When it comes down to it, it’s not to say that adults over 40 are less capable of completing the same exercises as someone half their age, but it’s more so that the body is more subjective to injury as it ages. Exercise is important for any age group, however there are certain activities that adults over the age of 40 should avoid when possible. Cardio, ab exercises, and lack of sleep all contribute the risk of injury and undesired results. Here is a list of 7 exercises not to do when you are over 40.
1) Jumping Jacks
When speaking of cardio most people would think of cycling or jogging. Jumping jacks are in every adult’s upbringing. You’ve been practicing since you were in first grade physical education and probably clapped your hands in batches of 25. While jumping jacks are certainly great for the heart and get your pulse up to speed, the amount of strain it puts on your knees can be detrimental in bodies over the age of 40. Truthfully, jumping jacks have been known to work multiple muscles in the body and help the blood circulate as well as assist in oxygenation, however if you are looking to have happy joints and avoid torn ligaments, then you might want to stay away from this elementary exercise.
2) High Knee Routines
Again with the knees, adults over the age of 40 are more likely to suffer from injuries related to joints, tendons, and ligaments. Knee problems can often times be genetic, and unless you want to be the next bionic man, you might as well dodge any routines that deal with strenuous knee activity. Rather than nudging your knees up to your chest with this cardio exercise you might consider taking it down a notch with some light jogging or power walking to stretch your muscles. Aside from knee injuries, adults over 40 are also more susceptible to hip injury as high knee routines impact hip flexors. Variations of high knees are incredibly beneficial at a younger age, but as the body begins to lose agility it is important to be conscious of the strain it puts on muscles and bones.
In a way, lunges are the opposite of high knees, focusing on a downward motion as opposed to kicking your knees up. The problem with this is the amount of weight and tension that is put on the entire leg and hips. You might notice cracking in different areas when attempting to do a lunge. That is because tension is being created in your feet, ankles, quadriceps, glutes, calves, hamstrings, and even the core abdomen area. When done improperly— not keeping form in your upper body, lunging abruptly in a jerking motion, not maintaining a 90 degree angle, moving too fast, not keeping knee in a proper location or pointed in the same direction as your foot— you are likely to suffer various injuries and increased soreness as well as fewer results.
Squats have historically been associated with lower back and knee injuries. Others have suggested that squats can cause widened hips. For adults over the age of 40, these three things should be enough to deter you from practicing squats. Knee and back injuries are very difficult to heal at a later age and typically have recurring pains. For both men and women, widened hips can be mistaken for unwanted weight gain. Pants will fit differently, even though it is muscle mass as opposed to fat. Hips are the areas that most people desire to trim down, so experiencing wider hips as a result of squatting routines seems a bit counterproductive. Weight and metabolism are harder to manage over the age of 40, so this added width could possibly result in undesirable bodily appearance.
5) Crunches and Sit Ups
Belly fat is a common accumulation in bodies that have reached 40 and beyond. Consequently, if you are not in pristine shape near the abdomen region prior to your middle age years, then the belly fat will be almost inevitable. Believe it or not, crunches, sit ups, and other abdomen exercises will not aid in the trimming of the belly and waistline. In fact, many of these exercises actual create harmful strain on the spine and neck, causing back injuries and even poor posture. Muscle inflammation is also quite common as individuals tend to put far too much attention on working the surface abdomen muscles rather than their deep core, which is where all the strength lives.
6) Inline Skating and Roller Activities
There are few athletic activities more fun and nostalgic than roller skating or inline skating, however any roller based sport is incredibly dangerous for adults over 40. Obvious risks include falling and muscle strain, which can both result in permanent damage. Unless you want a fractured arm with a lifelong metal pin surgically inserted, it is highly advised that you refrain from roller activities during mid life and watching your children from the sidelines instead. For them, it’s just a scrape or a temporary cast. For you, it could be thousands of dollars, long term pain and discomfort, and triggered metal detectors at the airport. Don’t forget how it feels to land on your tailbone either.
There are tons of ways to build muscle mass in your forties, but deadlift routines should absolutely not be one of them. Deadlifting is an activity that can very easily be done wrong, and for that, it should be avoided by older adults altogether. When performed incorrectly you can subject your spine to severe damage and essentially destroy your back. Many individuals have suffered from lower spine injuries, however it should also be noted that if an injury occurs, or if you lose your grip, there is the risk that you could drop the weights and break your foot. Adults should have someone to spot them during any weightlifting activity, but something such as a deadlift contains the word “dead” for more than just one reason.