A recent article by MSN regarding exercises people should avoid after the age of 50 had me livid with rage (ok, not full on rage but a little ticked off). According to experts at the Carolina Orthopaedic & Neurosurgical Associates to determine which exercises all those “silver foxes” should avoid. Well, here’s a breakdown of 14 exercises and my take on whether or not one should avoid them after the age of 50

 

  1. RUNNING STAIRS

 

MSN: Don’t do it

Me: Agree

 

The danger that comes with running actual stairs (not to be confused with a step climber) is the recovery time it takes as we age. Our bones are becoming more brittle and our ability to heal slows down despite all the advances in medicine and technology. A step climber is a great substitute. You’ll still get the same great burn and muscle work without the added risk of falling (at least, not falling far)

 

 

  1. BIKRAM OR HOT YOGA

 

MSN: Don’t do it

Me: Partially Agree

 

The fear of overheating from hot yoga is a legit concern as we age but this is relative based on several factors. First, how hot is the actual room? What’s hot for one person might not be hot for another. Second, how intense is the yoga routine? Are there many movements? Long poses? Finally, most people are dehydrated to begin with. If you’re diligent about your water consumption then the risk of heat exhaustion is extremely minimal.

 

 

  1. HIGH INTENSITY INTERVAL TRAINING

 

MSN: Don’t do it

Me: Disagree

 

What type of HIIT workout are we talking about here? Crossfit? Sprints? Water rower? The truth is most people don’t perform true HIIT workouts. A true HIIT workout would be 10-20s of intense exercise followed by 1-2 min. of complete rest. If anything, and depending on the type of exercise, HIIT workouts are extremely beneficial as they help with fat loss, muscle development, bone density, and increased levels/preservation of testosterone levels. Testosterone is a powerful hormone for men (and women) and the higher, natural levels of testosterone we have as we age the better we will be for longevity.

 

 

  1. SPIN CLASSES

 

MSN: Don’t do it

Me: Partially Agree

 

Similar to the HIIT concept but spin classes are arguably one of the safest forms of HIIT workouts one can do. I do agree with the doctors that if you have any heart, lung, or joint issues then, yes, do this at your own risk.

 

 

  1. PUSHUPS

 

MSN: Don’t do them

Me: Are you f*cking kidding me? (me looking at the doctors in disgust)

 

Aside from being one of the first body weight exercises ever discovered and being part of almost every military training program for a few thousand years, every sport on the planet, and every suburban boot camp known to man, I am a HUGE fan of EVERYONE doing pushups. Yes, if you have wrist issues then your hands should be placed on a surface that allows you grip to maintain a neutral position. Suspension systems, dumbbell handles, kettlebell handles, parallette handles, etc. Shoulders suffer from pushups if 1) arms are not in proper placement or 2) if one has injured shoulders from overuse, sports injury, or accident.

 

 

  1. SQUATS WITH WEIGHTS

 

MSN: Don’t do them

ME: AAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHH!

 

There are so many things wrong with this statement I don’t know where to begin. Having strong legs and core (both greatly enhanced by performing weighted squats) are crucial for a healthy, long life. Granted, you know need to set world records but there are multiple variations of weighted squats one can do as they age: back squats, front squats, box squats, smith-machine squats, goblet squats, and band assisted squats just to name a few. In addition, each person has different hip anatomy, bone length, and range of motion. The same squat that works for one person might not work for another. The most important thing is to find the version that DOES NOT HURT your knees or back. That is it.

 

 

  1. BENCH PRESS

 

MSN: Don’t do it

Me: Partially Agree

 

While bench pressing is a favorite, especially among men, it is one of the fastest ways to exacerbate shoulder and neck pain. However, I would disagree that one should avoid all forms of bench press. Instead, use dumbbells or cable system to mimic the same pattern as bench pressing.

 

 

  1. BURPEES

 

MSN: Don’t do it

Me: Mostly Agree

 

Originating in the military and then bastardized by the “functional training” movement I can say that burpees, when done properly, are safe and very effective at developing cardio and bodyweight strength. However, most people do NOT do them correctly and this leads to back issues. We don’t need that mess as we get older. If you still want to do them then I suggest placing your hands on a bench and perform the burpee from an incline position. Much safer.

 

 

  1. PULL-UPS

 

MSN: Don’t do it

Me: Mostly Agree

 

In all honesty, if you can’t do pull-ups by the time you’re 50 it’s unlikely you’re going to do them which means you’re unlikely to suffer from any shoulder issues from pull-ups. However, I am a HUGE fan of pull-ups and all their variations. It’s arguably one of the best strength builders for the upper body. So, if you’re shoulders are healthy and you can do them, keep doing them. If you can’t but you want to then I recommend different grip variations (this is crucial for strength development and keeping healthy shoulders healthy).

 

 

  1. CRUNCHES

 

MSN: Don’t do it

Me: Agree

 

Seriously, there are a million better ways to train your core than crunches. I would focus on anti-rotation and static holds (ex. planks) to help strengthen the core. I recommend this for anyone despite their age.

 

 

  1. DEADLIFT

 

MSN: Don’t do it

Me: YOU BETTER DO THEM!

 

Similar to the pull-up the deadlift is probably the MOST important strength exercise you do and continue to do as you age. Bad back? You need to deadlift. Weak back? You need to deadlift. Strong, healthy back and you want to keep it that way? You need to deadlift. No, you don’t need to set world records. No, you don’t have to lift the weight from the floor. Perform rack pulls on a smith-machine or elevated kettlebell deadlifts. The point is you better do them!

 

 

  1. JUMPING LUNGES

 

MSN: Don’t do it

Me: Partially Agree

 

This greatly depends on your knee health, athleticism, coordination, etc. If you can do them and they don’t cause pain then I don’t see a reason to stop. I would err on the side of caution and perform fewer reps. The dangerous part is when you begin to fatigue and keep pushing any plyometric exercise.

 

 

  1. SPRINTS

 

MSN: Don’t do it

Me: Partially Agree

 

Similar to jumping lunges this greatly depends on your current abilities. Performs doing banded sprints or sprints on grass would be safer in the event you fell and less pounding on the joints.

 

 

  1. LEG PRESS

 

MSN: Don’t Do it

Me: Agree

 

Yes, there is a safe method to leg pressing but, like many exercises, most people don’t know how to do it correctly. Too much flexion of the lumbar section of the spine and under load can lead to a slipped disc. This leads to nerve pain and that is extremely aggravating, even when you tie your shoes (I know, I’ve been there). Steer clear of this one.

 

 

STAY FIT MY FRIENDS!