Champaign, Ill. (WCIA)

As we age, many of us tend to slow down a little.  But, keeping in shape can also help you avoid other challenges later in life.  

In this week’s BestReviews, personal trainer and “Serious Fitness” founder expert Judd NeSmith is shares with Gary essential products that people over 50 need to stay fit.

Products that 50-year-olds should have to stay fit

By Allen Foster

As you age, there’s a tendency to slow down. In many ways, that is natural. However, there is a huge difference between slowing down and stopping. In fact, if you stop working out just because you hit 50, it could compound any challenges you face later in life. Knowing which workout gear you need and how to use it is instrumental in maintaining your fitness level as you age.

BestReviews’ Judd NeSmith, NASM-CPT, PES joins Gary Gelfand to discuss essential products that people over 50 need to stay fit.

Products people over 50 need to stay fit

It doesn’t matter how young or old you are, all bodies build muscle the same way. When you work out, you damage muscle fibers. After exercising, your body repairs the damage by fusing those muscle fibers together and thickening the strands to create muscle hypertrophy (muscle growth). As we age, this process still works, but it becomes increasingly less efficient.

To stay fit as you grow older, you need to exercise regularly, using low-impact gear that builds muscle, such as an exercise ball, loop bands, exercise bands, and dumbbells. Additionally, you can promote recovery and reduce aches and pains by using a foam roller and a massage gun. Together, these devices can help you stay physically active and healthy as you progress in years.

Exercise ball

An exercise ball is a rugged inflatable that provides limited stability while working out. Although this may sound like it is a drawback, maintaining your balance during an exercise actually engages more muscles, making the workout more beneficial. You can use an exercise ball to strengthen your stomach muscles, your back muscles, your leg muscles and more. It is ideal for increasing body strength to eliminate issues like back pain while increasing balance to protect against falls.

Foam roller

As long as you have no injuries or underlying medical conditions, a foam roller is an excellent fitness tool. According to NeSmith, it can also be used to address tight quadriceps muscles that can pull on the kneecap and cause knee pain. You can use this device after workouts to reduce inflammation and diminish delayed-onset muscle soreness that can occur as much as three days after a workout. Additionally, there is evidence that using a foam roller can improve flexibility. 

Dumbbells

Dumbbells are one of the most versatile pieces of fitness equipment, not to mention they’re beginner-friendly. “They’re great for upper body exercises,” says NeSmith, “especially for the arms, back and chest.” You don’t need to use heavy weight to get a good workout, either. When used correctly, even five-pound dumbbells can work these muscle groups effectively. 

Massage gun

A massage gun is like having your own personal masseuse or masseur. You can use it to target hotspots deep within your muscles. The repeated blows increase blood and lymphatic circulation to deliver more oxygen and nutrients to your muscles. They can also help release tension and fluid, helping you to move without pain and extend your range of motion.

Loop bands

Loop bands are like large flat rubber bands that you place around your arms or legs to increase the resistance and intensity of your workout. The beauty of loop bands is they come in a variety of resistances, so you can move up to the next level whenever you feel ready. Loop bands help increase strength and elevate your fitness level. Since loop bands do not provide a stable grip, they can also engage stability muscles for added benefit.

Exercise bands

The exercise bands that we are using have handles that allow you to achieve a better grip. They are very similar to loop bands and offer nearly identical benefits. However, you can increase the intensity substantially more with exercise bands by connecting several bands to the handles. A quality set of exercise bands will also include hardware that allows you to attach the band to an immovable object to dramatically increase the range of exercises you can perform.

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SmarterLife Exercise Ball