As I’m inching closer to my golden years, I’m thinking more about the right exercises to make sure I’m in good physical form. Most of the older people I know (over 50) who are in good shape started way before they hit 50.
On the contrary, most of the people I know who are in bad shape never really got started at all. But, as soon as I hit 50 years of age, I began thinking about being the most spectacular 75-year-old I could be. Provided I’m fortunate enough to get there, what would I have to do to ensure that?
Obviously, we need cardio because it gets you moving and gets your heart pumping. We also need weight training to maintain muscle mass. Stretching is important to stay loose. Those are things I’ve focused on for many years. Now, mobility training is in the forefront of my mind, something I can no longer neglect.
Flexibility is the ability of muscles, tendons and ligaments to lengthen correctly. Stretching helps achieve that end. Mobility is the ability of a joint to move freely through a given range of motion without restrictions. That said, mobility training must include targeted exercises that test and improve your movement.
For instance, in our culture, we sit a lot. You’ve probably heard the term that “sitting is the new smoking.”
That’s because excessive sitting tightens your hips, which restricts your movement when you get out of the chair. Those restrictions could lead to injury while trying to do simple things like squatting. To the contrary, in many countries around the world, people have toilets that are in the ground or at floor level. To use it you must go into a deep squat, which tests your ankle, knee and hip mobility. Simply due to the ability to go into a deep squat, you decrease the odds of lower-body injuries, have more freedom of movement and you can enjoy more physical activities.
All joints of the body can benefit from more mobility training exercises, not just the hips. It may be the most important component of your training regimen as you get older. This is where those who do yoga have a great advantage, but there are many ways to gain greater mobility.
Keep in mind that physical fitness is not just about looking good, it’s also about freedom of movement.