Exercising As You Age: Good Practices

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Fifty-year-old Dr. Eric Watson works out at Results Personal Training in Sioux Falls.

“Whatever my trainer puts in front of me, basically,” Watson said. “Lots of compound movements, lifting weights, there’s some cardio component to it, kettle bells, so it varies. Little bit of everything.”

When he’s not at the gym, Watson is an orthopedic surgeon at the Orthopedic Institute. He says if you’re 50 or older, there aren’t really exercises to steer clear of.

“If you can do them efficiently and safely, I don’t think there’s any specific things that you should avoid,” Watson said. “And if you’ve been doing them prior, there’s no reason that you just should stop at 50, if you can still do them.”

Watson’s trainer is Corey Howard, also the owner of Results Personal Training. 

“The only thing I would say that should be avoided is anything that creates pain in a joint,” Howard said. “Otherwise, if you can do a movement safely and effectively, and you have a trainer that knows the ins and outs of each specific movement, that they can modify it and scale it so that it’s easier for you to do and doesn’t create pain, go for it.”

“Keep an open mind,” Watson said. “It’s not that you just can’t do things, maybe you need to modify the way you do them, or add some flexibility work. As we get older, we tend to stiffen up some. So adding some flexibility work and some mobility work to your workouts probably makes some sense.”

Weight training is also a must. 

“I mean just from an osteoporosis standpoint, if we stop lifting things, or you don’t load your skeleton, you lose bone,” Watson said. “As we age, you lose muscle.”

“So I think the older we get, the more it is important to pick up heavy stuff and do some strength training,” Howard said.

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