Exercise never stops being important, whether you are a tiny baby developing neck muscles or a centenarian. The problem is that as you age, bones, tendons, muscles and ligaments get injured more easily and don’t recover as quickly. Add on a lifetime of collected injuries and exercise becomes more important and more challenging. So what exercises should you avoid after you reach your 40th birthday? Read on to discover the eight worst exercises you can do after age 40.
1. Intense Cardio
Yea! No more cardio! Ummm, no. Missed the word “intense”. Those long hours of exercising at the top of your level, pushing, pushing. The demands of intense cardio can breakdown muscles that they don’t heal as quickly; decrease gains; increase cortisol production that leads to fat deposits; and builds up dangerous free radicals. Instead, go for high-intensity intervals training (HIIT). Go shorter, go harder, and rest in between sets. You’ll see more fat burning and exercise that all-important muscle, your heart.
Crunches and sit-ups can cause injuries to your spine and neck. You can end up with back pain or exacerbate an already injured back. Crunches are not particularly effective at getting rid of belly fat, despite the infomercials selling you easy sit-up solutions. They do work great on trim, fat-free bellies! Instead, do planks (properly) and work out your core without crunching your backbones and muscles. You need to strengthen core muscles to protect your back. Planks are great for this.
The last thing your aging back and knees need are squats. They are great for your glutes and legs, but your 40-year-old back will pay. Aging knees are pretty fussy about excessive bending, especially when weight-bearing. Save your knees and try to avoid knee replacements by avoiding squats. Squats build hip muscles and make you look heavier. Add a normal tendency to deposit fat on middle-aged hips and squats may add to the appearance of fat.
4. Leg Extensions
The leg extension machine is inherently bad, so all people should avoid them. Knees aren’t designed to fully extend while moving weights. The angle is abnormal and that adds to the wear and tear on your knees. Adding weights just increases the chance of damaging knees. Young athletes who use these machines often find themselves developing chronic knee pain as they age. Knees age badly, so avoid this machine and encourage your young workout companions to avoid it as well.
5. Leg Press
Along with the leg extension, the leg press is a machine you should avoid. It is hard on your knees and back as a young athlete. As an older athlete, back and knees will pay the price of using this machine. It can be hard to press forward, especially with heavyweights and keep your back in proper form. There are kettle ball exercises that will provide the same workout without grinding your knees away and making the small of your backache.
Deadlifts are great workouts for the younger athlete. If you add this exercise to your routine, make certain you are doing it correctly. There is a reason why the poor form is a gym in – it is dangerous.
Poor form leads to spinal injuries and knee problems. Older athletes may want to avoid deadlifts if you haven’t done them before. You probably have aches and pains already, so why add to them? Instead, use kettle balls and you will get a similar workout.
7. Triceps Dips
Triceps, the muscles at the back of your arms that jiggle, as you age, are the targets for triceps dips. Improper form can tear rotator cuffs. Since you probably have micro tears or old rotator cuff injuries, you’ll be reinjuring them. Rotator cuff injuries are painful and take a long time to heal. Try exercises where you aren’t using your weight but a cable weight instead. You’ll get the same workout but will keep your rotator cuffs happier.