Staying fit after turning 50

Mix it up with different exercises and routines in the gym.
Mix it up with different exercises and routines in the gym.

As you get older, your body may not be as fit and efficient as it used to be, but that doesn’t mean you’ve got to give up on your health and fitness all together.

In fact, it’s even more important to stay fit and active so that you can maintain a good quality of life; physically and mentally.

I’ve got four personal training clients in their 60s and three in their 70s. They might not be able to work at the intensity that they used to, but we tailor their workouts to suit their fitness levels, and all of them are feeling fitter and healthier than they have for years!

We’ve also got lots of members over 50-years-old taking part in our group training sessions, keeping fit and having fun every week.

Some of them are fitter now than they were in their 30s and 40s! It’s fantastic to see them all looking after their bodies and living a healthy lifestyle.

Regular activity not only improves your joint mobility and increases physical strength and energy, but you will also notice better quality sleep.

Exercise also helps with weight management, which is very important because as we get older we lose muscle mass and our metabolism slows down, meaning it’s easier to gain weight.

If you take part in group exercise, like boot camps or gym classes, you’ll also benefit from the social side of it too.

How to stay fit after 50

There is a greater risk of injury as we age because our joints are older and more fragile, but that doesn’t mean we can’t push ourselves.

We might not be able to push ourselves as hard as we could when in our 20s but it doesn’t mean we have to stick to gentler forms of activity.

Ideally, a physical activity programme for people over 50 should include a combination of balance, stretching, cardiovascular, and weight-training.

It’s important to start out with an experienced personal trainer though so the programme can match your ability.

It might take longer to ease into gradually and you also have to take account of the fact that there may be some wear and tear on the joints so your reaction and recovery times may be slower, but as long as you have someone who understands all that you certainly can and should start exercising and can do it at any age.

Even if you can’t jump around with a barbell on you back, you may still be able to perform bodyweight squats or other lower impact alternatives. It’s all about knowing how far to push.

Follow these tips to help you workout safely and effectively:

Warm up well

It takes longer to get your muscles working properly as you get older because the various systems take a little longer to fire up.

So always perform a light five-minute warm up first, like a brisk walk.

Mix it up

Don’t keep doing the same thing day in day out. Change your routine regularly.

If you lift the same weights or walk at the same speed all the time you won’t get any stronger or fitter.

Incorporate some interval training, combining high and low intensities, or classes into your fitness programme.

Don’t cut it short

You need to exercise for a minimum of 20 minutes, three times a week to reap any benefits.

As you get fitter you can increase the time and frequency if you wish.

Work your core

As we age our core strength suffers, which can result in bad posture and soreness in the back, knees and hips. So, make sure you incorporate some core-strengthening exercises twice a week.

If you’re over 50 and are thinking about starting some exercise, if you would like some advice, just get in touch, I’d be happy to help!

WORKOUT

The 12-minute leg and bum HIIT which needs no equipment

This workout targets your legs and bum within 12 minutes.

You don’t need any equipment so you can do this anywhere!

Before you start the workout, head over to www.youtube.com/grahamlowpt to watch the demonstration video.

The aim is to complete four rounds of the following exercises, which should take 12 minutes in total.

l 15 seconds JUMP N REACH

l 30 seconds LUNGES

l 45 seconds SPEED SKATERS

l 60 seconds ROTATING SQUAT JACKS

l 30 seconds rest

For more videos from Graham Low, check out his East Coast Fitness YouTube channel at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCCFKVwpAv1kXE8SeA_q7j7w


RECIPE OF THE WEEK

Strawberry smoothie bowl

This is a fairly straightforward smoothie bowl that is refreshing and healthy.

Ingredients

½ frozen banana

340g frozen strawberries

240ml alpro coconut milk

Toppings

Raspberries

Flaked almonds

Coconut chips

Cacao nibs

Chocolate chips

Raw honey

Instructions

Combine the frozen banana, strawberry and coconut milk in a high speed blender and blend until mixture is thick but blended together – you might need extra coconut milk if it won’t blend to a nice smooth texture.

Once you have the desired consistency, pour in to two bowls and top with the raspberries, almonds, coconut, cacao nibs, chocolate chips and raw honey.