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Training Smarter

I had to take this week off because once again, my knees were acting up. I don’t know about you, but as an athlete, I expect my body to respond the way I want it to–to lift what I want to lift, run how far I want to run and NOT break down. Unfortunately, I’ve been thinking that way for over 30 years. As a baby boomer, it’s not so easy to recover, is it?

Yesterday’s workout was just 30 minutes on the elliptical-on a low setting and then some chest work. It felt great. It felt like MORE! The hardest thing for our head space is to not overdo it. You know how it is, you feel terrific because your body truly had a chance to recover since you had to take off for recovery. Now you could probably run that 5 miles and lift for another hour after that. HOWEVER! The next couple of days would be hell. You’ll wake up not being able to move anything and feel like your legs and knees are on fire for at least 3-4 days.

The smarter move would be to have a little patience and start slow. Take that next week and just do basics with a little cardio thrown in. We don’t have as much synovial fluid around our joints. It takes longer to warm up and there’s not the cushioning we used to have. That’s why we get shorter, too. Not as much around our spinal cord. Sucks, doesn’t it? I wasn’t that tall to begin with!

The best way to exercise at our age is to combine weight lifting with things like balance training and low impact cardio. Weights are important for BOTH men and women, as it keeps osteoporosis at bay, as well as keeping our bones together and muscle burns more calories than fat, so you’ll keep your metabolism higher. Try to work with free weights, as they’re better for bone density. They place more load on the bones, especially the spine and legs. Bone is constantly breaking down and strength training provides the right amount of stress to cause it to rebuild.

Balance declines with age, so working “off center” either with a stability ball, BOSU or even standing on one leg while lifting keeps those brain synapses working. You’ll notice a difference in your balance within a week!

Cardio is important not just for burning calories (although you’ll end up burning almost as much with the weight lifting), but for heart health and keeping your blood pressure down, as well. And sweating cleans pores, so your skin will look all glow-y. We love that!

Being over 40 doesn’t mean we have to “grow old gracefully.” It just means we have to live smarter and make sure we do ENOUGH exercise to make a difference. Remember, yoga twice a week or the occasional ZUMBA class IS NOT ENOUGH! Do something 4-5 times a week to keep your figure. And stop eating cookies.

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