It’s impossible to talk about individual independence without addressing the subject of physical autonomy – the ability to have complete control over your own body so that you can enjoy any physical activity without fear of injury. This is one of the reasons people fear growing old – that lingering dread that you might one day have to take the elevator because your knees can’t handle the stairs, or having to ask someone to help you with picking something up because it’s too heavy to handle on your own.
Thankfully, it’s not inevitable that old age cripples our individual freedom of movement and physical expression. With the right training and regular upkeep through exercise, you can stay young in joint and spry in mind for years to come. To understand how to achieve this, we got in touch with elite celebrity trainer Vinod Channa, the man behind John Abraham’s impressive physique – and someone Men’s Health
calls “the unassuming superstar” of personal trainers in India
After 22 years in the business, longevity is something that means a lot to Channa. “After you turn 40, a lot goes out of your body in terms of mobility, strength, stamina and flexibility. Two major factors for this are lifestyle and an advancement in age. In order to recover these things, you need to use a combination of exercises,” he says.
Mobility of joints and building core strength
This seemingly simple movement exercise is actually one of the best compound exercises around, i.e. it is highly effective when it comes to working out multiple muscle groups together. If you’re worried about looking silly while doing this, keep in mind what Channa has to say: “Ten minutes of quadrupedal walking is equal to forty minutes of jogging.”
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Squat and Jump
Strengthening quadriceps and hips, to prevent any damage to joints if you take a fall or land from a height
To prevent the wearing down of your knees and back, practice this simple exercise regularly. Start simple – get your squatting form perfect before introducing the jump to the end of the squat, and then slowly increase the height and explosiveness of your jump as you progress. “If your body gets used to this, even if you jump from a height and land on your feet, the impact is just 10% of what it would have been if it went directly to your knees and back,” says Channa.
Building core strength
“If you’re talking about the stomach, there are four major muscles you want to focus on and the plank is the simplest way to get started,” says Channa. His advice is to get used to activating your core with the basic plank and then playing with variations, such as the side plank and mountain climbers. The main benefit of getting your core nice and strong is that it causes your posture to right itself over time, thereby preventing long-term injuries caused by poor movement and posture.
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Good for: Increasingly agility and cardiovascular capacity
This is one of the best compound exercises around and one of the most exhausting as well. “Burpees are a great overall workout, as well as a good agility workout,” says Channa, before adding, “A lot of people are slow in their movements because they’ve spent years sitting in one place at work. And if you allow that to happen, you’ll have body pain all the time.”
Good for: Increasing your impact-bearing capacity and the speed of your mind-body coordination
“The real trick to the box jump is to determine in advance where you are going to plant your feet when you land on the box and then making sure that you follow through accurately. This will build your mind-body connection, which is very useful in staying coordinated in your movements,” says Channa. As you get better at this movement, you can increase the height of the box to push yourself and further decrease the likelihood of you suffering from impact injuries to your knees and back.
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