Are Your Workouts Aging You?

Part one of a three part series on exercises that age you.

The average health club offers more options in exercise classes, personal training and even equipment more than ever before. Our options are seemingly unlimited as to how we want to stay in shape. We can choose to workout in a group with others or one-on-one with a friend or trainer. Our goal is to stay in shape, and hopefully feel and look younger, if possible.

And yet, all these programs most likely contain exercises that are literally aging you, causing more harm than you realize. They can bend and torque your joints and spine, doing more damage than good. So, which exercises age you? What can you do instead? This is Part One in a three part series on Workouts that Age you.

The exercise that ages you faster than any other that you do is the classic ‘crunch’ exercise for your abdominals. Whether you have your hands behind your head or straight at your side, the movement requires the same torque on your neck. In the crunch, your head is continuously bending forward. This position at the very least causes creases in your neckline and at the most leads to neck pain, migraines, disc bulging and shoulder pain

This position also causes arthritis in the cervical spine because of the constant pressure on the front part of the cervical vertebrae. Did you know that this forward bending position is THE movement that is responsible in whiplash in a car accident?

Also, the muscles in the back of your neck, your posterior neck muscles, are continuously being stretched out in the crunch. A stretched out muscle is not a strong muscle.

So you are actually weakening the most critical muscles you need to keep your head in proper alignment on top of your shoulders. Just think how many times you do this damaging movement in a single routine or exercise class.

Learn the exercise you should be doing INSTEAD to keep those abs firm without damaging your neck here:

You can get the same benefit of firm abs, without the torque on your neck by doing what is called the ‘Reverse Crunch.” Lying on your back, put your hands under your lower back for support. Bend your knees and keep your feet flat on the floor. Now, lift your knees into your chest, contracting your stomach muscles as you lift. Repeat this 10 times for 2 sets. This is demonstrated in the 2Min2 a Better Neck video.

You are using the same abdominal muscles without the strain on your neck or promoting neck lines and wrinkles. So ditch the crunch exercise, and use the “Reverse Crunch” in your future exercise program.

Knowing what exercises should be avoided or modified in your workout can mean the difference between aging well or aging with pain.

If you are over 50 years old, the most effective exercises are often the most simple that focus on key muscle groups that determine how you will age. A Daily Therapy program like one on our Better Balance DVD or download, gives you instructions on the best therapeutic exercises to create overall body balance to keep strong and prevent falls in your future. Visit us online.