If you have had past injuries or have been sedentary for a while, you may need some additional help when starting an exercise program. Common gym exercises that may be fine for someone in their twenties, may cause discomfort or injury for someone in their forties or beyond.
The first thing you should look for is a trainer who is experienced in working with injuries or has had several post-rehab clients. You will probably have some muscle imbalances that need to be addressed first, to keep from causing an injury or to keep you from sitting a plate too soon.
After starting an exercise program you will usually see some progress in the first three or four months and then your body adapts to this new stimulus. Then you will need a new stimulus to see additional results. This could include increasing the length of time you exercise, the amount of resistance, or shortening the rest periods.
With those with past injuries or imbalances due to poor posture, if you do not correct these right away, this exercise plateau could occur sooner than normal, if injury does not occur first. So finding a trainer who is knowledgeable in future and corrective exercise is important.
Often times after an injury or being sedentary, the muscles that help stabilize your joints are weak. To not address these important stabilizers would be like putting a souped up engine in a car with worn out tires and shocks – you will not be able to use this additional power and may wreck the car.
So how do you address these important areas? Glad you asked. You first have to make sure that your body is balanced. Your muscles should be balanced front to back, side to side, and top to bottom. You need to work on your posture, making sure that your body is properly aligned with gravity, to make your movements more efficient.
One way to do this is by using whole body vibration platforms, such as the Power Plate. These platforms place you in positions where several muscles and joints are used at the same time, such as standing in a squat position. The vibrations cause your muscles to contract reflexively 25-50 times per second, beyond your conscious control.
This is a lot of stimulation to your nervous system and this can also stimulate and strengthen these important stabilizing muscles, muscles that often are weak and inefficient after injury. For example, one of my clients is looking to lose some weight. She also has past knee problems which need to be addressed.
The vibrations help stimulate her weak knee muscles and turn them back "on", so that they are contracting correctly. Obviously, this contributions to a more stable knee and allows her to exercise in a somewhat controlled manner, as many of these positions occur in a static position.
Meaning she stands on the platform and squats down to a comfortable position and places there, while the vibrations occur. Initially, these exercises are done without moving.
We have also added in different standing and floor exercises to help strengthen her "core" muscles. By combining these different exercises she can now feel her knee muscles contracting, as well as her glutes (hips), which are vital to providing stability to her pelvis, and then her low back.
So in addition to increasing her metabolism, burning some fat, she also has greater stability in muscles that were lacking strength, prior. By building this foundation of a balanced body first, we can now build the rest, knowing that we will get further results without hitting a plateau or reinjuring weak muscles.
By the way, this 30ish mother of three and part-time student had tried the traditional healthclub routine with little to show for it. The kicker is, her workouts last only 20 minutes! After about 8 sessions, she has seen results and has greater strength, stability, and endurance.
Do not think that she is not working hard, though. She is – but we're also working more efficiently. Getting more done in a shorter amount of time.