Adding weight to your workout part 3 – The back.

Very important muscles to exercise as we age are the upper back muscles to prevent that hunched over look where the chest muscles are too tight and the upper back muscles are weak.  Exercises that don’t use any equipment to work the upper back aren’t thick on the ground, however there are a couple.  If you can’t safely get up and down from the floor (which this exercise requires) then please comment and I will post another exercise that you can do.

The (snazzily named) Y-T-I raises target the muscles of your upper back that stabilize your shoulder blades  and strengthen your shoulder muscles.

Y Raise

  1. Lie facedown on the floor with your arms resting on the floor above your head, completely straight and at a 30-degree angle to your body, so your body forms a Y shape.
  2. Your palms should be facing each other so that the thumbs point up (as if you were doing an ok sign!)
  3. Raise your arms as high as you comfortably can, concentrate on your upper back doing this work and not your arms.

 T Raise

  1. Still lying facedown move your arms so that they’re out to your sides—perpendicular to your body.
  2. Your thumbs should be still pointing upwards with palms now facing forwards.
  3. Raise your arms as high as you comfortably can, concentrate on your upper back doing this work and not your arms.

I Raise

  1. Still lying facedown move your arms so that your body forms a straight line from your feet to your fingertips.
  2. Like with the Y your palms should be facing each other  with your thumbs pointing up.
  3. Raise your arms as high as you comfortably can,  concentrate on your upper back doing this work and not your arms.

Do 10 reps of each Y, T and I  (immediately after one another) and then rest for 1 minute before doing another 10 reps of each exercise.

For a no equipment required lower back and core exercise please see the following article I wrote which details both Bird Dog (great name!) and the plank.

Before starting any new exercise program please check with your doctor and clear any exercise changes with them

If you have any questions on this article, or any questions about exercise and the over-50s please post a comment. By subscribing to this blog you will be informed of any new articles. You will not receive any spam email.

For more information on Personal Training please go here

Whole Life Fitness, Personal Training for the over-50s

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Walking for a longer, healthier life.

Did you know current research  by researchers at the U.S. National Cancer Institute has shown that participation in  regular exercise  after 40 may raise life expectancy by up to 7 years?

That regular exercise could be as something as simple as a brisk walk.

In addition to living longer regular exercise may also lower risk for memory problems.

I run a small group exercise class in Farnham Park every Friday morning for the over 50s. We combine a brisk walk with resistance exercises using dynabands or body weight.  This is a class for all levels of fitness – each exercise will have an adaptation for you.

So if you fancy living longer and being physically and mentally fit to enjoy those extra years why don’t you come along and join us. If you have any questions then please call Helen on 07785747669.

Before starting any new exercise program please check with your doctor and clear any exercise changes with them.

Why it’s never too late to pick up a weight

Done properly, safely, and consistently, exercise has been shown to slow and even reverse age-related disease. A study entitled “Do muscle mass, muscle density, strength and physical function similarly influence risk of hospitalization in older adults?”[1] 3,000 people in the 70-80 age group found weak strength, poor function and low muscle density were associated with a greater risk of hospitalisation.

Research shows that muscle strength declines by 15 percent per decade after age 50, and 30 percent per decade after age 70. Think about everyday activities, such as rising out of a chair unaided, getting out of the bath or putting shopping away: without a basic level of muscle strength and power to draw upon, the simplest of tasks can become impossible which has a massive impact upon the individual’s potential to be independent and hence on their psychological well-being.

Resistance programs can help reverse and prevent muscle loss and is a type of strength training that can use body weight, free weights, exercise machines, or elastic bands (dynabands) to strengthen muscles. The following are benefits of resistance training.

  • Improved muscular strength. The ability to shift heavy objects in house or garden
  • Improved muscular endurance. The ability to move weight around repeatedly such as climbing the stairs
  •  Increased bone strength. A decreased risk of fractures.
  •  Increased lean tissue. Increase metabolic rate and improve body composition

There is also evidence that older individuals with greater muscular strength may have a lower risk of developing mild cognitive impairment and Alzheimer’s disease, according to research published in the November issue of the Archives of Neurology[2].

Resistance training can also aid weight management as muscle tissue is metabolically active and the more of it you have the more calories you will burn making maintaining a healthy weight much easier. The recommendation for an active, independent older adult is resistance training should be done on up to 4 days per week and a whole body approach should be employed. However this is a goal that Whole Life Fitness can help you achieve rather than a starting point If you have any questions about this article or resistance training please leave me a comment and I will get back to you as quickly as possible.

Whole Life Fitness, Personal Training for the over-50s

[1]Do muscle mass, muscle density, strength, and physical function similarly influence risk of hospitalization in older adults?

[2]Association of Muscle Strength With the Risk of Alzheimer Disease and the Rate of Cognitive Decline in Community-Dwelling Older Persons

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