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Fit at 50 and Beyond

Staying fit never gets old

By P. J. Ellison

Slower metabolism. Weaker bones. Loss of muscle mass. And like Leonard Cohen once crooned, “I ache in the places where I used to play.” Maybe it takes a bit longer for the soreness to subside, but that’s no reason to stop “playing.” After the age of 50, staying physically active is as important as ever.

First, work on flexibility. If you groan just putting on your socks, you’ve got work to do. Don’t fret. Flexibility tends to fade with age. Focus on stretching and more stretching.

After stretching comes a warm-up. Start workouts with jogging on the spot, jumping jacks, or some stairs. Ten minutes should help get the blood flowing.

Avoid exercises that put pressure on joints and bones. Of course, if you were exercising regularly through your 30s and 40s, you can probably handle a few high-impact exercises in your 50s.

That said, long stretches of cardio might not be for you, at least not right away. Intense jogging, cycling, or marathon of squash or tennis can wear the body down and cause injuries along the way. Many experts suggest keeping sessions to 30 minutes or less, and focusing on strength training. It helps increase muscle mass while strengthening bones.

Walk. Regular walks help reduce risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, and mental strife. It’s a good way to get to know your city all over again while burning fat. Just remember to pick up the pace.

Now take a breath. Recovery time between workouts keeps growing once you pass 40, but there’s no shame in taking it slow. Listen to you body. And always consult your doctor before tackling a new fitness regime.

 

Winter 2017, Vol 9 N°1

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