SHAPING UP: How to keep fit after 50

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.

Tuesday, 2nd February 2021, 12:00 am
Top tips for keeping fit in your 50s and beyond.

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 4 personal training clients in their sixties and 3 in their seventies. 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.

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Regular activity not only improves your joint mobility and increases physical strength and energy, but you will also notice better quality sleep. It also improves cognitive function and helps prevent illness and disease.

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 twenties 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.

Tips:

Whether you’re just starting a new programme, or you’ve been exercising all of your life, follow these tips to 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!

Brekkie Bars

SERVES: 12

TOTAL TIME: 30 minutes

CALORIES PER PORTION:320

The ultimate grab ’n’ go breakfast. Perfect if your mornings are always a rush and you need something quick and easy.

INGREDIENTS

400g muesli

45g dried cranberries 45g dried apricots 25g rice puffs

35g flour

175g unsalted butter 80ml golden syrup 25g coconut sugar

1 egg, lightly beaten

INSTRUCTIONS

Preheat oven to 160°C/350°F/gas 4.

Grease a 20cm x 30cm pan with butter or olive oil cooking spray, and line the bottoms and sides with baking paper.

Place the muesli, cranberries and apricots in a food processor and blitz until finely chopped.

Transfer to a large bowl, add the rice puffs and flour, and stir to combine.

Next, place the butter, golden syrup and coconut sugar in a saucepan and stir constantly over medium heat for about 3 minutes, or until butter has fully melted.

Add the beaten egg to the muesli mixture, followed by the melted butter and stir to combine. Spoon into the prepared pan and press down evenly.

Cook for 20-25 minutes or until the top has become golden. Allow to cool before removing from the pan.

Cut into bars and serve or keep in the freezer.

10-MINUTE DUMBBELL HIIT

If you’ve shopped for weights online lately, you may have noticed a distinct shortage. With gyms closed across the country, interest in home fitness has skyrocketed, and people have been snapping up training equipment like it’s going out of fashion. If you’re lucky enough to own a pair of dumbbells, try this 10-minute dumbbell HIIT to target your full body in a short space of time.

30 GOBLET SQUATS

30 LATERAL LUNGE

30 BURPEE PRESS

30 CURL N PRESS

30 PLANK ROWS

X 4

Before you start the workout go to the East Coast Fitness Facebook page and watch the short demo video to make sure your technique is correct.