As we get older, the training focus needs to shift toward preservation and protection.

As we roll into our 50s, the health benefits of maintaining an active lifestyle become much more apparent. This is partly due to the decline in our physiological systems that are affected by the aging process. The importance of including strength training should no longer be considered a recommendation, but rather a necessity. The training focus needs to shift toward preservation and protection, instead of pushing and powering through. Take a look at why, and what we can do about it:

Decreased Ability to Preserve Muscle Mass

We are in a constant state of muscular breakdown, which can greatly increase our chances of injury. Incorporating exercises, like the ones below, are a huge benefit to maintaining muscle mass and bone density:
• Deadlifts
• Squats with weights
• Press ups
• Pull ups

A Loss of Balance and Control

It is not uncommon for some of our motor skills—such as balance— to slowly decrease as we age. This can impact our technique and lead to injury. Exercises that may help manage coordination and retain overall neural awareness include:
• Single-leg standing hold
• Single leg on an uneven surface (BOSU)
• Single-leg hops
• Landing drills

Reduction in Muscular Strength and Endurance

Our bodies naturally slow down as part of the aging process. Training becomes harder, and recovery takes longer. Below are core and injury prevention exercises
that can be added to any strength program:
• Side leg raise
• Side + full plank
• Standing high knee raise
• Clamshell raise

Nick Beer is a former elite triathlete from Great Britain. Having competed around the world in some of the top races, he’s now a strength and conditioning coach, specializing in sports-injury rehabilitation.