10 Rules For Staying In Shape As You Age

10 Rules For Staying In Shape As You Age

We all know staying active over 50 is vital but knowing what to do and how to work out is harder information to come by. From why we should be lifting weights to the importance of mobility, here’s what three trainers had to say about feeling strong and remaining fit and healthy as we age.

Accept Your Limits

“Letting go of past decades can be a challenge for many women post-50 when they feel their body isn’t looking or working quite the same as it used to. I like to think of the fifties as a time to embrace one’s maturity and the joy of midlife with a greater awareness of what really matters for health and fitness. It’s also a time to accept your limits and work with them, rather than giving up. If you haven’t exercised for a while, don’t be put off, but be mindful of where you are at right now. Think about what’s important to you and your health, as well as what you may enjoy. The key is to start with the basics, work on your technique and quality of movement, and learn to move better and more efficiently.” – Christina Howells, PT

Lift Weights To Strengthen Muscle & Bone

“Both bone and muscle strength decline with age and warrant equal attention if you want to add life to your years. To improve strength, you should focus on the lower body, where the body’s largest muscles are found, work against resistance using either weights or bands, and keep exercises functional to enhance daily movement, such as getting out of a chair, walking up the stairs and carrying shopping. Squats, for example, improve your ability to sit whilst also engaging your core. By the time you reach 50, bone strength is also depleted, further influenced by declining hormones. To stimulate your bones, you need to increase the load or force on your muscles, so incorporate resistance training either with weights or your own bodyweight.” – Christina 

Be Savvy With Cardio

“You need both strength and cardio as you age, but the type of cardio you do matters. The likes of cycling and the cross-trainer will raise your heart rate but, as there’s no impact involved, they won’t strengthen your bones. Instead, consider jumping, skipping and running. My top tip? Focus on strength training a few times a week as well as a daily 30-minute walk at a brisk pace. This will work your heart and lungs without overdoing it and walking also provides impact for your bones. It’s a sneaky way of ticking both the strength and cardio boxes.” – Christina 

Don’t Forget About Your Pelvic Floor 

“The pelvic floor is often neglected. Yet, as a major muscle that’s connected to your core, it plays a valuable role in preventing and improving stress incontinence as we age. Just five minutes of pelvic floor exercises a day can significantly reduce incontinence. Once you get the hang of it, you can do them anywhere, at any time, and it’s never too late to get started.” – Christina 

Both bone and muscle strength decline with age and warrant equal attention if you want to add life to your years.
Christina Howells

Think Quality Over Quantity

“One of the most common mistakes I see women over 50 making is not allowing enough time for adequate rest between workouts. As we age, we need to be more aware of recovery and I myself have had to make peace with the fact that I can’t push all the time. Take the time to focus on mobility exercises – try Hunter Fitness Kinstretch online classes. Developing a daily mobility routine will keep you moving and functioning better – there’s no doubt about it.” – Christina 

Mix Things Up

“Once you turn 50, it pays to plan your exercise to ensure you’re ticking all the boxes. An ideal week of exercise would be two or three HIIT sessions, one slower-paced hour of long-endurance cardio such as a weight session, reformer Pilates or power yoga and walking where you can. Walking is a great way to flush toxins away from the body and elevate the heart rate. It’s also a unilateral movement, meaning it can help release tension in tight backs and hips. If you enjoy walking, mix up the terrain to keep your heart in an aerobic zone and try to also do some longer walks.” – Monique Eastwood, PT and founder of Eastwood Fit

Keep It Short & Sweet

“If done correctly, short, high-intensity weight training just three times a week for around 12 to 15 minutes is enough to make a substantial difference to muscle recovery and strength. Exercising in this way will also support the body from both a cardiovascular and fitness point of view, as well as joints and overall strength. If you’re new to using weights, start with a set of three – 2kg, 4kg and 6kg. Start with the lightest and practise form. Find a good-quality video online or an online trainer and use a mirror to check your positioning and posture. Once you’ve perfected your form, go for the heaviest weights you can lift, keeping that form. The goal is to train until ‘failure’ – i.e., if you are doing six repetitions, you should be struggling at five, and only just manage the sixth. If you lose your form, you need to go lighter.” – Zana Morris, nutritional, fitness and life-stage expert and founder of Strong Nutrients

If done correctly, short, high-intensity weight training just three times a week for around 12 to 15 minutes is enough to make a substantial difference to muscle recovery and strength.
Zana Morris

Think About Nutrition

“Not eating for an hour (or even better two hours) before exercising can help the body burn fat. Do the same after exercising, too. Your body releases hormones when you exercise which reduce insulin, build muscle and target belly fat but, if you eat, you prevent this from happening. If you are looking to lose fat, know that 85% of fat loss is down to nutrition. Exercise will help balance your hormones and help sculpt your body. Once you get past 50, being smart with your nutrition is also key. As we age, changes in oestrogen levels can make the body more insulin resistant, meaning the carbs you eat are more likely to lead to weight gain. Therefore, a lower-carb plan can make all the difference, especially when combined with lots of protein and healthy fats.” – Zana 

Don’t Worry Too Much About Heart Rate

“There are all sorts of devices available to track your heart rate while you work out, but there’s no need to overcomplicate things. At the end of the day, heart rate varies hugely between individuals – we store our energy differently, our hormones and genetics are different, and our fitness and strength levels also weigh into the equation. If you’re stressed, your heart rate will also be elevated and, if you’ve had a double espresso before exercising, this will also raise your heart rate. If it’s a metric you want to keep an eye on, work out where your maximum heart rate should be for your age, as well as where it should be for short bursts of high intensity training. Note that as you get fitter, your heart rate may creep up a little more.” – Monique 

Finally, Remember Gardening Isn’t Necessarily A Good Workout

“We’re often told that gardening and housework can count towards your workout quota, but it depends on how vigorously you’re doing these tasks. There’s a big difference between digging a hole in the ground to putting a rose bush in and pruning it. The mantra I always tell my clients is that something has to challenge you to create change.” – Monique 
For more information visit EastwoodFit.com, ThatGirlLondon.com, ZanaMorris.com and StrongNutrients.com.
DISCLAIMER: Features published by SheerLuxe are not intended to treat, diagnose, cure or prevent any disease. Always seek the advice of your GP or another qualified healthcare provider for any questions you have regarding a medical condition, and before undertaking any diet, exercise or other health-related programme.

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