Your workout in your 50s
The focus here is on strengthening your core, engaging your glutes and loosening your hip flexors. Try to do this workout 3-4 times a week - it should take about 30 minutes.
In addition to this workout, I would suggest 2-3 cardiovascular training sessions weekly to build aerobic fitness, choose something you enjoy whether that is cycling, swimming, running or a brisk walk. The key is to track your progress - keep track of the distance you cover in the 30 minutes doing your chosen activity and try to improve on that distance each time you train. Don't whiz through your warm-up and cool-down - the warm-up gets your body ready for exercise by increasing core temperature and stretching out your muscles, while the cool down lengthens out those muscles that often become tight and immobile from too much time sitting in the car, at the office or at the kitchen table.
HOW TO DO THE EXERCISES
* Five minutes of skipping or a brisk walk.
* One Leg Stand: Perform 4 x 5-second holds on each leg.
* Tightrope Walk: Perform 15-20 steps. To Perform: Holding your hands to the sides, imagine walking on a tightrope. Each time your back foot comes off the ground, hold for 2-3 seconds before completing the step. (See page 6 for 'how to')
* Plank: Perform the plank for 30 seconds followed by a 30-second break. Repeat this 5 times. As you get stronger, you can perform the plank for 45 seconds followed by a 15-second break and repeat 5 times.
To perform: Lying on your belly, lift your tummy and legs off the floor and rest on your forearms and toes, palms flat on the floor. Your thumbs should be directly under your nose and your body a straight line from your heel to your hip to your shoulder. If this is too difficult, rest on your knees and forearms, lifting your bum. Focus on squeezing your bum and tummy to protect your lower back. (See page 6 for 'how to')
* Hip Bridge: Perform as many repetitions as you can in 40 seconds, followed by a 20-second break. Repeat 5 times.
To perform: Lying on your back with your palms facing up to the sky and arms resting at your sides, place your feet flat on the floor with your knees bent. Drive your heels into the floor so you are lifting your bum to the sky. Squeeze your glutes at the top of the movement and lower in a slow and controlled fashion. (See page 6 for 'how to')
* Push Up: Perform as many repetitions as you can in 30 seconds, followed by a 30-second break. Repeat 5 times.
* Step Up: Perform 30 seconds on your left leg followed by 30 seconds on your right leg. Take a 45-second break and repeat 5 times off each leg.
* Hip Flexor Stretch: Hold the stretch for 30-45 seconds on each side. Repeat 3 times on each leg.
To perform: Assume a lunge position so that your back knee is on the floor and your front knee is over your front ankle. Bring your hips forward and keep chest proud so that you feel a stretch in your back hip flexor. For a deeper stretch, step more with your front leg.
* Broom Stretch: Perform the broom stretch for 45 seconds in a slow and controlled manner. Repeat 3 times with a little break between each set. To perform: This can be performed with a broom stick or a towel. Start with your arms straight and the broom or towel in front of you at your waist. You will bring the towel over your head and to your bum, keeping your arms straight throughout. As you get more mobile and loose you will bring your hands closer together.
1 One leg stand
Start by facing a wall with your fingertips close to the wall. Standing straight and tall, lift one leg off the ground. Hold for 5-10 seconds before lowering in a slow and controlled manner. Repeat. Only use the wall to help your balance if you feel you need it. To increase the challenge of this exercise close your eyes throughout the movement.
2 Push up
Starting in the push-up position, knees on the floor and hands outside of shoulder width, lower yourself in a slow and controlled manner before pushing your self back up to the start position. Lower until your chest is as low as your elbows. Squeeze your glutes throughout to protect your back.
3 Step Up
You need a stool or step that is a little lower than knee height. Place your left foot on the step and stand all the way tall so that your right leg is now on the step as well. Lower your right leg in a slow and controlled manner back to the ground, and repeat. Your left leg stays on the step throughout.
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