Here, we look at the conventional wisdom of weaving exercise into your lifestyle, as well as doing weight-bearing and bone-loading activities, both indoor and outdoor. The approach is to:
- build muscle mass,
- strengthen connective tissue, and
- increase bone density,
to maintain the structural components of your body with age.
Try Not to Turn Exercise into a Chore: For adherence over time, try not to turn exercise into a chore. Instead, weave it into your lifestyle just like eating a meal or taking a bath. Realize that health and fitness, which translates into proper nutrition and effective exercise, begins and ends in the home.
Instead of scheduling time at a gym, just spread a couple of in-home workouts along with an outdoor activity throughout the day and follow them until they become second nature.
Do a Mix of Exercises from Indoor and Outdoor Activities: To successfully weave exercise into your life, do an indoor session in the mid-morning, an outdoor workout around 1 P.M., and another indoor activity around 5 P.M. Spread exercise throughout the day. Make each session about half-an-hour in duration, Monday to Friday.
Try to Reduce the Number of Exercises that Work Muscles in Isolation: In the gym, there is a tendency to jump on a machine and work a muscle or muscle group in isolation. Not bad, but it could be much better.
Q. What do you mean by that?
A. This approach can sometimes create imbalances in the muscular system over time. Also, it doesn't reflect the way our bodies function in everyday life.
More often then not we need to engage most of, or our entire body, in movement patterns that involve pushing, pulling, squatting, lunging, and rotating. Working muscles only in isolation does not prepare you for the functional movements of life. Yet, it is these very movements that become so important to maintain as you age.
Do Weight-Bearing Exercises, as often as possible: Here, you are applying the full weight of your body while standing and moving against gravitational and ground forces. These include outdoor activities such as:
- regular walking,
- interval walking,
- hiking on the flats,
- hiking up and down hills,
- interval climbing,
- inline skating,
- interval skating,
- snowshoeing, and
- cross-country skiing.
In addition, to help build stronger connective tissues such as tendons and ligaments at the same time, walk, hike, skate, snowshoe, and ski, up and down hilly terrain. In the woods, you can also hike up and over fallen trees and loose rocks, or try walking or running up and down a sandy hill, several times in succession.
Add Bone-Loading Exercises to your Workout: Here, you need to add some impact so your body is stimulated to increase bone density and build new, stronger bones. You can do the following three exercises to start building stronger bones today:
- Squats while holding a light-weight dumbbell in each hand
- Side lunges to the left and right sides
- Seated rows using resistance tubing with handles
In addition, you can try the following four activities:
- skipping rope,
- rebounding, and
- jumping exercises, although with guidance, caution, and care.
A certified personal trainer can design a safe and effective exercise program to help adults of all ages develop and maintain stronger, healthier bones.
As you can see from the above tips, it's best to start weaving exercise into your lifestyle, starting today!