This is also available in: Dansk
Advice and knowledge from the physiotherapist.
Denmark takes the lead in the EU when it comes to physical activity. But a lot of exercise is not the same as the right exercise.
We are very good at working out in Denmark. We are actually the country in the EU that works out the most. According to a large study that Local Government Denmark published, 31 pct. of everyone above 15 spend at least five hours a week on physical activity. But does that mean that we can rest on our laurels? No, says physiotherapist Anders Pedersen. The numbers say nothing about whether the workout we do is the one that benefits our bodies the most. The right exercise must be adapted to our age.
It has to be fun
The most important thing is that you find your workout fun. No matter what kind of workout we do throughout our lives it has to be meaningful for us. We will not continue exercising if it becomes annoying or routine. Exercise should preferably be easily doable. That is why home workouts are a good supplement or alternative. A lot of us have a busy schedule where it can be difficult to make time to go to the gym.
In this article you can read a little about what kind of workouts Anders Pedersen recommends as particularly good depending on, where you are in your life.
When we are young the most important thing is that we move our body and use many different aspects of it. As a young person you are growing, and our brain and the body is more malleable. It is therefore important that you make sure to challenge all the different muscle groups to support a healthy and strong body.
CROSS PATTERN exercises are important when the body is growing as it strengthen your body’s ability to send data. It has great meaning for the development of your physique and intelligence. Cross pattern exercises are exercises which combine the right and left side and work across the midline of the body e.g. in something so simple as when we walk or run. Cross patterns make the two halves of our brain work together better. Left brain half controls the right side of the body and vice versa.
It is our pons which is essential when it comes to sending messages to the different parts of the body we wish to activate. Our pons function as a kind of middle station between areas in our brain and as a transmission channel for our motor nerve tracts and our fine motor skills.
That means that you both strengthen your physique and your intelligence when you do cross pattern exercises – and at the same time you reprocess the amount of data your pons gets used to sending. And that is good.
BALANCE exercise is important. When we train balance, the brain sends an enormous amount of information around to many different areas in the body. Amongst other things balance involves the sight, the ear and the senses in and around all our joints.
Balance exercises both strengthen the physical and mental well-being, which is important while we grow and develop ourselves.
WEIGHTLIFTING exercise. Socially there is an increasing focus on big butts, upper arms and abs. This is also the case for the very young, whom we now see many of at the gym. Previously it would scare us when children and young adults wanted to weightlift, however gradually we have begun to accept and support this cultural change. You just need to remember that it is children and they are not finished developing yet.
There is a tendency to exercise motivated by looks. It is a lot better to think “how does my body work” because it needs to last many years.
Changed life conditions
In the period between 20 and 40, the life conditions of many changes. We finish our education and many settle down. That means that, unlike earlier, when we only had ourselves to think about, we now have more things in our life. It is also here the foundation for obesity can become one of the problems, we later have to fight. For many it is a period which is characterized by having less focus on and time for taking care of yourself.
CIRCUIT exercise. We must make sure that we keep moving. It is important that you don’t think it HAS to be in a gym, because it is especially in this life period that it can be difficult to make all the scheduled fitness if you have to go to a gym to exercise. Therefore, many can benefit from home training to keep in shape. Do you need good ideas on how to keep yourself inspired then you can read more here.
Many of us have sedentary work and are inactive for many hours. Your metabolism is lowered as our activity level is lowered. It is when the metabolism is lowered, and we still eat the same that we are in risk of developing problems with obesity. But it does not take as much as we think to keep in good shape. Even though the Danish Health Authority recommends 30 minutes of exercise a day it does not have to be continuous 30 minutes.
If you exercise 6 x 5 minutes during a day that is fine. If you have time for the full 30 minutes program, then that’s great.
It is a problem that we are creating an A- and a B-team. While the A-team are being rewarded for doing everything after the book the B-team often consists of those of us who does not have the time.
It is about integrating exercise in your everyday life, so it does not become a pressure.
WEIGHTLIFTING. Unfortunately, the many good intentions slide away from us when we are in the working age. It is important that we are attentive when it comes to the fact that we are more and more people who have sedentary work. It is therefore also important to think about the shoulders, neck and arms. Many hunches when sitting at a desk which in the long-term can result in increased risk of stooping. Depending on what you work with, it is therefore important that you adapt your exercise to the work that you have. Do you sit down often you increase the risk being stooping and it is therefore your antigravity muscles you need to strengthen. You can read more about the antigravity muscles here on this site. It is about strengthening the long stretches if you are sedentary. In contrast if you are a window cleaner or standing up most of your day then, yes, focus should be on your stomach and pelvis muscles.
