Between 1980 and 2010, the number of 100-year-olds increased 66 percent. Start planning your century birthday party with some help from La Jolla Sports Club!
The Greek myth of Cronos goes as such: Cronos learned from Gaia and Uranus that he was destined to be overcome by his own sons, just as he had overthrown his father. As a result, although he sired the gods Demeter, Hestia, Hera, Hades and Poseidon by Rhea, he devoured them all as soon as they were born to prevent the prophecy. Happy Father’s Day!
While you’re contemplating your own mortality at brunch this weekend, take a moment to soak in your past, and then your future, and then realize that said future is yet to be written, and then proclaim wildly from your mimosa and eggs benedict, ‘F#@% that!’ This will make for good conversation at next year’s brunch when you are: fitter, healthier and generally more awesome. Yes, 50 isn’t the same as it used to be.
So, you’re 50+
And? With the knowledge that working out = longevity, more and more people are embracing fitness as a preventative measure against aging. The good news is that it isn’t too late to start (but don’t wait any longer), and you can make incredible gains at any age. Your body after 50, however, is biologically different than in your younger years, so if you’re starting from scratch or maybe amping up after a while, we have a few tips, ideas and tough love for you.
Check ego at door.
Every single one of your La Jolla Sports Club Personal Trainers has a client that cannot forget his glory days. Be it tennis, golf, surfing, soccer, football, there is an inevitable longing to be able to compete at a prior level. Luckily, as we age, we also gain wisdom, so this might be a good time to remember that
You are not 20. Or 30. Or 40.
Not only has your metabolism slowed down, but your recovery time has, as well. This means that while you used to be able to crush your body and bounce back into LJSC the next day, you’re going to need a little more time to recover. At this point in your training career, you might want to forego the split days (different body parts on different days of the week) and choose a full-body workout 2-3x per week with at least a day of rest in between. Building and maintaining muscle in your 50s and beyond is wildly important for maintaining a strong skeleton and active lifestyle.
Cardio is key.
The American Heart Association recommends a minimum of 150 minutes of moderate activity per week for health and weight maintenance. If you are looking to shave off a few pounds, you’re aiming for twice that much and / or upping the intensity. If it’s been a while since you’ve exercised, don’t try to prove something to the young punks by running at top speed (See: Ego, above). Like any muscle, your heart needs to be conditioned, so start at 40 percent to 60 percent of your maximum heart rate for 15 minutes, building up to 30 minutes. After four to six weeks of regular workouts, increase the intensity to between 50 percent and 85 percent of your maximum heart rate, and increase the time if you want to lose weight. Those rest days we mentioned would be good days to get your cardio in.
Elliptical, biking and swimming are great low-impact exercises. And if you choose jogging or running, according to the Chicago Tribune, dropping as little as 11 pounds reduces the chance of getting arthritis in your knees by 50 percent; and 10 pounds of excess body weight delivers an extra 20 to 30 pounds of stress to your knees with every step. Good motivation to keep your nutrition in check!
Stretching and Balance.
When we lose our flexibility, we also lose our balance due to negative changes in our connective tissue. Just 10 minutes of stretching per day will help battle the slips and falls that threaten daily living. Our stretching and yoga classes are a great place to brush up on some flexibility and balance, but if you opt for the home version, we recommend warming up a little bit in the morning before stretching, especially your back. And speaking of warming up,
For the sake of muscle tears, please warm up.
Other quick hits:
- While machines are good for building muscle, we live in three dimensions, so it’s a good idea to use movements that reflect that idea (squat vs leg press; reverse lunge vs leg curl; dumbbell press vs machine press, etc–see a La Jolla Sports Club Personal Trainer with any questions!)
- Warm up
- Planks and other core movements are a necessity to protect your spine, but you can skip the full sit-ups, which create an uneven load on the lower back
- Pain is a warning sign, listen to your body and don’t try to push through it (See: Ego, above)
- Doing the same workout since 1984? Switch it up and cross-train to keep your body guessing and your brain engaged
Have you had luck incorporating fitness into your later life? Any advice on setbacks? Leave a comment below!
Have a great Father’s Day, dads, thanks for all you do!
// Your La Jolla Sports Club team