The 6 Best Exercises for Arthritis, According to Experts
Plus, how to exercise safely to avoid worsening any pain. Low-impact exercise is one of the best and easiest ways to break this cycle, but not all kinds of exercise are good for people with arthritis pain. Here's what you can do, along with why and how you should incorporate exercise into your daily routine if you're struggling with arthritis.
We naturally lose muscle mass as we get older. This process starts around the age of 36, and by the time we are 80 we've lost about 50% of our muscle mass. Long periods of inactivity can also cause us to lose a greater amount of muscle mass than we might normally. This has been the case during the COVID-19 pandemic, as many of us were less able to exercise as much as we use to do. © Provided by Eat This, Not That! happy Senior Couple Exercising In the Park
While most young people will be able to bounce back and regain their muscle mass easily, it may not be as easy for older people. This is because it can be more difficult to gain muscle mass as we age due to the changes in muscle structure, and doing too much too quickly can result in serious injuries. This is why older people need to get the balance right when easing back into exercise again.
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Maintaining muscle mass
Maintaining muscle is important for many reasons. As we age, frailty can make it more difficult for us to be independent and do the things we need to do each day – from going shopping to meeting our friends. Being active maintains a healthy musculoskeletal system while also protecting us from some diseases, such as type 2 diabetes. Research also shows that strong active muscles can help prevent falls and lower injury risk.
But while it may be tempting to hit the gym and start lifting weights now that many COVID-19 restrictions have eased, if it's been a while since you last exercised regularly, it's important to ease back into things. Weak and de-conditioned muscles take time to build strength and doing too much vigorous, repetitive exercise can overload muscles and joints that have not been trained, leading to injury.
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Here are a few ways to get moving again without injuring yourself:
1. Progress slowly.
It's best to gradually return to activity so you don't overdo things or injure yourself. A staged approach, where you slowly introduce different exercises, will allow your muscles to recover between each session. Beginning with basic exercises around the house is a good starting point.
Then increasing the number and type of exercises you do can also help you from getting fatigued and losing form – which are prime conditions for an injury to occur. For example, starting with a short walk that then gets longer and progresses to a hill or rougher terrain allows for slow and persistent challenges for your body to become accustomed to while still helping you stay interested in exercising.
Gallery: Secrets for Walking Your Way to a Lean Body After 50 (ETNT Mind+Body)
Secrets for Walking Your Way to a Lean Body After 50
The body slows down naturally with age, and while you may have been able to lift really heavy weights, take regular HIIT classes, or run ten miles in the A.M. religiously in your 20s and 30s, it'll be harder to maintain those hardcore habits up when you're 50 and beyond. "As you age, your body experiences compositional changes like a decrease in muscles mass," says Steve Stonehouse, NASM, CPT, USATF Certified Run Coach and Director of Education for STRIDE. As the amount of muscle mass—as well as your strength and definition—continues to decline with age, your metabolism progressively slows down, too. "A slower metabolism leads to less energy in the day," he says.
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This is why walking more as you age is more important than ever. "Physical activity is not only key to maintaining a lean body but also maintaining and improving mobility," he says.
What's more, walking is the ultimate do-anywhere activity that people in their 50s and over can do regularly without worrying much about excess pressure on the muscles and joints or increased risk of injury, fractures or falls. And, believe it or not, it's also a great way to burn fat, lose weight, and get lean.
"Walking is one of the most underrated exercises for weight loss," trainer and health coach Ryan Hodgson recently explained to Express. "Too often in the mainstream media we are seeing overweight people being pushed toward HIIT (high intensity interval training) workouts, circuits, couch to 5k and much more…. Many of these forms of exercise are much more likely to promote injury. If we could do more to promote walking for weight loss, it would be a huge step in the right direction."
If you're interesting in walking your way to a leaner body as you age, the key is to make your walks more challenging by adding in certain elements that will increase calorie burn and help build muscle mass. What that in mind, here are some great walking tips Stonehouse recommends for those aged 50 and over. All of these suggestions will increase heart rate to maximize those fitness gains and help you lean out. So read on—and if walking is your thing, don't miss The Secret Cult Walking Shoe That Walkers Everywhere Are Obsessed With.
