Cardio or Strength training? Avoiding pain in old age
Have you started to notice physical problems since hitting your middle age? Around 9 months ago, my sedentary lifestyle finally started catching up to me. I had lived my 20's as a couch potato for years, and whilst I was within the healthy weight range, there was no muscle mass to speak of.
As I hit middle age, I started to notice the effects of my lifestyle creeping into my sleep. I would wake up with a numb arm that had been compressed under my body all night, and I could tell that my blood circulation was poor. I knew this could lead to serious complications in the future if I didn't take action.
Our muscles play a crucial role in circulating our blood. While the heart does the heavy lifting, it's the squeezing of the muscles that assists in this process. As we age, our muscles weaken, and this can lead to unexplained pain and even organ prolapse in some cases!
To try address this, I started going to the gym twice a week for one-hour sessions. Reading up on the internet gave me two types of training, cardio or strenth. To be frank I don't think the specialised benefit of either one will apply to someone working less than 5 hours of moderately intense exercise a week. Either way, you will raise your heart rate AND increase muscles going from baseline no intenseexercise to something.
I found that a combination of light jogging and lifting dumbells (2kg, the smallest one) worked well for me, and after just three months, the sleeping arm issue subsided. It was proof that my problem wasn't impossible to fix, but it did take some time to see the effects of muscle building once I had lost it.
But I wasn't the only one benefiting from exercise. I met a woman in her 60s who was complaining about inner thigh pain and knee inflammation, despite her active walking lifestyle. She was skeptical that exercise could make a difference, but she was willing to listen to her physiotherapist. She started doing a 10-minute nightly routine focused on her thigh muscles. It consisted of some squats and side step exercises using an elastic band around her ankles. Three months later, her thigh pain had disappeared, and she was able to move around with ease.
These experiences taught me that not all exercises are created equal. While walking is a great form of exercise, it might not be enough to build up your muscle mass and prevent injury, especially if you have weak knees. But with the right routine and some dedication, it's possible to alleviate pain and improve your overall health and mobility. So if you're feeling the effects of a sedentary lifestyle, don't be afraid to try something new and see how exercise can help you!