We are frequently asked questions concerning exercise and how it applies to both the young and old. There are a lot of variables that must be determined before answering these questions, such as:
A) Is it a child or a junior?
B) Is it someone who is injured or recovering from surgery?
C) Is it someone looking to lose weight; or
D) Is it someone who is elderly and looking to regain strength?
Exercises for Children
We’ll begin with young children and juniors; science and research have demonstrated that kids need to learn to exercise in a specific manner as windows open up in a child’s development. For example, pre-puberty age children should not start lifting weights since testosterone is lacking at this age. Boys and girls develop at different ages, but at this age, they can both benefit from basic neuromuscular or motor pattern type drills which will allow their brains to learn basic movement patterns. From there, they can begin working on balance and agility, followed by individual strength, power, coordination and endurance drills.
Exercises for the Elderly
Those people who are 65+ years of age, who are healthy with no serious physical complaints, should place their focus on maintaining mobility and flexibility. These exercises include thoracic spine or mid-back mobility as well as hip mobility. As I’ve stated in past blogs, we live in a forward world; we sit down, we get in our cars, we work at computers, and all of these movements can cause a bit of C-posturing to develop in our backs. This leads to slouching or slumping which can be improved with the right exercise. Simple getting out and walking will improve all of the above mentioned facets and it’s an easy, inexpensive way to exercise.
Today, great emphasis is placed on weight training; however, I believe the real focus should be on maintaining mobility first through the use of aerobic exercises. This can include use of an elliptical, Stair Masters, bicycles, as well as walking, and each of these will have low impact to joints. As long as you maintain your physical condition through the use of low impact exercises, the chance of developing inflammation in your joints should be significantly lessened.
Warnings Signs to Look Out For
Here at Tulsa Spine & Rehab, we do not believe in the old saying, “No pain, no gain.” Pain should serve as your indicator, or as a “Check Engine” light. This can vary greatly from person to person and children will naturally have more energy with higher aerobic function. The older we become, the more we will need concentrate on making time to exercise. Adults should try to fit in exercise at least three times a week for about 45 minutes each time. If you belong to a gym, that’s great, but it isn’t a necessity. Walking and moving around doesn’t have to be done under a trainer in a gym and exercising on your own will only serve to keep you from losing mobility. Don’t let yourself fall into the cycle we see so many of our patients suffering from; when they begin to hurt, they do less and the less they do, the more they hurt. Carve out time in your week and keep moving!