Muscle-Building Exercises You Can Do at Home Right Now
Here one professor and exercise expert reveals the best exercises you can do at home to maintain and build your muscles mass.Many of us are regularly going for walks or runs during lockdown but, with gyms closed in a lot of places it's more difficult to lift weights, and we may neglect bodyweight exercises like push-ups.
1. Add in Weights
Osteoporosis, when your bones weaken, is a common issue in individuals 50 and up. Adding some progressive weight bearing to your walks will lower your risk of osteoporosis and help build bone density, which starts to decrease, as you get older. "Even just a few extra pounds on a walk can help improve your bone density while improving your overall health from the exercise," he says.
Bump up the intensity with one or two hand weights (lightweight sets are fine) or wear a weighted vest, backpack, belt or ankle weights—whatever feels most comfortable for you.
2. Add in a Jog or Run Throughout
If running isn't your thing, or you can't due to injury or other health conditions like joint stiffness, try a jog. Or even if jogging the entire distance seems too daunting, start off small and incorporate a few seconds of a jog at a time for a few intervals throughout your walk. Or try a run or sprint boost—if you're comfortable with the output and physically capable, then go for it!
Try adding in 10-30 seconds of jogging into your waking routine, with repetition for a few times throughout your whole walking workout. "The running will help improve bone density from the pressure you had while running but walking will allow you to maintain some level of low intensity exercise and protect your joints," he says.
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Try these two examples that he suggests: 20 minutes of work (run 2 mins/walk 3 mins) for four sets or 30 minutes of work (run 4 mins/walk 2 mins) for five sets. And if walking is your thing, don't miss The Secret Cult Walking Shoe That Walkers Everywhere Are Obsessed With.
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3. Do Interval Walking
If running or jogging is too much still, try speed walking in place of the running. "The goal is to spike your heart rate, which will improve your cardiovascular endurance and make you fitter," he says. "You can use the above exercise for walk/run and simply choose to speed walk instead," he says.
In general, these walking exercises will improve your muscle strength and coordination, as you also build up core strength and keep those pounds off. For more on the benefits of adding difficulty to your walks, see Why This Amazing Walking Workout Is Going Viral.
2. Reduce the time you spend sitting.
Long periods of sitting, if you have had to isolate or if you are working from home, significantly reduces muscle activity – and therefore muscle mass. So if you haven't kept exercising during the pandemic, you can't expect to pick up where you left off.
Take frequent breaks between meetings and introduce a walk at lunch. Stretching and moving around after long periods of sitting prevents fatigue and shortening of muscles – which can improve posture and balance, too.
3. Shake up the exercises you do.
Intense repetition of the same movement or activity can cause wear and tear, often referred to as repetitive strain. This is why it's important to do different exercises, instead of the same thing every day. Alongside cardio workouts, which have benefits for our heart, lung, and circulatory system, try strength training.
Challenging our muscles as we get older with weight lifting and resistance training not only improves neuromuscular function – the communication between the brain and muscles – but improves balance and mobility too. Taking part in exercises that work your cardiovascular system as well as strengthen muscles improves overall wellbeing.
4. Work on the small things.
It's important to work on our big prime muscles – such as our glutes or quads – with walking, running and gym exercises. But it's just as important to work on our small postural muscles too.
For example, the small intrinsic muscles in our feet play an important role in improving strength and balance. Gripping a soft ball between your toes is an easy way to improve these small foot muscles.
Having stability within the joints of your body from postural muscles also allows for these big muscle groups to do their job when walking, running or at the gym. Paying attention to these core postural muscles with activation and control exercises will help prevent injury.
If you're looking to get back to a regular exercise routine after many months off, it's important to make sure you take things slow and change up your routine often. Developing a healthy balance of cardiovascular, strength and resistance training as well as core stability work will improve your musculoskeletal health as well as helping your overall health while preventing injury.
This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.
The Best Exercises for MS to Keep Yourself Mobile .
Staying active can help your multiple sclerosis.Multiple sclerosis is a progressive condition that affects the brain and spinal cord (the central nervous system). In MS, the immune system misfires, attacking the protective coating around your nerve fibers. When this coating, called myelin, is damaged, impulses to your brain can be affected, causing physical symptoms including muscle weakness and numbness, difficulty walking, fatigue, and vision problems may occur.