Aging requires adjusting to a number of changes, and how we look after our bodies with fitness after 50 is one of the most meaningful changes. We know the necessity of being physically active, but might not be aware that the old tried-and-true exercising methods we’ve long practiced must be altered after age 50, because of increasing injuries, aches in joints and muscles, as well as general fatigue. For example:
- Resistance is more important than cardiovascular exercise. Although cardio is definitely still crucial for heart health, resistance training is very important to counteract the natural decline in bone density and muscle mass. A recent study also associated weight training with improved memory, even when conducted just once weekly for as little as twenty minutes. The target should be to accomplish twelve repetitions of each set of resistance exercises several times each week, increasing the resistance level as it becomes easier to carry out the exercises.
- Consistently warm up. Due to diminished elasticity in tendons that happens later in life, warm-ups are very important. Stretching out the muscles you are preparing to exercise, as well as a full body warm-up with gentle cardio like a walk on the treadmill, is suggested, a minimum of 2 or 3 times every week. Health benefits consist of improved flexibility, elevated heart rate and body temperature and better readiness for any muscles which are about to be exercised.
- Switch to interval training. It is advised that interval training – intense exercise alternated with considerably easier “rest” periods – offers a greater benefit than a continuous exercise pace to burn off more calories and to maximize oxygen consumption.
- Increase rest days. Per Dr. David W. Kruse of the Hoag Orthopedic Institute, “You need to focus more on recovery after 50. Tissue recovery takes more time and more effort to support that recovery.” This may mean several days in between exercise sessions. Pay attention to any soreness experienced and the impact it’s having on the next workout to determine the best length of time to rest in between.
Make sure to check with your physician for personal recommendations on effective exercise programs, and if you have a client or loved one who could use help in giving the motivation, guidance, and transportation necessary to adhere to an exercise program and optimize health, contact Heaven at Home Senior Care in the Dallas metro area at 866-381-0500. All of our professional caregivers are experienced in helping the elderly optimize health and overall wellbeing, and we help make exercising, and other activities, more fulfilling.