If you're over the age of 50 or your 50th birthday is fast approaching, you have probably noticed things have slowed down a little. Sadly, a natural consequence of aging is the body being slower to respond to exercise, plus an increase in fatigue and muscle joint aches. Here are a few things you can do to maximize your workouts and get the most out of every gym session.
Focus on Strength
We know that strength training is vital to any fitness routine, and that doesn't change after your 50th birthday. Strength training will keep your muscles, memory, and heart strong. Strength is training is a little different for men and women.
As a man in your 50's you can put body part specific workouts behind you. The latest research shows full body strength training sessions a few times a week are better for building muscle and losing fat for men over 50. Aim for hitting the weight room three times a week and doing a few moves that tone most of your muscle groups.
Women need weight lifting just as much as men do - and once you hit 50, you'll want to use weights to protect your bone density. If you haven't worked out in awhile, start slowly with light dumbbell curls and dumbbell chest flys.
Walk Regularly...And Go The Distance
It sounds simple, and it is, - but it's also important. Walking has consistently been shown to improve cardiovascular fitness, improve the mood, and keep weight under control. The risk of injury is extremely low, and anyone can do it. When it comes to walking, frequency and distance do matter. We're designed to be active, and if you can walk every day (or close to it), you'll be doing yourself a big favor.
Don't Forget Your Core
As we age, our core strength is often one of the first things to go. And since poor core strength can lead to other physical ailments you may not recover as quickly from after 50, its important not to neglect your core. Toning your core goes way beyond doing standard sit-ups. For best results, do crunches and other ab moves on a stability ball, which will force you to use more of your muscles as you balance. Front and side plans are also excellent.
If You Only Have Time For One Move A Day, Make It This One
The absolute best exercise anyone over 50 can do is the plank. The one move works your arms, legs, hips, core, back, and glutes, and it benefits both men and women.
How Not to Exercise After 50
While it's never too late to get back into shape (or start working out), the fact is, you can't exercise the same way at 50 that you did at 25. Take things a little more slowly than you used to, especially if its been awhile since you've worked out regularly. Sprinting especially is a no go - you'll reap more benefits from a slow, steady run that covers more distance.
Talk to Your Doctor
Underlying medical conditions can show up anytime, but the older you get, the more cautious you have to be. Talk to your doctor first, address any concerns you have, and get any tests you've been neglecting. The peace of mind you'll feel will be worth it.
Your Diet Matters More Than Ever
Food can be great fuel for your body, or it can be your worst enemy. If you're still eating like you did in your 20's or drinking to much, you'll undo all the benefits of a good workout. Track your portions carefully and eat plenty of fresh fruit, veggies, whole grains, and lean proteins.
We can't control getting older, but we CAN control how we do it. Follow this advice to continue leading a fit, healthy lifestyle.