As we get older, our bodies change. It’s probably not purely a side effect of ageing, instead it’s indicative of changing priorities and focus.
We have less time to focus on ourselves and so we need to re-focus our exercise routines on maintaining strength and mobility as much as possible. If we do them well, these movements will also have the added bonus of helping keep our weight in check.
In my mind, there are three key movements anyone over 40 needs to be doing regularly. These are:
Your shoulders are your most mobile joint, but years of doing almost exclusively ‘in front of your body’ movements like sitting at a desk or driving a car is likely to have reduced their mobility hugely. Shoulder pain becomes more and more common as you age.
One of the best ways to fix and prevent shoulder pain is to regain your upper back strength. The muscles in this area essentially pull the shoulders back into their correct position.
Rowing exercises could be done with a pair of dumbbells, a single kettlebell or even with resistance bands.
Hip Dominant Movements
Almost everyone has some kind of back pain at some point or another, with the chances increasing as we age.
Our hips are tight and we find it difficult to recruit our glutes when necessary, which leads to our lower back being forced to compensate and do the job our glutes and hamstrings are meant to do.
If we can strengthen the correct movement patterns, it will help the correct movements happen more naturally at other times. Any kind of hinging exercise is going to do the trick; things like deadlifts or good mornings with weights, or you can use a resistance band to hinge too. Squat variations will be a good idea, and lunge variations will be helpful too.
Most of us do very few overhead movements, and overhead movement tends to be a case of use it or lose it – a combination of muscle imbalances, mobility limitations and muscle weakness all contribute. By the time we’ve spent hours hunched over a computer, our upper back and shoulders tighten then our lower back starts needing to move in order to allow our arms overhead.
There’s a cross over between shoulder and upper back mobility exercises and improved ability to move overhead, and you don’t need to be pressing weight up overhead in order to improve your overhead movement and strength. Exercises like wall slides or wall angels, band pull aparts or even sinking back and forward with your arms on the top of a doorframe will help.
I’d be delighted to show you any of these exercises if you’d like the guidance. Just send me an email and we’ll arrange a quick chat on FaceTime so I can show you how to get them right.