Exercise over 50…Does it really matter…? If I don’t do regular exercise? This is a question I’m often asked when I talk to people about my exercise routine, and the research I have done and the things I have learned. And the answer is undoubtedly…YES!
People say “but I feel fine”, “what’s the point in pushing yourself like that?” “We are all going to die of something” My reply to this is Yes, we are all getting older and aging is a part of life, but we don’t have to accept the negative consequences it can have on our health and fitness by just literally sitting back and letting it happen day on day which it will, while we just say we’re fine.
Our bodies and minds were designed to be used and pushed through a whole range of processes and activities to keep them working in prime condition just like machines.
As we get older it’s true that our whole body processes start to slow. Our brain and physiology want to work slower, but it has been proven scientifically that if we allow this to happen it will advance at a rate faster than you can imagine we have all seen examples of this in our life time
For me, I can honestly say I did not consciously experience any aging fatigue until I was in my 50’s. I’m not saying it wasn’t there because we both know it was, but the lifestyle choices and fitness exercises I had done diminished it, so it was not part of my daily life.
In my 50’s I could recognise it consciously, for the first time and for me it was on two levels: a) I had to be more determined and focussed, and to push harder to do my exercise and fitness plan on a daily basis. There is more resistance believe me it would have been so easy to give up…but the thing is DON’T! Your body will still go through the same range of movement. Because the thing is, it still can, and it most definitely will, if you make it and do it regularly. You will feel so much better for it, not only physically but mentally. b) I feel a little more tired at the end of the day, but I would have that every time, over allowing the aging process and the fatigue it can bring to take over….which it will if you let it. And this is nothing that a good night’s sleep won’t cure, which is also easier to achieve when you maximize your activity in the day.
The components of physical fitness demands of your body that there’s endurance. This is the body’s ability to sustain oxygen and nutrition to the body tissues over a sustained period of time. This in its self will go along way to keeping you fit and ward of disease.
And then there is flexibility the ability to move joints, and use muscles in the full wide range of activities and movements also Using weights is very beneficial for strengthening the entire body, this becomes more effective over time, using free weights whilst standing is a very effective exercise which supports bone strength. Which can significantly reduce osteoporosis in men; yes it’s not just something that affects women. One in five men over the age of 50 will have an osteoporosis related fracture in their remaining lifetime.
When you do free weight training your entire body is supporting the weight that is why the muscles actively move during the exercise. As you lift the free weights, weight stabilisation also takes place keeping your body in a steady manner, this promotes additional muscle strength.
At any age our bodies and minds need to be kept active, and when we are over 50 this will be more challenging…but so vital to maintain our quality of life.
Our ancestors never had to focus on exercising the way we do. They worked from dawn to dusk eating small amounts of food as they hunted and gathered which was consumed and used. Just to maintain their existence, they would push their bodies through the full range of activities needed for health, flexibility and maintaining muscle in their everyday lives.
In the 21st Century, life is very different. Our bodies and minds still demand the same range of activity, but it is possible in today’s world to walk no more than a few hundred metres in a day and do nothing more vigorous than cleaning our teeth, or combing our hair.
That’s why it’s important to have a fitness plan in place, and it does really matter if we want to sustain health and mobility as we grow older. And to have the quality of life we deserve.