If You’re Over 50, These New Exercise Rules Apply to You
Maybe you’re in your 50s or 60s (or beyond) and you’ve decided it’s time to get serious about exercise. Or maybe you’ve always been active but now that you’re getting older you’re starting to wonder if it’s time to start doing your workouts differently. No matter where you are on the spectrum between “couch potato” and “fitness fanatic,” there are two things you need to know: first, the older we get, the more important exercise becomes – and, second, the older we get, the more important it is to know how to stay fit. There are new rules of exercise that apply as we age.
That’s what we learned when we found this interesting and helpful article on the popular website Next Avenue. The article explains that as we get older our bodies respond to exercise differently than when we were younger. “A funny thing happens on the way to 50 and beyond,” writes Health and Wellness Blogger Linda Melone: “your body doesn’t respond to exercise as it did earlier in your life. Fatigue, muscle and joint aches and increased injuries seem to happen with greater frequency.” If that’s what you’ve been experiencing, rest assured that it’s a common pattern. “Unfortunately, it’s not your imagination,” says Melone. “It happens to the best of us as a natural consequence of aging.”
So if you learned some tips about exercising and working out back when you were in your 30s or 40s, you may think those same rules and principles apply today – but you’re wrong, and your body will pay the price if you don’t learn some new workout ideas. The Next Avenue article lists several specific exercise rules that will help you stay injury-free as well as physically and mentally fit.
The reason we at AgingOptions are bringing this to your attention is because the better you are at maintaining your health, the better your odds of enjoying the kind of rewarding and independent retirement you’ve always hoped and dreamed about. Our goal is to teach our clients how to plan carefully for retirement so they can protect their assets, avoid becoming a burden to loved ones, and escape the trap of being forced into institutional care against their wishes. While staying healthy isn’t necessarily a guarantee that you’ll achieve these goals, we can say from decades of experience that allowing your health to deteriorate almost ensures that you’ll spend more money on health care, be forced to rely on others, and give up your independence prematurely. If that’s what’s at stake – and it is – then getting started on a well-planned exercise regimen and staying with it seems to us like the best investment in your future that you could possibly make.
Remember, if you’re over 50 and committed to getting more exercise, knowing the right way to do it can not only help you stay healthy but also keep you from injury. But we caution you not to start any exercise program without first getting good advice from your doctor or other health care professional – ideally a geriatrician who has a thorough understanding of the health needs of seniors. We won’t go into all the details – for that we suggest you take a look at the article – but here are the highlights of what Next Avenue recommends:
- “Stretch after every workout, and then some.” The Next Avenue article reminds us that flexibility becomes far more important (and more elusive) as we age, so exercise experts recommend a total body stretch multiple times each week. Stretching, experts say, is not an option!
- “Resistance training takes center stage.” You probably used to focus chiefly on cardiovascular health, and that’s still important. But as we age, we lose bone density and muscle mass, a loss which can be slowed through some forms of resistance training. Working your muscles this way has also been shown to contribute to enhanced cognitive abilities. Better start doing some carefully planned lifting.
- “Use interval training to pump up the fat burn.” The old emphasis on slow and steady cardio workouts may need to give way to an “interval training” approach where periods of high intensity cardio exercise alternate with periods of relative rest.
- “You may need longer than a day between workouts.” Used to be you were told to work out every other day, but now you may find you need more time than that for your muscles to recover fully. If your muscle soreness doesn’t go away quite so quickly, you may need more time between periods of exercise, says Next Avenue’s Melone.
- “Always include a thorough warm-up.” Warming up before you exercise boosts your heart rate, increases your body temperature and improves range of motion in your joints. It may not have been quite so essential when you were younger to warm up before you work out, but now that you’re older you need to take the time to get your body used to the idea of exercise. Even a light workout on the treadmill will help.
Staying fit as we age requires a good plan, some sound advice, plenty of accurate information and the will power to stick with it. And that’s also what’s required to have a great experience in retirement. At AgingOptions, we can’t provide you with the will power to follow the plan, but we can help you with everything else you’ll need, in the form of an AgingOptions LifePlan – a unique type of comprehensive retirement plan that weaves all the vital threads of your future into one carefully crafted strategy. Your LifePlan blends your financial, legal, housing, medical and family plans together so they all support each other, no matter what the future may bring.
Why not invest a few hours and find out more about this revolutionary approach to retirement planning? Attend a free AgingOptions LifePlanning Seminar at a location near you. Simply click here for details and online registration, or call us during the week. It will be our pleasure to help you become truly fit for your retirement future. And as we say at AgingOptions, “Age on!”
(originally reported at www.nextavenue.org)