Just because you got older and maybe feel the best years of your life working out in the gym are behind you, does not mean you start to neglect certain body parts namely your legs.
I have been training in gyms for over 25 years, needless to say, working your legs is one of the hardest workouts you will go through if done correctly and with proper intensity, that's why so many avoid leg work to begin with.
It's tough work and can take every bit of mental fortitude to get through a well programmed workout.
As we age,our legs become even more important to our longevity and quality of life.
Yet, I see many of my counterparts over 60 neglecting their legs and hip area all together, its almost like they have forgotten they have a pair, we tend to take them for granted until we find out we are struggling to get out of chair.
They become more important to us as we age for our day to day functioning.
When your younger they are not necessarily show case muscles and get put on the back burners more or less.
For many of us if we do train our legs, it's minimal work with a couple of machines possibly at the end of a workout.
As we get older no doubt we all begin to suffer some sort of orthopedic problems whether it knees or hips due to osteoarthritis or other previous injuries from just wear and tear.
So there will be times some precautionary measures like the type of exercises or the amount of weight that is used needs to be taken into consideration.
However, building and maintaining strong legs is vital not only to your overall mobility as you age but, it also has a tremendous anabolic effect if worked using compound exercises like the leg press for those of us that cannot squat safely any longer as one example of exercise modification.
Compound exercises in general or multi-joint exercises as they are known also, has a tremendous effect in stimulating anabolic hormones within our bodies as they tend to work multiple muscles at once and who can benefit more from that then older adults?
Some of the exercises I take myself through at least two times a week a week are as follows:
Cybex Leg Press 10-15 repetitions for 5 sets.
Squats in the Power Rack 15 repetitions with 100 pounds, I stay light due to total knee replacements.
Air Squats 15 repetitions 4 sets.
Hamstring Curls either prone or sitting 12-15 repetitions 3 sets
Calf Raises 15 repetitions for 4 sets
I also work at a fast pace allowing 20-30 seconds between sets therefore it helps increase the intensity I lack by not using heavy weights that could compromise my knees at this point
Neglecting our legs is just not something people in my age group should do, injuries, pain etc... are just a part of life.
Learn to work around it and modify your workouts. Its better to modify things than to stop training your legs altogether.
|Hamstring Curls /prone|
Stronger legs, hips and a low back for that matter help build a solid foundation.
When you train your legs, you also get some carryover to all the other muscles throughout your body.
You want to include leg workouts at least one day and preferably two days a week and concentrate on your legs for quality growth and strength.
If you work your legs properly and with adequate intensity, one time a week will be sufficient for those of us over 50. Just listen to your body when it comes to frequency however.
To have a great looking upper body physique and then a pair of legs that look like they came out of a bucket of chicken tells most of us that you are not willing to put in the work needed to become the best you can be.
This is what will separate you from the average citizen.
Stronger legs mean better overall growth, more strength balance along with body stability.
Stronger legs, hips and gluteal area as we age also will mean a higher quality of life when it comes to being able to physically function and help later in life when it comes to preventing falls.
Richard Haynes PTA/CPT
Total Joint Fitness LLC
|Richard Haynes is a Physical Therapist Assistant who works in the home health sector in Bradenton, Florida.|