Linda Melone
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3 Fitness sabotaging habits that age you (and you don’t know you’re doing them)

I love to people watch. Whether it’s a Starbucks, an airport lounge or a waiting room at the doctor’s office, I make up entire stories in my head about total strangers, imagining what their lives are like once they leave the premises.

This not only makes me extremely annoying, but it’s also honed my powers of observation and provided fodder for this blog.

For example, I pay particular attention to the grey haired people (my age) at the gym. 

It’s not just because I’m happy they’re taking care of themselves.

             Don’t mind me, just being nosy… helpful

Although that’s part of it.

And not just because I’m nosy.

Although that’s also part of it.

I observe their workouts, the exercises they do, and how they move when they enter the gym and in between exercises.

It’s like reading between the lines, people style.

And these moments count the most.

Because honestly, who cares if you can lift big weights If you can’t get up off the bench until paramedics arrive?

Plus, the tiny percentage of time you spend exercising pales in comparison to the rest of your day.

Case in point: People who do an hour of cardio and then light up a cigarette as soon as they leave the gym, or those who do a high-energy workout and grab a burger and supersize fries on their way home will have a hard to make progress with this type of oxymoronic workout approach.

But I recently noticed people doing less obvious sabotaging practices that could do damage over time.

Here are my top three…

1. You lean on things

I first saw this when people sign in at the gym. Instead of simply punching in their code, older people (my age, so no hate mail, please!) often lean on the counter while entering their info, bending at the waist and supporting themselves on their forearms.

At first I wasn’t sure what I was seeing. Then I realized this position takes the pressure off the lower back. So if your back hurts, standing by supporting yourself this way eases the discomfort.

But here’s the thing: It’s lazy. And if you continue to do this instead of actively engaging your core muscles, guess what? Yes! Your core only gets weaker and your back gets more sore.

Use ‘em or lose ‘em. Engage those abs and stand up!

2. You push off objects

I’ve caught myself doing this. Getting up out of a chair by holding on to the armrests is easier on the knees, sure.

Once again, it’s a bad habit that leads to more weakness over time.

Because you’re not only taking the easy route, but you’re missing out on an opportunity to strengthen your quadriceps muscles which, ironically, can help your knees.

So the next time you’re about to get up from a chair, think for a second.

Focus on and squeeze your quadriceps muscles (fronts of your thighs) and USE them to help you stand up from your seated position. Count it as a “one repetition squat.”

Sending you a virtual high-five!

3. You’re a slouch     

This one is a rampant problem among ALL ages, but its effects hit home after 50. Nearly everything we do involves forward motion, a lot of it hunched over a desk.

Since your body shape is the result of what you do all day, sitting with a rounded back for weeks, months and years and you end up with the posture of a bay shrimp.

Aside from looking as if you’re headed up the tower to ring the bell and alert the townspeople, this forward posture wreaks havoc on other body parts. Namely shoulders.

This position compresses the shoulder joint and can, over time, lead to rotator cuff problems (shoulder stabilizers) and other issues. All are much more common as we age, even if we’re not practicing tennis serves every weekend.

So practice not only strengthening your back muscles by performing rows, but pay attention to your posture throughout the day.

Ears, shoulders and hips should align when sitting. Add knees and ankles if you’re standing in alignment.

What about you? Are you guilty of one or more of these sabotaging habits? If not, great! If so, become aware so you can stop and adjust. 

The key lies in catching yourself and fixing it.

Let me know in the comments section below…

Other posts you may enjoy:

How to create habits that stick

4 Olympic mindset tips to crush your goals

3 surefire ways to speed up results

Your Ageless Body Coach,

About the Author Linda Melone

Linda Melone is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist, certified trainer and award-winning health and fitness writer. She specializes in helping women over 50 get in shape and lose weight.

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Leave a Comment:

Nancy says

I love your posts. They make me smile and make me think. Thank you

    Linda Melone says

    Thanks, Nancy! It’s why I write them :).

Tammy says

Great reminder! (as I straighten up, stop leaning on the counter and get up without the use of the arms of the chair) 🙂

    Linda Melone says

    I’ve caught myself doing those things, too! lol It’s so easy to get lazy and forget that yes, I have core muscles. 🙂

Ellen says

Since joining the Ageless Army and working out more following your suggestions for interval and weight training, I find myself correcting my posture as I sit at my laptop working from home. I also seem to be stretching “reaching for the sky” without thinking as I stand waiting for my coffee or tea to heat up or getting up from my laptop.

    Linda Melone says

    YAA! Great job taking those small steps that add up to big results 🙂

Goldie says

Good article

    Linda Melone says

    Thanks so much, Goldie!

Denise Fordyce says

I am going to be more conscious of these, too. I was picturing myself doing all 3 as I was reading!

    Linda Melone says

    Awareness is half of the solution :).

Catherine Moore says

Great, great article!!! I actually have noticed these same behaviors!!

    Linda Melone says

    Thanks! 🙂

Mary Fong says

These are so important to remember all through the day!
I try to remember as I exercise and walk. And sit!
Thank you.

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