Fitness Over 50
The life that you have lived is written on your body. Every ache, every crunch and creak, scar and scab tell a tale of the life you’ve lived, and map the road you have travelled to get here.
By the time you get to your 50s there is mileage on the clock. The chassis isn’t as robust as it once was, and the engine doesn’t rev as highly. The axles, joints and bearings need a lot more time to warm up and get going.
Yes that is how he looks with his shirt off.
It doesn’t mean you should head to the scrap yard though. (and I think I’ve stretched that analogy as far as I can) There is plenty you can do to keep you fit, strong and energetic into your fifties and well beyond.
The first thing to come to terms with is that you are not 25 anymore. I know it’s not something anyone wants to hear, but the days of pushing your body to the max then getting up and doing it all again the following day are long gone. You still can work hard, run, lift, jump, box, dance, swim or whatever to your heart's content. You just have to be a little cannier about it.
Staying mobile and flexible is so important as you get older. We’ve all got up from sitting at a desk for 4 hours to feel like someone has soldered our vertebrae together. Move around as much as you can at work. Even if you have a mainly desk-bound job, get up and walk every 30-40 minutes, even if it’s just to get a cuppa or go to the loo.
Pay special attention to your midsection and your hips. At the start of the day and maybe before bed, it’s worth spending a bit of time working on your mobility.
This routine is a simple mobility routine for the core and hips.
If you are a little more advanced, You can try this one that requires a bit strength and control.
After a workout you can ease down and work through this floor routine.
As we age our sense of balance deteriorates. Our reactions slow a little and our awareness of where our bodies are in space degrade. It’s important to keep on top of that. Simple moves can really help. Try these:
Rock the boat. This exercise helps you practice shifting your weight and stabilising your body. Stand with your feet hip-distance apart and lift your arms to the sides. Lift your left foot off the floor and bend your knee to bring your heel toward your bottom. Hold this position for up to 30 seconds, then switch sides. Do each side 3 times.
Weight shifts (single leg balance). This exercise helps you practice balancing on one leg. Stand with your feet hip-width apart and shift your weight onto your right foot. Raise your left foot off the floor and hold this position for up to 30 seconds, then smoothly switch sides. Do each side 3 times. As you get better at it you can use a cushion to provide a more unstable surface so you have to adjust more to stay stable. You can also try closing your eyes to make it even more challenging.
Tightrope walk. This exercise helps you improve your balance, posture, and core strength. It also challenges your coordination and spatial awareness. Pretend you are walking on a tightrope and hold your arms out to the sides. Place your right heel on the floor directly in front of your left toe, then do the same with your left heel. Try to walk in a straight line for at least 5 steps
Step-up. This exercise helps you strengthen your legs and improve your balance and stability. You can use a step, a low stool, or a sturdy chair for this exercise. Make sure you have something to hold onto for support, such as a railing or a wall. Step up with your right leg, then bring your left leg up to join it. Step down again and return to the start position. Focus on engaging the core, keeping the hips level and the knee stable as you step up, and control your return. Do up to 5 - 10 steps with each leg. You can add a dumbbell to increase the challenge as you get stronger.
Strength training is important for building and maintaining muscle mass. This can mean a number of things depending on your level, but everyone needs to spend time working on their core strength. The core is not just your abs, it’s the area from just below your chest to just below the hips. It’s the part of the body that generates the power that allows you to move, run, jump, lift and swim. Every time you exercise you should start a move from the middle of your body.
Try this simple routine to build your core strength.
As you get stronger you can progress to this, then even put the two routines together for a stronger workout.
Heart and Lungs (cardiovascular fitness)
This can be anything that you do over a longer period of time that makes you breathe that little bit heavier than normal and gets your heart rate up. This can be walking (the most underrated of all exercises), running, swimming, dancing, an exercise class. Let’s face it, anything that gets you out of your chair and out into nature, the world, etc.
Start gently if you haven’t exercised much before. Pace yourself and know your limits. If something doesn’t feel right, ease off or rest. Little and often is always better than one massive effort that leaves you knackered and broken for the next few days.
It goes without saying, that if you don’t enjoy something, you won’t be doing it for very long, no matter how good for you it’s supposed to be. So, find something that you enjoy.
Exercise with friends or family. The social side of exercise is really important. If you like the people you train with you’re going to want to go back and train with them again. Find a sports team or an exercise group full of lovely supportive people with a really good coach.
Take care everyone.