Fight Back Against Your Age with Exercise!
Attention: Ages 35+
Which form of Exercise; Cardio, Strength or Flexibility training is better at fighting against my age?
Is this a trick question? The spoiler alert…YES!
You must train all 3!
It is true that most of us will be lulled into cardio training only. It is in most cases the easiest form of exercise to jump right into. Most basic cardio activities like walking, jogging, running, and hiking requires little -- to no equipment.
Many runners, for example, are guilty of concentrating on running and minimal stretching while neglecting strength training altogether. The consequences of neglection of flexibility and resistance training can range from declining speed, performance, and lead to injury!
We are bombarded by messages on social media and from various news sources of how cardio burns calories and zaps fat. This is true and particularly important, but it is only part of the battle. As we age, hormones change and so does our bone density and muscle mass. These are two things that are vital to ensuring you perform at your best regardless of what you are doing. When you train all 3 areas you support a healthy dose of hormones in the body which can lead to stronger bones, more muscles, and less fat!
Why train all three forms of exercise?
There is a major downfall to only concentrating on one area of exercises.
Many people who want to lose weight concentrate solely on cardiovascular training, not realizing that adding in resistance/strength training can increase the rate at which their bodies burn calories as much as 30% post exercise!
In fact, did you know that your body burns calories much more effectively for 24 hours following resistance training routine compared to only 6-10 hour following a cardiovascular workout.
Everybody that is a little overweight could use cardiovascular training because it is the cornerstone of a weight management program and strengthens the heart and lungs. Who doesn’t want better lung compacity and a stronger heart muscle?
Cardio training increases energy levels and elevates our ability to concentrate for longer periods of time. It can also help you increase your endurance for everything from hiking to playing 18 holes of golf. There are not shortages of Cardio activities that are popular when this post was written.
Fitness Activities Popular to today that focuses heavily on cardio activities are:
· Peloton Bike
· The Hydrow (virtual rowing machine)
· The Echelon Bike and Rower
Why Strength Training is Crucial:
In recent years, resistance training has become more popular in main stream culture because of its many benefits including revving up your calorie burning capabilities, decreasing your risk of injury for any activity and ensuring that your bones continue to stay thick and strong. Resistance training can also play a pivotal role in enhancing recreational sports performance. In an article in Men’s Health article Dr. Tom Seabourne, an exercise physiologist explains that gaining one pound of muscle adds 50 calories of fat burning even at rest. Not only will the muscle shape your body and help you perform better but it will also help you to look better and fit better into clothes.
Fitness Activities Popular to today that focuses heavily on Strength activities are:
· Power Lifting
· Olympic Lifting
· Strong Man Competition
· Body Building
Flexibility makes up the final form of exercise and in many ways supports the other two.
Improving your flexibility helps prevent injuries that occur in any sport or recreational activity. It can help reduce muscular pain and tightness and even promotes relaxation. As we age, we also lose range of motion which can prevent us from taking part in activities we love. And let’s be honest, even intimacy can lose its allure as you lose your flexibility.
Let’s look at how these three exercise forms play out in a couple real life examples…
A New Mother will:
1. Will want to build back energy levels quickly so cardiovascular training would be necessary.
2. She would also start increasing daily activities such as lifting, bending, and carrying the baby which she could benefit from strength training and flexibility training.
3. She would cherish better sleep and stress management due to the constant feeding and nurturing of the baby so strength, cardio and flexibility would all play an important role.
4. She would welcome reduced back and other joint pain as well as reduced fatigue and all of these can be managed with strength and flexibility work.
5. She also will be ready to manage her weight more effective so cardio work and strength work would be paramount in this situation.
A Golfer who is strong and flexible and maintains good cardiovascular health:
1. Will hit the ball further because of increased strength and better range of motion from flexibility training that stretches the hips, glutes, chest, shoulder and back.
2. A golfer that focuses on medium to long duration cardio activity like walking, jogging, elliptical training and/or cycling will have more energy for the later holes of golf.
3. And the golfer who strength trains and stretches will reduce soreness and reduce the risk of injury and more importantly speed up recovery from playing a full round of golf.
There is no doubt balance can benefit us all when it comes to fitness. It is obvious to see that regardless of your goals, all three components of balanced fitness are not only helpful but also indispensable.
Here is a good starting point for beginners which are those that have not been exercising at least 2 days per week for 2-6 weeks. If you are in the beginner then start at Step 1, otherwise, move to the step 4.
Step 1: Identity the easiest form of Cardiovascular exercise that you can take part in with out having access to a gym or equipment at home. For most of us this will be walking or jogging.
Step 2: Focus for 1-6 weeks on only one-form-of-exercise like walking until you have built up the habit of exercising. By doing it this way, you will avoid being too sore or worse yet injuring yourself because you started resistance training, and you are not ready yet. Focus on building up your distance, time, and speed of your cardio activity, so you incrementally improve. A good starting time limit is 10 minutes or for distance is one mile on day 1. You can build up from there.
Step3: Once you have the habit of exercising consistently it is time to add in strength and flexibility training. The goal for the # times per week and duration of workout should be 20-60 minutes at 3-5 per week.
Step 4: Add in Strength Training, somewhere between weeks 2-7, depending on your ability to get your body ready for resistance training. If you are a beginner then you should look to start strength training when it feels like you are ready but form most people that will be around week 4. You should at a minimum workout 2 times per week and do movements that work all the major muscle groups in the body.
Step 5: Which can happen simultaneously with step 4 is to add in Flexibility Training. You should stretch a minimum of 3 times per week, and it is always recommended to stretch after any cardio and strength training event to help cool down and recover.
Step 6: If you want to reduce your workout time commitment, but still get great results you should focus on combing all three exercise forms into one workout and do that 3 times per week. That is right do 3 workouts per week and add in cardio training, strength training and flexibility training to get the benefits revealed throughout this post.
If you read this far then you are about to receive a huge bonus about Balanced Fitness Training.
Making a choice on which gym to join, equipment to purchase at your home or exercise class to start is challenging because there are so many. Here some of the businesses that build their workout style around balanced fitness:
This Post was written by Brian Rainey. Brian is a career personal trainer and fitness equipment consultant. Brian has worked for many of the large gym chains and fitness equipment chains. He now specializes in helping people transform their bodies through program and equipment selection based on their goals and needs. You can contact Brian by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.