Regular exercise is hands-down one of the most important things you can do to slow down aging and offset or delay the inevitable creep of time on mobility, physique, and quality of life. Despite this, you need the right approach to training—especially as you get older and have less wiggle room for error. After all, you aren’t in your 20s forever, and as your body gets older, the mistakes you make can set you back much further in your health and progress. That’s why today you’ll learn about seven fitness habits that destroy your body before 60 so you don’t include any of them in your routine.
The following are the seven most common pitfalls I see in my clients’ approaches to fitness as they head into their 60s. If you fall into one or more of these, consider adjusting your workout routine accordingly. Always remember that a healthy diet full of fruits, vegetables, and protein combined with plenty of sleep and good hydration are key non-exercise factors that go into making sure you stay fit and healthy into your golden years.
Keep reading to learn about the seven fitness habits that destroy your body before 60. And next, be sure to check out the 7 Strength Training Habits That Are Destroying Your Body by 40.
While cardio is excellent for heart health and can help manage weight, too much of it can actually be detrimental. While most people do not need to worry about too much cardio, if you are consistently doing hours of cardio each day and neglecting other forms of exercise, this is suboptimal for long-term, well-rounded fitness gains for an individual at any age. Balance is key. Incorporate a mix of cardio, strength training, and flexibility exercises into your routine.
In line with item #1, strength training is an absolute must for ensuring you maintain your muscle tone, balance, bone strength, and overall mobility as you age. Contrary to popular belief, strength training isn’t just about building massive muscles. Neglecting strength training can lead to muscle imbalances, decreased strength, and a higher risk of osteoporosis.
Flexibility and mobility often take a back seat in many fitness routines, but they are essential for maintaining a full range of motion in your joints. Ignoring stretching and mobility work can lead to decreased flexibility, muscle imbalances, and a higher risk of injuries. Incorporating activities such as yoga, foam rolling, general stretching, and exercises using full ranges of motion is a key part of a comprehensive anti-aging fitness program.
While it’s important to stay consistent with your exercise routine, it’s equally important to give your body time to rest and recover. Overtraining can lead to a variety of issues, including decreased immune function, hormonal imbalances, increased risk of injuries, and loss of motivation. My general recommendation is to take a full day of rest after every two days of working out to ensure you recover and benefit from your workout program.
While you can expect a certain level of discomfort when you do resistance training or other forms of intense exercise, pain is a clear signal from your body that something isn’t right. Ignoring pain can lead to serious injuries and long-term damage. If you “feel it” in your knee or lower back when performing a given exercise, stop, check you are doing the proper form, and if the pain persists, consult with a licensed medical professional.
Your body needs water to regulate temperature, transport nutrients, and maintain joint health. Despite this, many of us do not drink enough water each day. Acute effects of dehydration include decreased energy and focus, constipation, lightheadedness, and other discomfort. Chronic dehydration can have devastating effects on your body including issues with your kidneys and even increased mortality. If you sweat a lot when working out, be sure to replace lost fluids with water or an electrolyte beverage—especially if you tend to eat a diet low in salt.
If you do resistance training, it’s important to focus on compound movements that hit multiple muscle groups. Isolation exercises can be beneficial for body sculpting and rehabilitation purposes. However, overemphasizing them at the expense of compound exercises can lead to muscle imbalances and also rob you of the many benefits that come from functional movements like squats, deadlifts, pull-ups, and overhead presses. As a rule of thumb, your resistance workouts should include three to four compound exercises and no more than one or two isolation exercises.