The three biggest fitness mistakes people over 50 make

Joe Pinella

If you’re over fifty, your body has probably accumulated some dents and dings and bad habits over the years. Fitness for people over fifty is not the same as it is for twenty-year olds. Here are some of the biggest mistakes we make in our quest to stay healthy and pain-free:

Mistake #1 Not working out at all because you hurt!

When you have arthritis pain and stiffness, the last thing you may feel like doing is exercising. It’s easier just to take a pain killer. But that is the worst thing you can do. Physical inactivity only leads to more pain, more restriction and worse overall health. Although, for you to begin engaging in physical activity again might require some pain relief first in order to do so. Many suffering from arthritis have tried out what is often called the best cbd cream for pain for some relief from their condition and to make it more manageable.

Your body was designed to move! Nature has a rule: move it or lose it. When you don’t move your body, your risk goes up for every major disease: heart disease, stroke, diabetes, cancer and dementia.

The good news is that physical activity can prevent or even reverse all that. The right kind of exercise can actually relieve arthritis pain. It can loosen up stiff, sore joints and stimulate the flow of soothing synovial fluid through your joints.

Mistake #2 Working out too hard!

We have been conditioned to believe that more is always better; that in order to benefit, we must work harder.

We learned as young adults to work as hard as we could; thinking that the more soreness we felt later, the more benefit we were getting. Actually, we were breaking down muscle fibers and rebuilding it, which produces micro-scarring of the muscle tissue. This micro-scarring shows up later in life as the so called ‘pains and stiffness of old age’.

To heal without further damage, you must work within your current limits. Whether you need to heal from arthritis pain or you are just trying to get into better shape, working to the point of pain or soreness is counterproductive.

Working to the point of gentle discomfort will eventually expand your capacity and range of motion with no side effects. Think of exercise as a medicine that has to be delivered in the right dose, at the right time.

Restorative exercise, like Healing Movements Qigong, gently rebuilds muscle the way babies build muscle. Gently stress the muscle, then rest. The muscle responds by growing new muscle fiber to accommodate the new demands put upon it.

Mistake #3 Working on just the part that hurts.

You can make it worse because the cause of your pain may actually originate somewhere else. Our everyday movements like walking or bending over or reaching overhead, use multiple muscle groups and joints, which work together in an integrated way. Your body instinctively knows the right muscles to fire for any given movement.

But if you have been injured or have overused one muscle group, your body will bypass the injured area and use other muscles to accomplish the same task, like a limp after an injured ankle. This sets up a muscle imbalance, which remains after the acute pain has gone away. This imbalance will eventually cause further injury down the line leading to chronic pain.

Functional, whole body workouts challenge the body to work collectively as a whole, firing up the right muscles in a sequential pattern.

Repairing old injury patterns is critical for us. Increasing range of motion and decreasing muscle stiffness is crucial too. Building muscle strength and cardiovascular fitness gently works better for us. Increasing the strength and flexibility of connective tissue is important to injury prevention since most of the over fifty sports related injuries are to tendons and ligaments, not to muscle or bone.

I teach these techniques in classes at SaddleBrooke One Fitness Center.

Tuesdays: Healing Movement Qigong 10:15-11:15 a.m.

Thursdays: Healing Movement Qigong 10:00-11:00 a.m.

Tuesdays and Thursdays: Elite Sports Conditioning 2:30-4:00 p.m. Call to see if you qualify, 520-343-3523.