THIS IS PERSONAL
As an octogenarian, I work out every morning before breakfast – cardio and planks one day, strength building and planks the next. This is only a modification of what I have done for the past 6 plus decades.
I have work-arounds:
- Bone on bone knees
- Arthritis in my knees, hips and fingers
- Right shoulder rotator cuff soreness
The point of this post is to encourage others who have inevitable physical issues, from aging or otherwise, to not give up on exercising for health/fitness. We can generally train the parts of our bodies that are not injured.
It is crucial to prioritize safety and listen to our bodies. Before starting any new exercise program, it is important to consult a healthcare professional or physical therapist. They can provide personalized advice based on our specific conditions.
Low impact cardio
- Look for exercise that is gentler on the joints. Activities like swimming, cycling or using an elliptical machine are good.
- Water aerobics can be an excellent choice. We get resistance without impacting our joints.
- If walking is manageable, we need to choose softer surfaces like grass or a treadmill with cushioning. My cardio choice is to walk on my treadmill, one mile one day, 1/2 mile the next. The handle bars keep me going, as does music when I walk. I increase the speed gradually.
- We should modify movements based on comfort. If cycling causes discomfort, we can try a recumbent bike.
Focus on form
- Reduce the stress on your joints by emphasizing proper form over heavy weights. Consider working with a personal trainer to be assured of proper form.
- Use resistance bands, which provide good resistance without the impact of heavy barbells or dumbbells.
- Machines can work well, since they guide the movement and reduce the need for stabilization.
- Compound movements may strain our joints. Isolation exercises target a specific muscle group and are more likely to eliminate pain or stress.
- Core strength can provide additional support to our lower backs. Planks, bridges and gentle twists are advised. I do planks every morning and keep my core in good shape.
ICE, HEAT AND BRACES
Houston Methodist Medicine tells us the following:
As our bodies adjust to workouts after rehab, there may be soreness as we begin to use our joints and muscles again. We will need to listen to our bodies and adjust accordingly. Heat and ice can help!
Per Dr. Jotwani, “Ice is good for reducing inflammation and swelling, while heat is good for loosening a tight muscle. Depending on your injury and what you are experiencing at the time, either or both of these could be used. It may also help to alternate them.
In some cases, a joint-specific wrap or brace may be recommended to put pressure on the body part, supporting it and restricting abnormal motion. This can prevent re-injury. But a brace isn’t an excuse to overdo it. It’s merely an aid in your recovery”.
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Resistance bands with handles. I use these for full body workouts or in combination with other forms of resistance.
Loop resistance bands. I use these for physical therapy. Women tend to use them as “booty bands”.
Nordic Track treadmill. This is the treadmill I use every day. I get 90 % of my cardio from this treadmill. It is durable, yet relatively inexpensive.
Recumbent bike. Especially for seniors.
I have found Bullworker isotonic/isometric workout tools to be excellent for protecting the joints while providing any resistance level that we may need. I use the Steel Bow and Bow Classic generally for 3 days each week. The Bow Classic is shown below. The exercise is the “archer”, great for back development.
See my Bullworker link at the side of my website. It is a permanent link. Click on the red link for complete information on all Bullworker products. They are high quality home workout tools.
It is always good to warm up before a workout, especially if there are lingering injuries. We also need to do gentle stretching of the areas prone to stiffness.
It is important that we listen to our bodies and modify or skip entirely any movement that causes pain or discomfort. If there is inflammation, we should stop and give our bodies time to recover.
We must be consistent! But there will be days that will call for a lighter workout or the use of different equipment or exercise movements.
Remember this – our bodies are unique and it may take a while to develop and utilize the appropriate routine for the physical shape we may be in. But this does not mean that we should turn into couch potatoes!
Please leave me any comments or questions in the “Comments” section below. Or email me, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Let’s stay active!