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9 Tips For Staying Fit After 50

In 1996, Dan O’Brien stood on the podium in Atlanta to receive the gold medal for the decathlon in the Summer Olympic games. Before that, he was the three-time world champion for men’s decathlon, even setting the world record in 1992. 

Of course, 1996 was a long time ago. These days, you’d think Dan would be found taking things easy, enjoying the golden years and reflecting back on a life of athletic accomplishment, right? 

Wrong!

These days, Dan still trains rigorously and even owns his own gym in Scottsdale, Arizona. In his spare time he volunteers as a track coach at Arizona State University.

“You just need to try a little harder and you have to put more thought into workouts,” he says. And while he may not be at the level he was as an Olympic athlete, he adds, “You can still get fit, you can still get stronger.”

The lesson here is clear: age is nothing but a number! It doesn’t matter if you want to run a marathon or simply keep up with the grandkids -- your body is more capable than you think. 

Sure, most of the sports world is dominated by people under 30 with elite bodies and world-class training resources. But there are plenty of people like Dan -- people you won’t see on cereal boxes or prime-time television that are staying fit long after some people thought was possible. 

Did you once have a fitness goal you never achieved, and now feel like you’re “too old” to try again? It’s not too late. You just might change your mind after you read these tips on how to reach incredible athletic feats regardless of age. 

You Don’t Need To Train Like An Olympian

Dan O’Brien is a great example that you can continue to push yourself at any age. But getting a good workout doesn’t necessarily mean lifting heavy weights or going full-steam on a treadmill for hours on end. 

Most experts agree people 50 and over should aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate cardio activity a week. You can spread that out to 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week. In fact, it’s better to spread it out over time so your body is constantly moving throughout the week. 

No Gym Required

It may also be helpful for you to rethink what exercise actually means. That moderate cardio activity could come from walking, hiking, swimming, dancing, yoga… even gardening and cleaning the garage count! 

What’s important is to find an activity that you enjoy that will be easier to stick to than something boring and strenuous. The more fun it is, the better your chance for long-term success. 

Count Your Steps

In the not-too-distant past, this would be a tedious and annoying task you’d have to do manually. Fortunately, technology has caught up with us and makes tracking footsteps a literal no-brainer. There are apps built into most smartphones that will keep track of the steps you take every day. 

A collaborative study involving 14 researchers from the United States, Australia, Canada, France, and Sweden found that women should aim for 10,000 steps per day for weight control, while men should aim for 11,000.

Not sure where to get your steps from? Make it a habit to park further away, or plan daily walks around the neighborhood!

Stretch Daily 

The necessity for stretching after 50 cannot be overstated. Stretching allows your body to stay flexible, and that will be of monumental importance when you exercise. That’s because you need good range-of-motion in your joints and proper blood flow in your muscles in order to exercise effectively and avoid injury. 

Michelle Olson, adjunct professor of exercise science at Huntingdon College in Montgomery, Alabama, recommends a total body stretch involving all major muscle groups a minimum of two to three times a week. Ideally, this would be done after each workout, while the muscles are still warm. 

Improve Your Digestive Health 

Most people focus on how their gut looks when it comes to fitness, but make no mistake, you should be focusing on how it feels and how it functions, too! The muscles and nerves in your digestive tract may not work quite as well as they did in your younger years, and that should be monitored, because a weak gastrointestinal tract could inhibit your fitness goals. 

Our intestines contract naturally when we exercise and pass waste through our system, so it’s important to keep the digestive system working on a regular basis. Fill your diet with fermented foods like cultured milk and yogurt, kombucha, and sauerkraut, or take a probiotic supplement. 

Cut Back On Salt 

Sodium consumption has a clear connection to higher blood pressure, and that can cause inflammation in the body as well as put you at risk for stroke, heart attack, heart failure and kidney disease. In terms of your fitness goals, too much salt causes your body to retain more water, which shows up as extra pounds on the scale. Not only that, high salt diets appear to be linked to higher body fat -- particularly fat in the midsection, where most people want to see fat the least. 

Most of the salt of the American diet (a whopping 72 percent) comes from processed foods like chips and processed meat. Try to limit sodium consumption to 1500 mg or less per day. 

Let Your Body Recover

If you’re committed to a new fitness goal, you may be so excited that you just want to get out there and run, lift and jump all day, every day. But not so fast -- because while exercise is obviously an important factor in your fitness, just as important is your body having the appropriate time to recover. 

In fact, fitness experts will tell you recovery is the single-most important part of any training or exercise program, because it allows for improved performance and gives your body a chance to heal itself in preparation for the next exercise session. So while you may feel like you’re being lazy or uncommitted by taking a day off, you should know it’s exactly what your body needs. 

Don’t Skimp On Sleep 

Speaking of recovery, you also need to make sure you’re getting enough shut-eye to let your body’s batteries recharge and the recovery process to truly take shape. When you sleep, your body goes into repair mode where it builds up the muscles that were broken down during exercise. 

Studies have shown more sleep results in marked improvements in athletes’ performance, including faster sprint times, longer endurance, lower heart rate and an overall better workout. So if you’re tempted to skip out on some much-needed Zs for the sake of a workout, you’ll serve your body much better by staying in bed. 

Don’t Do Anything That Hurts 

Some workouts and fitness programs will be sure to challenge you and push you to your physical limits. That’s generally a good thing. What isn’t a good thing is when you’re doing something that’s causing your joints or muscles severe pain and trying to push through. 

And often, that’s when injury can occur, which could result in an injury that sets you back from reaching your fitness goals. 

Now, I have a lot of patients that tell me the number 1 thing that stops them from even pursuing a fitness program is their nagging joint and/or muscle pain. They say it gets so bad they struggle to do everyday tasks, so even light exercise is out of the question. 

And many of my patients are (rightfully so) wary of over-the-counter pain pills due to their long-term health risks. 

That’s why I developed a simple, effective, pain-free solution that anyone can use that has been shown to vanish pain instantly… without swallowing one pill.

If you’d like to see my brand-new solution proven to eliminate nagging joint & muscle pain, click here to learn more.

 

 

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References:

[1] https://www.si.com/edge/2016/10/24/training-after-50-dan-obrien-older-adults-workout-tips

[2] https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/01/080111231316.htm

[3] https://www.nextavenue.org/fitness-exercise-rules-change-50/

[4] https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/the-surprising-link-between-salt-and-weight-gain/

[5] https://absolutehealthperformance.com.au/recovery

[6] https://www.phillymag.com/be-well-philly/2013/11/01/sleep-lack-affects-workout/

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