Biggest Exercise Mistakes You Can Move Over 50
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The Biggest Exercise Mistakes You Can Make After Age 50

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Biggest Exercise Mistakes You Can Move Over 50
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Fitness Fails

As we age our bodies become more rigid and less flexible, and if we exercise incorrectly we can have more serious injuries than just sore muscles. Physical therapist Rob Cowell explains, "As time goes by, muscles and joints become less responsive and adaptable compared to the peak young adult years. Sports and exercises that involve sudden changes in direction and quick, powerful movements can easily lead to strains or more serious injuries, especially for the untrained." Let's take a look at some workouts to either avoid or approach with caution.

Related: The Best Exercises for Staying in Shape Past 50

Senior Hot Yoga
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Hot Yoga

Extreme heat can cause dizziness and for older people with heart conditions can be troublesome, and hot yoga isn't recommended for people with arthritis, heart disease, or high or low blood pressure. A study of nearly 30,000 yoga-related injuries seen in U.S. hospital emergency rooms from 2001 to 2014 researchers found that participants age 65 and older had a greater rate of injury than other age groups, and advised older exercisers to consult with a doctor before unrolling a mat.

HIIT
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HIIT

High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) is hard at any age, according to trainer Kyle Overstreet of KyleOTrains. Overstreet works with a number of senior clients and says, "HIIT training should be modified, slowed down, and taken at a pace that is right for the condition of the client's body."

Spin Classes
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Spin Classes

Spin classes may be too intense for older people who are not in optimal physical condition and can even result in the potentially fatal condition rhabdomyolysis. According to spinal-care expert Bradley W. Bartel Jr., DC, "Spin classes can cause too much strain on the joints." A better option would be a recumbent bike.

Traditional Push-Ups
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Traditional Push-Ups

Trainer Kyle Overstreet says, "Avoid stressing out your shoulders and neck. Push-ups can cause problems in the rotator cuff and the neck." A better option is a wall-push up.

Squats With a Bar
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Squats With a Bar

While squats are a great workout, they can put too much pressure on the knees if not done correctly. Trainer Kyle Overstreet explains, "There's no reason an older person who is not in peak physical condition, or who is just beginning to get into a physical exercise routine, needs to use a heavy bar while engaging in a squat." A simple squat without weights is still a great exercise and much safer.

Burpees
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Burpees

This jumping move is exactly the type of exercise you want to avoid. "You need the appropriate range of motion in the spine and in the hips and in the ankles to perform this exercise correctly," says, Brett Russell PT, ATC, LMT/NMT, and owner of Fyzical Therapy and Balance Centers. Although he is quick to point out that, "with proper training and technique all these exercises may be modified to be performed safely."

Jumping Lunges
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Jumping Lunges

Trainer Kyle Overstreet believes that many people try to do too much, too soon. Jumping lunges are hard on the knees and on the joints. "You have to respect the fact that you are getting older and high impact jumping lunges may not be the way to go."

Bench Press
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Bench Press

While this can be done, the shoulder and rotator cuff degenerates as we age, and you can tear your biceps or rotator cuff while doing a bench press. Contrary to popular belief, the bench press doesn't promote healthy shoulders. People who suffer from "frozen shoulder syndrome," should avoid this exercise.

Pull-Ups
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Pull-Ups

"If you haven't ever done a pull-up, and you're out of shape and older, this could be a dangerous exercise to try," explains trainer Kyle Overstreet. "The rotator cuff could be injured by this movement." Physical therapist Brett Russell concurs. "There are better ways to attempt a pull-up, such as an assisted pull-up machine," he says. "This is an exercise that you need to build up to."

Crunches
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Crunches

A lot of people attempt rapid crunches with someone holding onto their feet. But physical therapist Brett Russell advises, "You never want to do these with someone holding down your feet. One reason is that you're actually pulling yourself up with your hip flexors and that can cause low back issues." He suggests doing crunches off an exercise ball to avoid pulling muscles in your lower back.

Related: Sick of Doing Crunches? 15 At-Home Exercises to Target Your Abs

Deadlifts
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Deadlifts

Older lifters must have the appropriate strength and range of motion to perform these correctly. Physical therapist Rob Cowell recommends, "To stay healthy and lower your risk of injury as an older adult, focus on continuous aerobic exercise like walking, biking, or swimming. Add bodyweight exercises on a mat or classes such as yoga and pilates to help improve your core strength and mobility."

Leg Press
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Leg Presses

Leg presses can be tough for older folks. "Cartilage thins out as we age, and the discs shrink in size in the spine," says physical therapist Brett Russell. This thinning can bring the bones and the vertebrae closer together, pushing the nerves out on each side. "The nerves can be impinged upon because the discs have shrunk and the vertebrae compress the nerves. There are so many safer ways to strengthen your glutes, your quads, and your hamstrings to obtain the same result."