Some folks believe that too much of a good thing is wonderful. But where exercise is concerned, that just isn’t true! While it is extremely important to maintain overall physical fitness as we age, it’s also important that we not overdo it in any one particular area. Our bodies are always striving for balance… evenness. If we push it too hard in one way or cut corners in another, that’s going to end up rearing its ugly head somehow. A bit like Whack-a-Mole: Cardio Version. So while you’re most definitely digging the effect of all those squats right now, your knees may not be feeling the joy. Here are some of the ways that your exercise could be actually aging you… and what you can do about it.
Take A Load Off, Dude
If you never take a break from your exercise routine, you need to question the wisdom of that. Particularly if you’re past your 20’s when it takes no time at all for your muscles to recover. By the time you’re in your 40’s your muscles need up to 3 days to recover from an intense workout. So if you’re not taking periodic rests, you’re not giving your poor muscles the time they need to rebuild. If you’re just pounding the pavement every day because that’s what you think you should do, stop. You’re going to grind every part of you down to nothing at all: your joints, muscles, and even your will to exercise. When that happens, it’s curtains for your fitness in any kind of meaningful way. (1)
Mix It Up, Buttercup
Only doing cardio, or only weightlifting is one great way to really start aging your body. You need both things. Without any kind of weight training at all, it won’t be long before you start losing muscle tone. And that’s not what we associate youthfulness with… no, when we think “young”, we think ripply muscles and abs for days.
Likewise, if you’re only doing weight training, you might have the buns of steel you’ve been looking for but your muscles, cells, and organs don’t have the oxygen they’ve been looking for. Oxygen is what these guys work for… aerobic exercise, is their payday. So you need both. Not just cardio, not just weights. One without the other will make you old before your time. (2)
Adore The Floor Of Your Core
A strong core is more than just 6-pack abs. In fact, some might say that 6-pack abs don’t necessarily mean a strong core at all. To the trained eye, that seems a little unbalanced, unless it’s backed up with a ripply back too. Your pelvic floor, also known as your perineum, is really the base of it all. This magical muscle, located right where the sun doesn’t shine, is your core’s connection to the ground, your feet, by way of your adductors, aka your inner thighs. A strong pelvic floor with doing everything from assist with balance, to stopping you from peeing when you sneeze. Failing to work in this area will result in a weaker core all around, which makes falls and injuries much more likely. Kegels and adductor work: it’s where intelligent core work happens. (3)
Get Warm To Your Form
Similar to understanding how your core isn’t just your front, good form isn’t just for career athletes or bodybuilders. If you’re not performing your squats right, or if your Warrior Pose is a little off and you don’t care… it will catch up with you. Take the time to learn how to do your exercises right… if you’re not stacking your bones correctly, you’re setting yourself up for injury and a host of problems down the line. Sure, you might be able to get away with added stress on your knee joint now, but when it’s had it, it’s had it, my friend. That means no more of anything of the sort like that for you, and that’s another branch of the “use it or lose it” tree: Use it right or lose it right quick.
Just Say No To Cheap Shoes
With the proliferation of athleisure wear etc., the fitness industry has made a point of driving home the idea that if you aren’t looking cute and matchy at the gym, you’re not doing it right.
No girl, you do not need the latest butt-lifting leggings in order to attain a new level of fitness, but you do need well-made shoes. They don’t have to be the most expensive, but don’t go bargain basement either! Take your time, read the reviews, ask questions, and shop around. Get shoes that will be your partner in the gym, and in your workout. Get shoes that will really support you, and don’t worry about if they’re cute. Your plantar fascia doesn’t care if they’re cute… they care if they’ve got support. Give your body, and specifically, your feet, what is needed to excel, and you’ll never be sorry. (4)
But get the trendy leggings, and if they’re see-through like Lulu, you may actually be quite sorry indeed! (5)
Exercise is meant to keep you feeling youthful and alive. Don’t let anything come between you and that feeling, least of all the exercise itself!