Fitness · Health

What’s Age Got to Do With It? Workouts for Women Over 40

One often maligned gym machine is the Leg Extension (see image above). Someone not well informed in kinesiology wrote that it puts undue strain on the knee joints. The truth is the machine is not poorly designed and provides excellent isolation for the quadriceps muscles. However, attention must be paid to ensure that the back support and position of the front pad are adjusted for your height. For beginners or those with knee issues, it is better to start with a reduced range of motion and light resistance. The use of this machine with proper technique can be very beneficial in strengthening the muscles that support the knee, which is why leg extensions are prescribed as a part of rehabilitation therapy after a knee injury.

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The common sense analysis can be applied to most of the exercises in these kinds of articles. Another exercise that gets a negative review is the “Lat Pull Down” done behind the head. Again, it isn’t the machine that is poorly designed, it is the manner it which it is used. Having a wide grip on the bar and pulling it down behind your head requires a great deal of shoulder flexibility. If someone doesn’t have good flexibility in the shoulders, then this movement could put a strain on that area. The simple solution is to grip the bar with your hands only shoulder width apart and pull it down in front of you (see image above). This accomplishes the same strengthening benefit to the back muscles as the other pull-down exercise without the risk. Again, it isn’t the exercise itself that is bad, but the way it is executed.

However, the articles that claim that there are exercises that are the best for us as we age must be interpreted carefully as well. Yoga practitioners will recommend yoga.  Passionate cyclists will recommend their workout of choice.  The key is to choose what you love to do, base your fitness regimen around this core activity and keep it up.

Everyone should evaluate their regimen to see if it covers all the bases for a complete fitness program. A balanced fitness program should include aerobics, strength training, and flexibility. And don’t forget balance exercises!  Many of us will neglect one or two of the components, which can leave a big gap in our overall fitness and reduce the potential health benefits from regular exercise. So, the best thing is to see what you are missing and start to add that in. Then you will have the right exercises for the rest and best of your life.

Stay active and be well.

 

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