or have trouble balancing.”  {1}

With each decade of life, our exercise routine needs to be changed to consider our aging bodies.  Baby Boomers; aging 53 to 71 years old in 2017 should focus on life-enhancing fitness programs that have a low risk and high reward.  

If you have been working and sitting or driving for years, your body alignment may have changed, your muscle mass and bone density may have decreased, and your postural alignment needs to be addressed with each exercise you choose, or you will have pain.   

“Pilates offers corrective exercises; that increase your muscles mass and bone density WITHOUT the risk of pain or fracture.”

Whatever routine you choose; think of these six principles to keep your body safe.  

1.  NO CRUNCHES

Traditionally we think of crunches as the best way to work the core.  As we age, flexion of the spine {kyphosis} may occur because of weakness, low bone density or many years of bad posture.  This position thrusts the head forward and creates an extension of your cervical vertebrae.  When you perform ab exercises, you are exacerbating your posture, rather than improving it. 

Try this: Lie on your back, pad under your head if your chin tilts up.  Draw in your abdominals to feel your lower back on the mat.  Lift one leg as you breathe out, then the second leg to table top.  Then lower them down, one at a time.  Keep your back on the mat the whole time.    

2.  ACTIVATE THE BACK


Most of my clients fear the dowager hump {envision your grandma with a rounded spine}.  We can prevent this with proper exercises and stretch. 

Try this: Kneel on all fours (or over a physio-ball).
Step 1: Reach just one arm forward and then the other.  
Step 2: Then reach just one leg back and then the other.  
Step 3: Reach opposite arm and leg back to strengthen your posterior muscles.  

3.  BALANCE


Another affected area is our balance.  With practice, your balance can improve.  Walking every day is an excellent way to keep up your strength and balance; even a small hike will build leg strength to keep you strong. 

Try this: Stand on one leg and lift the opposing leg 5x.  By lifting the other leg, you work muscles called your hip flexors, although they may be tight; they are probably not strong. 

4. ADD WEIGHTS

Weights increase your muscle strength and although you may get sore; clients suggest this is better than joint pain.  When you build muscle mass, your burn more calories, you can climb stairs more quickly, and you can perform your daily routine without pain. 

Try this: If you have weights try some simple exercises each day.  Bicep curls, rows, triceps, and squats are a nice balance routine.  Try 12-15 repetitions and two sets.

If you do not have weights; squats are straightforward and efficient.  Open a door and hold onto the handle.  Straddle the door and sit holding onto the door handle for balance.  Make sure your knees do not hurt. 

5.  PELVIC FLOOR


For women and men, the pelvic floor muscles change as we age.  Just like any other muscle, we need to give active attention to our pelvic floor.  When your pelvic floor is weak you experience lower back or hip pain, incontinence, and your legs begin to adduct in. (See Picture)>>>>The foot flattens and each step you take could be shocking to your lower back. 

Try this: Sit up tall in a chair and take a deep breath in.  Let your belly push out and even your pelvic floor press down {if this makes you uncomfortable perform this on the toilet}, as you exhale lift the pelvic floor up.  For women; envision drawing a marble into your vagina.  Your buttocks should not squeeze.  For men; envision stopping the flow of urine.  You should feel your abdominals contract and a gentle lift of your core. 

6. STRENGTHEN ABDUCTORS


The biggest weakness I see as a Pilates instructor is weak abductors.  {These are the muscles on the outside of your hip.}  They support your hip, lower back and knees during gait (walking).  They also help you climb the stairs and sit comfortably.

Try this: Lie on your side and straighten your top leg.  Lift it just at hip height 10-15x.  Place your hand on your outer thigh to feel the outer hip.  If you don't feel it, turn your top leg down.  Repeat on the other side.  

After working with clients over thirteen years, nothing gives me more satisfaction than watching my clients achieve what they one thought was impossible.  Don't get me wrong, they have pain each and every day but they manage their pain with exercises and strength training. 

Warmly~ Tara Gregorio

{1} http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/healthy-aging/in-depth/aging/art-20046070

Tara Gregorio

Tara Gregorio, Owner, and Founder of Tara Gregorio Pilates & Wellness is a seasoned veteran with 15 years experience in the health and fitness industry. A STOTT PILATES® Lead Instructor Trainer, Tara has led thousands of teachers- in-training through the certification process. Tara’s knowledge of Pilates, movement, and health is both deep and varied. In addition to teaching instructor level, equipment-based classes, she teaches workshops on topics ranging from anatomy and special populations to athletic conditioning and injury.

Tara’s clientele seek her out for her expertise in pre- and postnatal fitness, breast cancer recovery, osteoporosis, scoliosis, and injury rehabilitation. Tara has a B.S. in Fitness Management and is ACE, Pink Ribbon, STOTT PILATES and 200-hr Living Yoga Certified.

A holistic health practitioner, Tara is also a herbalist and homeopath with over seven years experience and training. Tara develops her own natural remedies, which she features in her product line, TG Herbals. TG Herbals, founded in 2014, is a diverse and growing line of tinctures, bug sprays, salves, and herbal tea blends. A mother of active, three-year-old twins, Tara also specializes in remedies for teething, colic, diaper rash, mastitis, insomnia, pelvic floor incontinence, and diastasis recti.

 Tara makes her home in Cold Spring, New York. She accepts clients in her studio for fitness, injury rehabilitation, and herbal consultations.  

For educational purposes only. This information has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration.This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. Please consult your doctor when needed. Please note there are affiliate links attached to the blog posts.