Fit At Any Age: 50’s
I recently collaborated with Mens Health to bring to life an informative article titled, “Fit At Any Age”. And although you’ll have to grab yourself a copy to get the full scoop on how to maximize your physical performance with each decade of your life, I’ve put together a series of powerful snippets that’ll give you a head start on making the next decade your greatest decade.
Photo: Clem Onojeghuo / Unsplash
Truth is that you no longer working out to look good, but you’re working out to stay alive. Exercise has been proven to be one of the most beneficial forms of medicine that we are yet to stumble on. With the ability to fight off disease, boost your immune system and improve your sex life, it’s time to get a dose of the good stuff.
Although you can’t jump as high or run as fast as the young guns, you are still able to hold your paces as your endurance capacity is just as potent as it was in your early 20’s. Now’s the time to find something that excites you and drives you to get up and training through those wintery mornings. Maybe it’s time to take on that crazy idea of concurring the Cape Epic or tackling an Ironman?
Although the non-weight baring activities such as swimming and cycling are great for your joints, don’t skip out on the gym. As you age, your bone density decreases and the chance of developing osteoporosis skyrockets. Resistance training will not only prevent it, but also increase the production of synovial fluid (the lube to your joints) to fight off the dangers of osteoarthritis. Keep the weights light through, as you’ll want to ramp up the reps and shorten recovery intervals between sets to keep those slow twitch muscle fibers working optimally.
Your Secret Weapon:
A 2013 study published by the Journal of Applied Physiology (http://jap.physiology.org/content/114/4/461.short) compiled numerous tests to determine the best possible training method for endurance athletes. The results brought along some good news – stop beating your body up with high intensity training and replace it for longer, easy, controllable efforts. Not only does this allow you to actually enjoy your training again, but has the physical benefits of reducing the chance of overuse injuries whilst strengthening your heart and lungs. The list goes on with even more health benefits, including reducing the symptoms associated with depression, reducing the risk for type 2 diabetes, lowering blood pressure and improving your immune system – all of which you should be constantly checking on in your 50’s.
So as raging late nights in the club become a distant memory and you find yourself with more time on your hands then you can count, head outdoors for some longer than usual sessions. Not only will the vitamin D from the rays help protect you from inflammation and improve brain function, but it’ll also bring along an exciting new change of scenery.
Shake up the routine and try something new, take on a challenge, sign up to a running club, make a bet with friends. Whatever you decide on, make sure it excites you enough to stick to it.
Splurge on it.
Invest in some good equipment. If you’re looking at a new pair of trainers, get an experts opinion. Go for a gait analysis and get a shoe that is right for both your stride and mileage. If it’s a new pair of wheels you’re after, make sure to contact a bike fitment specialist long before you tick off your first century. Doing so will reduce the chance of any potential injuries down the line, increase your efficiency and most importantly, keep it enjoyable.
Take it easy.
Gone are the days of sprinting up and down stair cases. Instead, focus on going long and far. Pace yourself over the climbs, keeping your average heart rate below 70% of MHR.
As you enter the decade of crackling joints and stumbling down stairs, ensure you keep a constant emphasis on maintaining your neuromuscular coordination (the ability of the central nervous system to control the body’s muscles). Simple functional movements like body weight squats and hand-eye-coordination drills such as a game of one hand catch go a long way in maintaining your youth.
Your weekly training overview:
- Strength Endurance Training (2 – 3 sets of 12 – 20 reps at <67% of max, 2 – 3 times per week)
- Mobility Training (30 minutes of functional movements, hand-eye-coordination drills, foam-rolling and dynamic stretching, 1 – 2 times per week)
- Aerobic Endurance Training (60 minutes or more at 60 – 70% of your max heart rate, 2 – 3 times per week)
Day 1 & 4: Strength Endurance & Mobility Training
Foam Rolling: 10 minutes
Walk-Outs: 12 reps
Single Leg Body Weight Deadlift: 12 reps
Resistance Band Hamstring Stretch: 30 seconds
Pigeon Stretch: 30 seconds
Doorway Pec Stretch: 30 seconds
Game of Catch: 2 sets of 30 seconds left hand only. 30 seconds right hand only.
Air Squat: 3 sets of 15 reps
Walking Lunges: 3 sets of 15 reps
Push-Up’s: 3 sets of 15 reps
Tricep Dips: 3 sets of 15 reps
Supported Pull Up’s: 3 sets of 15 reps
Plank: 3 sets of 45 seconds
Side Plank: 3 sets of 30 seconds
Day 2, 5 & 7: Aerobic Endurance Training
Warm-up with 10 minutes easy.
70 minutes at 60 – 70% of your max heart rate
Cool-down with 10 minutes of static stretching
Want to find out how to maximize your performance in your 30’s, 40’s and 50’s too? You can read more here.