Back Limitations

by Lynda Dreese
(Grand Haven, MI 49417)

I am a 66 year old woman whose muscles seem to be getting weak, especially my legs. My lower back gets very painful if I lift much weight. In the past I was physically fit but have been doing less each year for at least 10 years. What kind of exercises or activities should I do to strengthen my body?

According to the AARP website, Dr Oz says that aerobics and resistance training help control type 2 diabetes and improve brain function as well as balance. I know it is important that I restart a consistent exercise program.

I am 6'5" and weigh 185 pounds. I am down from 300 pounds due to Roux-en-y bi-pass surgery 8 years ago.

Aaron's Answer…

1. To Strengthen Your Body, Do Strength Training

Ideally, you should be able to find a personal trainer to work with who can guide you through the process at your local gym. They should start you on machines (because they are the safest way to build strength), and probably some balance exercises.

Also, it's a lot more fun to workout with someone else than alone!

I think building strength is important for you so that you increase day-to-day functionality. To put it another way, I doubt you'll be running any marathons or relying on aerobic ability, but lifting boxes and staying strong enough to be self sufficient are probably priorities for you.

So, stay strong and self-reliant.

2. Do What's Enjoyable

I think you would get the
most benefits from strength training, but if you really enjoy aerobics - do aerobics!

If you enjoy it you'll do it more often, and stick with it. And sticking with whatever exercise you choose as you age is the most important factor in whether it will help you - since if you stop, you won't be getting any benefits.

3. If You Don't Use It, You'll Lose It

The old saying is true. Start your exercise program now, otherwise your problems will just get worse.

4. Address You Back Pain

I really recommend talking to your doctor about your lower back pain. As long as you have that exercise will be difficult, and you don't want to further injure yourself. Check to see how serious that is.

Also, you might try to find a good massage therapist in your area. Ideally, somebody that you get along with and who knows trigger point therapy.

I've personally gotten a lot of mileage out of massage and trigger point therapy for my aches and pains, so take a look into it. It might just help out.

5. Exercise and Eat Healthy for Diabetes

Exercise does help improve brain function and control type 2 diabetes. However, control of type 2 diabetes should primarily be done through eating a healthy diet that doesn't stress your body, and of course any medication you're taking.

Though strength training will help your muscles regain insulin sensitivity, which will help with the type 2 diabetes.

I hope this helps!

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