|
|
|
MailTribune.com
  • Re-balance your workout as you age

    As bodies grows older, they naturally begin to fall apart, some functions faster than others
  • In her 20s, Lori Popkewitz Alper loved the intense cardio workouts at her Boston gym. But, as her life and her body changed, so did her fitness repertoire.
    • email print
  • In her 20s, Lori Popkewitz Alper loved the intense cardio workouts at her Boston gym. But, as her life and her body changed, so did her fitness repertoire.
    During pregnancy, Alper found yoga. Soon she was pushing a jog stroller or hauling children in a double-wide bike trailer. Now 47, Alper has returned to some of the high-impact routines of her youth, but her approach has matured.
    "I'm more aware of my body's needs, and I try not to be too hard on it," said Alper, who regularly incorporates strength training for bone health and yoga for her sanity. "(Exercise) is such an important piece of my existence — I hope it always will be."
    Workout programs are like 401(k)s — they need to be re-balanced over the decades, said fitness expert Tom Holland. "As we age, we need to gradually take out the risk and put in more 'blue chip' elements," he said.
    These four basic-yet-effective exercises — a squat, pushup, bicep curl and abdominal crunch — should remain in your program as long as you can perform them correctly, Holland said.
    "When you're young, blue chips are often perceived as being too easy, yet they are the key to creating and maintaining a strong foundation," he said. "You may have to modify them slightly as you age — not going down as far on a squat, for example — but you keep them in as long as possible."
    As the body ages, it naturally begins to fall apart, with some functions breaking down faster than others. After age 20, the maximal amount of oxygen your body can use — also known as VO2 max — decreases by 1 percent a year in healthy men and women.
    By the time you've hit 30, muscular strength begins to head south. But the majority of the decrease occurs after age 50, when it falls at the rate of 15 percent per decade. Bone mineral density also decreases with age; in women the rate accelerates after menopause.
Reader Reaction
      • calendar