Aerobic Exercise for Seniors: Three Ways to Improve Your Aerobics Exercise Class

Hi, I’m Margaret at MelioGuide. Thank you
for tuning in. Today, I’m going to be covering aerobic class considerations. So something
I’ve been thinking about for quite a while, but before I begin, I want to share with you
where my aerobics background comes from. You know, if you’ve been following me for a while,
that I have been a physical therapist since 1984 and practiced in a variety of areas.
But shortly after becoming a physical therapist, I decided to become an aerobic fitness instructor.
Got my YMCA fitness instructor certification and started teaching aerobic classes. And
when clients would come to me, telling me about the aerobic classes they’re taking,
and I’m looking after their bones and giving them exercises to keep their bones strong
and safe, I would get a little concerned about what they were telling me. A client that I’ve
had for several years, she comes in for an update on her program, and I ask her to start
marching. So we’re warming up and we’re doing a marching, and she automatically is doing
this in her marching. And then it dawned on me, and I said, “By any chance, in your aerobic
class, “are you doing a lot of these exercises as a warmup, “opposite elbow to knee?” And
she goes, “Yeah, we do it in every class. “It’s like the standard, one of the standard
movements.” And then I went, “Okay, I definitely have to do a blog on this,” because when you’re
moving, we have such a short period of time in our day, in our week, that we dedicate
to movement, and I want that movement to bring your body where it should be, where it’s getting
you out of all the daily forward movements that we have to do. We wake up, we wash our
face, we brush our teeth. Everything is bringing us forward all the time, and so the last thing
you need to do is to go into an exercise class and go back into that movement pattern. So
this blog is to have you reconsider what is happening in your aerobics class. Is that
aerobic class supporting where you want to be, where you want to be walking out of your
class and going, “I feel great. “I had some work on my posture, little work on my balance.
“Got some loading through my bones. “I feel really good, got my cardiovascular up, all
of that.” And so I’m going to give you a couple of points and considerations to bring with
you when you’re walking into your class and not just do your class as a participant but
to do it as an observer and start looking around you and looking at how are these people
moving, and how are they holding their posture and alignment? Because chances are, you may
also be holding your posture and alignment in the same way they are. We’re all trying
to do our best, but is the instructor putting you into moves that are supporting you or
just, without meaning to, bringing you into less than optimal moves for your spine, for
your posture? So there are three things that I want you to consider taking with you into
your aerobic class. One is an awareness of your posture. What is your alignment when
you’re doing your moves? What is the alignment of your head, relative to your spine? Is it
jutting forward, or is it coming forward with your spine? What is your alignment of your
hip, relative to your knee down to your feet? Are your knees in a safe place where you’re
doing your squats and your lunges? So that’s one. So number two is look at your class as
an observer ’cause you might be having a really good time, but just look at it and go, “Oh,
this is an exercise I really shouldn’t do. “I need to avoid this exercise.” So rather
than stop the class and just sit, you could go, “How can I modify that move?” So if it
was one of these moves that I mentioned earlier, then you might just go, “I’m just going to
march “or I’m going to open up in the opposite direction “as people are bringing the knees
up.” And that’s a really great modification. Keeps you moving and isn’t all that different
than what the instructor’s doing, but it’s entirely different in what it does to your
posture and your alignment. If you can’t modify, such as a crunch, it might be really difficult
to modify a crunch, but you can substitute it. So if you’re looking for ideas for modification
and substitution, you might go, “Okay, that crunch, hmm. “I can still do an ab workout.
“I’m going to go get something how to strengthen your core “and do a gentle side plank “or
a side plank that’s at the level that challenges you.” Within exercise for better bones, there
are lots of exercises that you can do them at a pace that allows you to incorporate into
an aerobics class. And that brings into pace. So the third thing is the pace of the class.
It might be moving really fast, and so fast that it doesn’t allow you to move with good
form and your best alignment. Consider prioritizing your alignment over the pace. So it might
be a really fast song, a great song to dance along with, move along with, but you know
that it’s compromising your posture, compromising maybe your knee health because you can’t quite
get your squat form at that pace. So bring the pace. Make your body be the priority and
not the pace of the exercise class. Your dedication to fitness encompasses all of the elements
in the fitness wheel, so it’s important that while you’re doing your aerobic workout that
you are also considering where your core’s at, considering, when I say, “Where your core’s
at,” what is your breath? Is it supporting your moves? Is it supporting a jump? What
is your posture? Are you stable enough through the class in terms of balance and stability?
So these are just a couple of ideas to keep you safe, to keep you strong, so I really
encourage you to make the changes you need to stay active for many more years to come.
Thank you for tuning in. I’m Margaret from MelioGuide.

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