It is in the period between the 20’s and 40’s that we found the “bad habits” and the patterns which will be significant for the rest of our lives. Especially make sure that you get up and move if your work is sedentary.
It takes an extra effort
If you have not taken proper care of your body, it is in this period that the bad habits break through. You suddenly experience how it takes an extra effort if you want to keep in shape and stay healthy.
One of the things you have to pay particular attention – to and which greatly affects women in this age group – is osteoporosis.
Through life there is an ongoing interaction between formation (building) and resorption (breaking down) bone mass. When we are young the formation is greater than the resorption and the result is an increased bone mass. When we are approaching 40 a slow decalcification starts and continues for the rest of our lives. Therefore, it is important that you strengthen your bones, as they can become porous. When women reach menopause – and the estrogen production reduces – the decalcification increases and as a result so does the risk of osteoporosis.
WEIGHT BEARING EXERCISES such as walks, runs, gymnastics and ball games are particular important when you want to strengthen your bones. Exercises which stimulates the bones results in an increased absorption of calcium and so leads calcium back into the bones.
Besides exercise, which strengthen our bones, it is also important to be aware of your diet and make sure you get enough vitamin D.
In this period, it is all about maintaining the good habits you hopefully already have established. This means that you, as previously mentioned, need to remember to stimulate your metabolism. In this life period a lot of people regain time for themselves. Therefore, it might make sense to seek professional help from a personal trainer or a physiotherapist to make
a workout program which is tailored to you and your body. Here a gym might be good as you can get advice on how to make a good program with the right exercises.
WEIGHT LIFTING. Be aware to get around all muscle groups. A lot of us experience problems with musculoskeletal system in this period. The body does not do the same as you are used to, and you need to respect that, so you do not get injured in ways that could back fire later in life.
It takes a longer time to recover so it can be a good idea to seek council or help to make a program which is tailored to you and your body.
Focus on balance
Our whole life we strain our bodies with positions e.g. desk work – which counteracts our upright position and press us down in the curved body we had when we were fetuses in our mothers’ stomach. We move with gravity. It is therefore extremely important that we make sure to strengthen those muscle groups which keeps us straight and upright.
When we move into the life phase of 60+ the risk for stooping grow bigger. Many elderlies become more bent and for that reason our walking patterns become more locked, where many of us have to take small steps to not lose our balance.
Perception becomes worse in this period, where sensory input, joints and eyes become worse at treating the many inputs we are exposed to simultaneously. Many elderlies lose their driver’s license because we have a more difficult time treating the many simultaneous sensory inputs, when we grow older.
BALANCE EXERCISE is therefore a focus area now, where we have to live with any infirmities we have collected throughout our life. It is in this period we see a lot of falls with following hip fractures and it is here the balance and response exercises are important. You may add response exercises, where you train your swiftness, so you can react faster if you should lose your balance.
You can benefit from working out at home. Use a balance board and walk on bare feet so you stimulate your senses and keep your brain going also purely physical. Make quick movement exercises to train your responsiveness.
WEIGHT LIFTING and CIRCUIT exercises are also good to implement in our workout habits, which should be regular by now. Nordic walking is good as it strengthens both balance and circuit, but it requires that you learn how to use the poles right first, so you do not end up with a shoulder injuries. We can actually use many of the same exercises we used as children in this life phase as well.
The most important thing is that you listen to your body and workout the way that suits you and your age.
Osteoporosis is a disease, where the strengthen of the bones is decreased due to a low calcium concentration. It weakens the bones which means that there is an increased risk of breaks e.g. in the vertebra, thigh bones, hips and arms. The disease is most frequent amongst the elderly and more frequent amongst women than men. Women above 50 years have a 40-50 pct. greater risk of a bone fracture as a result of the disease. Amongst men the risk is only 15-20 pct. The disorder has no symptoms and is therefore found because of the bone fractures.
Bone friendly lifestyle
According to the Danish Health Authority there are three essential points in a bone friendly lifestyle.
1.Eat healthy and varied with enough calcium and vitamin D
- Helps keep the calcium and the strength of the bones
- Improve the muscle strength and balance, posture, fitness and coordination
- Prevent and/or reduces falls and fractures
- Decreases pain and increases mental health
3. Limit tobacco and alcohol
This is also available in: Dansk