Men’s Health: Keys to Living Longer and Healthier
Getting older doesn’t have to mean you need to change or stop your workouts. Usually, workouts for men over 40 consists of aerobic exercise, strength training, flexibility work, and balance exercises. While most of these are relatively well known, agility training maybe something less known and less tried. Agility work after your 40’s can help in many different areas. Here are the keys to living longer and healthier.
According to the National Academy of Sports Medicine, agility training is a type of exercise training that incorporates short bursts of movement that involve changes of direction. There are many benefits of agility training—the first benefit is injury prevention. In most physical activities, a wrong step or pulled muscle can put you on the sideline. Agility training improves the alignment of the body while in motion, preventing injuries from occurring. Agility training also can increase cognitive function. Studies show agility training increases memory and concentration and improves your coordination and balance. Think about coordinating your feet position when crossing your legs over as you run or the balance it takes to as you start and stop and change directions. Practice helps keep the body in sync and results in better coordination and balance.
Brady Ament, a Freedom Physical Therapy Trainer, takes you through five agility drills for men over 40. Each one of these agility training exercises offers a little something different.
2 In – 2 Out
This drill is great to use as a warmup exercise. This drill helps to enhance your ability to accelerate, decelerate, and change directions quickly. For this drill, both feet will enter a square, and both will exit the square. As you advance down the ladder, the pattern will be right foot in, left foot in, right foot out, left foot out. Remain on your toes and keep your landings light. You can perform the 2 in – 2 out drill with or without an agility ladder. Start slow and become comfortable with the footing before increasing the speed.
Crab Toe Reach
This drill works to increase abdominal strength, improve balance and mobility in the shoulders, and help with coordination. First, get onto the floor in a crab position, with hands and feet touching the ground. Make sure to engage your core throughout the exercise. Lift hips while raising the legs into the air and use the alternate arm to touch the foot with hips kept high. Keep your neck in a neutral position.
This drill focuses on balance and coordination. Begin by balancing on one leg. With an 8-10 lb. weight, you will move it around your body, passing it from one hand to another while moving the non-balance leg forwards and backward. Spend 20 seconds on one leg and one direction and then 20 seconds going the other direction around your body. Make sure to practice on both legs.
Working across the body adds increased thoracic and lumbar spine mobility to the exercise. Crossover stepping improves coordination, balance and helps in maintaining posture while changing positions. While performing crossover steps, like the 2 in – 2 out, should be done on your toes. With your right foot, cross your left foot and step to the left. Then with your left foot, cross over your right and step to the right. Go back and forth for 1 minute before resting.
90 Degree Rotational Hop
This drill adds in a rotational component that helps with positioning and explosiveness in changing directions. Begin in a good squat position, legs shoulder-width apart, butt down, and behind you. Bring your arms down and behind you when you are at the lowest position. As you hop up into the air, turn your body 90 degrees and land quietly and on your toes. Load up again and hop, turning 90 degrees. Continue for 40 seconds.
All age groups can improve agility through training. It doesn’t matter if you are a beginner or a pro; there are many agility drills a trainer can customize to your needs. Use these men’s health keys to living longer and healthier beginning today.
Questions or uncertainty about how to begin adding agility training into your workout? Contact Brady Ament today.