Written by: Craig Cristello M. Ed, Exercise Physiologist, Well and Being Spa Fairmont Scottsdale Princess
The big question is what type of workout should I be doing when I get over the age of 40? There is no simple answer because we are all unique in our physiology. There are, however some very simple guidelines to follow to get you on the right track. The first thing I ask clients/ guests is, “what is something you would enjoy doing as long term exercise?” The second question would be is that sustainable and realistic?
I believe the three biggest concerns that come to mind when men and women start to get older are as follows:
- I want to do something safe where I don’t get injured
- I want to maintain my balance
- I want to keep or improve my flexibility
In a perfect world we would blend multiple modalities of cardio/ strength and cross training combined with stretching four to five times a week for 45 minutes to an hour. The issue for most people is they don’t have the time or the access to the equipment on a consistent basis. In my opinion the answer is ultimately there is no one best workout, there is however in my opinion a great foundational tool that gives a great starting point for most individuals.
The TRX Suspension Trainer is a portable piece of functional equipment that allows you to perform exercises almost anywhere that incorporates many elements of a great overall workout. With the TRX you get stability and balance, strength and power, high intensity options on workouts and increased flexibility opportunities. The TRX Suspension Trainer is an entire portable gym in a small bag that can go almost anywhere with you. It consists of two nylon straps with handles that can be hung over a door, a medium sized tree branch, a chin up bar/ smith machine or even a swing set outside. The TRX was invented by a Navy Seal so you know the workouts are effective and can start with the basics all the way up to elite professional high intensity workouts. The beauty of the TRX is that it uses your body weight as resistance and the angle at which you perform the exercise as well as the “stability of the base” indicates the degree of difficulty. For example if you wanted to do a chest press the more upright you were while holding the handles the easier the exercise would be; conversely, if you were more parallel and using one foot as a base the exercise becomes much more difficult. TRX also allows you to do full body stretching with the straps allowing an increased range of motion over time; many of the stretches don’t even require a mat for the floor to further simplify things.
When doing workouts it is important to work the full body as well as all opposing muscle groups for balance, the TRX provides this functionality for individuals. In regard to injury most people get injured due to increasing the load too quickly without an adequate warm-up period, again the TRX allows you to slowly and progressively advance your workout intensity at a comfortable and safe pace. Safety and lack of injury are two things that should be of utmost importance when choosing a program that is sustainable, repeatable and convenient.
Here at Well and Being we offer TRX specific member classes as well as TRX/ Surfset or Spinning fusion classes which offer a thirty minute higher intensity cardio burst while incorporating thirty minutes of moderate intensity strength training on the TRX Suspension trainer. An individual should look for a facility that offers a introductory level TRX class as well as more advanced higher intensity classes as their fitness level increases.
You should consult with your physician before starting fitness programs especially if there are any underlying health issues that need to be considered.
In summary for great fitness it is important to do something you enjoy that is also sustainable and repeatable on a consistent basis. Ultimately the TRX offers a variety of full body exercises that can be performed almost anywhere with the safety that comes from performing body weight exercises. Balance and stability are also improved while utilizing the unstable TRX bands and modifying your base. The ability to slowly progress and “warm-up” as you increase the intensity is another important aspect of the TRX Suspension Trainer. The final aspect that the TRX suspension trainer brings to the table is the ability to perform basic to advanced stretches post workout to improve flexibility and reduce the risk of injury.