One of the main benefits of maintaining an active life as you age is that it can keep you limber, strong and energetic. This allows you to continue to do everything you love, free from the aches and pains that typify old age.
Squats are fundamental to this. They are one of the most efficient strength and muscle builders going. They also have a great deal of functional carry-over into everyday life. Continuing to squat, at whatever level, is vital for the longevity of your fitness.
However, as we age, creaky knees, stiff hips and sore bones and muscles can make squatting uncomfortable, or even outright painful. You may want to give up. However, there are some simple modifications you can put into place that will make squatting a lot more bearable.
First off, make sure your form is correct. Knees shouldn't extend beyond your toes. Your weight should be in your heels. Your spine should be neutral, with your chest open, your core braced and your hips flexing into the movement.
Once you've got this down, try the following variations:
1. Shallow Squat
2. Wall Squat
3. TRX Squat
These are all far more comfortable for your knees, keeping the pressure out of the joint and in the muscles, where it belongs.
How to form good fitness habits #9- reward yourself
We all need a bit of motivation from time to time. We all want to be rewarded for doing the right thing, even if it's ourselves doing the rewarding.
This is actually incredibly helpful for those looking to maintain an active lifestyle. You should be giving yourself rewards for training.
With this in mind, there are good ways to reward yourself, and bad ways.
Behaviourism, the psychological study of rewards, suggests that some of the more common ways in which we reward ourselves can be unhelpful. Going for things like your favourite food, an expensive gadget, or a day off often fall into one of three of three pitfalls:
- 1.They are too big or expensive,
- 2.They aren't connected to gym-going (the thing you actually want to reward),
- 3.Or they happen too long after a workout
We don't subconsciously relate them to training.
For a reward to be effective, bring it in immediately post-workout. It also needs to have something to do with fitness. Try treating yourself to a massage immediately after training; go for your favourite snack immediately after training; go home via the shops and buy yourself some new active wear. Small, immediate, fitness-related rewards will always work best.