Aging is something that everyone must deal with in their lives. And while you get wiser when you are getting older, your body also isn’t the same as it used to be in your youth, and as such, you need different types of exercises to keep your body fit because some of them can be much more devastating in this age than when you were young. Here are 15 of the worst exercises you can do if you are over 40:
1. Chronic Cardio
Cardio is essential for any exercise plan, and incorporating some form of cardio exercises can be good, but if it’s too much then it might lead to increased levels of cortisol, which is the stress hormone, which in turn can increase the speed at which your body ages and concentrate fat on your belly instead of being distributed throughout your body. The recommended amount of cardio in this age is about a little bit over 20 minutes per day, which is moderate but can lead to your heart being healthier and to keep your blood pressure in check as well.
2. Standing Toe Touch
This one can be easy to see why it’s going to be bad for you if you are over 40. It’s an exercise that puts a lot of stress in your lower back, and quite a bit on your neck as well. When you are young, that isn’t too much of a problem, because your joints are stronger and quite a bit more flexible. However, when you get older, that is not the case anymore, with the joint between your lower back and your hip getting much weaker. Because of this, doing a standing toe touch can lead to injuries on your lower back that might range from minor injuries to serious ones. Because of the way your neck is suffering the weight of your torso in this position, it might also lead to neck problems. In general, it’s wiser to do exercises that will gently stretch your back without causing problems, for example, some yoga positions like child’s pose and sphinx pose.
3. Hovering Leg Lift
Hovering leg lifts seems like a great way to get a flat stomach and reduce belly fat, at least for younger people. However, older folk should stay away from this exercise because, just like the standing toe touch, the hovering leg lift puts major stress on your lower back, which can lead to pulled muscles, injuries on your joints, or even worse. If you really want that flat stomach, it’s better to do a bent knee hollow hold or speak to a health professional or a trainer to know more about some other exercises that you can do to work on your midsection.
4. Behind the Neck Press
If you are over 40, you should avoid doing the Behind the Neck Press because it puts you on a very stressful position, which can compress a very important neck artery, which can cause dizziness, headaches, fainting and even neck fractures. Plus, this exercise is not really required since it’s only designed to bulk up your shoulder muscles, which is something more in line with bodybuilders, and not your average person. Instead, you should do a shoulder roll, or in exercises that focus more on flexibility.
5. Leg Extension
Messing your knees up can be bad when you are young. It can be much, much worse if you are over 40. A simple way to do some damage to your knees and ankles is to perform leg extensions. Because this exercise requires lifting weight on your legs, it can cause heavy strain on your knees when your legs are fully extended, because they are basically the joint that is taking most of the stress and strength that is needed to lift the weight, even more so because when you are older like that your knees are weaker, so this exercise does more harm than good. A way to exercise your legs without putting much stress on key areas like your knees and ankles is to do a chair squat.
6. Sit-Ups and Crunches
Belly fat is something that has plagued humanity since modern society has made us more sedentary, and while when we are younger it’s easier to deal with it, older folk don’t have it easy like that. Sit-ups and crunches are good exercises for strengthening the muscles underneath the fat, but they don’t burn much of it. And on top of that, they can cause injuries on your neck and your back because of how much pressure it’s put on these areas of your body. A better way to burn fat would be to reduce the amount of sugar and fat that you consume daily and do a moderate cardio program to help with your blood circulation. An alternative to strengthen your muscles would be to do planks, because they aren’t as straining as sit-ups and crunches.
7. Trunk Twist
Trunk twist is an exercise which can be easily done by younger people because their muscles are much more flexible and stronger than the muscles of older people. And because it requires a lot of flexibility in areas like your lower back and neck, it’s dangerous and has a good chance that you could cause damage in these areas to the point where it would derail your daily workout program by weeks if not months. If possible, do a proper warm-up before doing this exercise, or instead, to a standing trunk rotation since its easier on your muscles.
Deadlifting can be hard on the body of middle-aged people that haven’t been doing exercises consistently. A lot of them will probably underestimate the amount of strain that lifting a huge amount of weight puts on your muscles, joints, and bones, which can cause serious injuries because of it. It’s much better to avoid doing this exercise at all, and instead focus on using lighter weights like ankle weights or hand weights. And be careful with the amount of weight that you are lifting, you shouldn’t be forcing your muscles to bear it, instead, it should feel fine doing a lot of reps.
Squats is a famous exercise for toning your legs and glutes, and it’s generally fine if you are under 40. But after this magic number, it’s not recommended. The reason why? Squatting puts your body in an uncomfortable position, it especially puts stress on your knees and ankles, which are vulnerable to some serious injuries even if done correctly. If you are using weights? It’s even worse! It’s generally better to do an exercise like step-ups or rear lunges instead because they are easier on your body and will have a more natural position than squats.
10. Smith machine and leg pressing
This exercise is basically on every list about exercises that you should avoid at all costs. It’s true that they help build muscles faster, but because of the way they are, you are basically pushing weight in an unnatural position, which means that it can cause more strain and damages to your ligaments and joints, and with old age, it takes a lot more time for injuries like that to heal completely, and can completely derail your whole workout plan because of it. So, in general, stick with step ups or ankle weights to help you tone your legs.
11. High-impact Exercises
Exercises like running or jumping rope can cause a lot of fatigue in your body, especially if you are not young, or haven’t done exercises in a while, and can cause a lot of stress and strain in muscles, ligaments, and joints like your ankles, your knees and your heels. And because of the age, it takes much longer for your body to heal, and to bounce back from long-distance running than it took when you were 10 or even 5 years younger for example, and it takes a lot more resources from your body to recover than it did before. For people over 40, it’s recommended that you start swimming instead of running or jumping rope because it works every muscle you have and provides the cardio workout you want while having nearly no downsides to it.
12. Extreme Exercises
Extreme exercises might not be for you if you’re over 40, things like tossing tires doing rapid-fire power cleans are a really intense and extreme way of exercising your body ,and while when you are younger you can take the abuse that it puts you through, it’s better to avoid those risks and the kind of strains that it can put on your body because they are going to be much worse when you are middle-aged. It’s better to go easy on yourself rather than the contrary, and to do some light or moderate exercises instead of this kind of thing.
13. Triceps Dips
A lot of people tend to target the triceps area on their body for exercise, after all, nobody likes their arms jiggling when you wave them. However, this floor exercise can be particularly dangerous if you don’t put your arms in the proper position when doing it, which can lead to some painful injuries because your upper arms and rotator cuffs have some tiny muscles in them that can easily be injured. If you still want to exercise your triceps, it’s better to do a triceps push-up or a single-arm triceps kickback.
14. Behind The Neck Lat Pulldowns
This exercise is not recommended for people over 40 to do because it can cause injuries on your neck, shoulders, and arms, which puts a lot of pressure on your rotator cuffs, and if done incorrectly, you can sustain chronic shoulder strains or shoulder pains, or even neck injuries. A good way to actually do it is to keep the bar where you can see it, and try doing this exercise slowly and steadily, changing your grip to better accommodate your needs, that way, you take a lot of pressure that this exercise puts on your body and distribute it better along your shoulder blades and back as well as your arms and neck.
15. Dumbbell Flyes
Dumbbell chest flies are quite an impressive exercise and one the most common and easy ones to do. The problem with them is that they aren’t effective enough and can cause way more harm than good. This kind of workout puts a lot of strain on your shoulders when you bring you arms below your chest, which can cause some of the most painful shoulder injuries. Its recommended that you instead to do Wolverines because it won’t hurt, and it will be generally more effective than dumbbell chest flies.