Fitness for Over 50s
By Andrew Seymour
It was one of those odd occasions recently when I opened Facebook just to see if I was missing some vital news during these crazy times, when an advertisement popped up for an American guy named Mark, a 57 year old personal trainer. He was promoting his fitness for the over 50s plan. “Interesting” I thought to myself, in my business I see pages and pages every day on this subject and thought I would see what he had to say. I followed the link to his website and started reading and watching his videos.
I have to admit I was pleasantly surprised to read that his doctrine followed what I have been led to believe over the years and that there are many common myths surrounding what I like to call, Active Aging… Here are some of the key points to what I believe people of my generation (50++) should keep in mind when thinking about getting or keeping fit.
Yes, this is important. As we are no longer 25 years old, a light, short stretching session prior to your workout is important. What is even more important (at any age) is a correct warm up prior to stretching. This can be anything from a walk with the dog or 10 minutes on an exercise bike. Just to get yourself lubricated so to speak (not be confused with inebriated). Very important is the post workout stretching, this will help your recovery period. Don’t forget !!!
Burn the Treadmill
In one of Marks videos, he literally poured petrol on an old treadmill and set fire to it. Although a little extreme, his point was that high intensity cardio training for 50++ is actually detrimental. He is right. A treadmill for those in the Active Aging category should be used as part of a warm up routine or for a brisk walk/light run when the outside conditions are not favourable. Higher intensity cardiovascular exercise, pushing your heart rate up towards it’s maximum and putting stress on your heart is not the aim of the game here. Keep it comfortable and realistic.
Probably the most misconce-ived and misunderstood subject for over 50s. You don’t need to pump iron like a bodybuilder, however keeping the muscles toned and in use is vital. Functional Training are the buzzwords these days. What is Functional Training? Basically it’s exercise that mimics and helps with day to day movements.
For example, squatting down and picking things up, side to side movements, twisting, turning, lunging, putting things in and taking things out of a cupboard. These are all day to day things we do and there are exercises that help build the muscle groups associated with such movements. A quick Google search will bring up hundreds of exercises with instructional videos that you can easily do at home with minimal equipment.
As in our daily lives, we tend to lift things of smaller weight, so no need to use heavy dumbbells or barbells. Use weights between 4 to 10 kgs but with repetitions of say 10 to 12 rather than just 4 or 5 with heavier weights. The idea is to keep muscles toned and working well.
If you have the time, it’s well worth spending a couple of hours to go online and find as much information as you can on the subject, the idea is not whether you will live longer or not, it’s about being able to maintain your health and ability to move for as long as possible.