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Staying Fit As We Age

June 28, 2018

Staying Fit As We Age

Science hasn’t yet made it possible for us to get younger. But staying fitter, faster, and better at what we do may be the closest thing we have to a fountain of youth.

As you may be approaching or just passing middle age, the ability to keep doing what you love a couple of times a week and still have some energy to be sociable afterwards may be all the satisfaction you need.

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While you may not have the agenda, the gadgets or support staff of an elite athlete, there are some things you can be mindful about when you train on that treadmill, bike or elliptical. Here a few things to focus on as you balance your training with your day-to-day life.

Structure Your Training

This means keep to a schedule. It's about ramping up training gradually, preparing your body for specific demands, and avoiding fatigue. If you have been training for a marathon and then your buddies ask you to join them for a weekend warrior event like a Tough Mudderer, just say no. The reason is at your age jumping from one strenuous activity to another without proper preparation is just an invitation for injury. And you certainly won't be feeling good if you're sidelined from that marathon goal.

Focus on Recovery

Ending your workout is just as important as the workout itself. For some this can mean yoga, foam-rolling, ice tubbing, or meditating. It encompasses both recovery and range-of-motion work that prevents the sorts of movement limitations and compensations that can build up over time and lead to injuries.

When we were younger, a cool down may involved a cold beer with your friends. Now, stretching and self-massage along with the right straps, bands, and foam rollers can become your best friends to hang out with.

Eat More Protein

If you’re eating a healthy diet—lots of different fruits and vegetables, proteins, and whole grains, not too much sugar or processed stuff—you’re probably fine. But, if you want to avoid losing muscle as you age, it’s worth making a couple of tweaks. Increase the protein in your diet as well as the number of times you consume it during the day. Plus, adding protein to anything you eat effectively lowers its glycemic index. 

Injury History

Reaching this age, you probably have had some type of injury already. Don't let the past hold you back from the future. If you have access to an AlterG anti-gravity treadmill (which is supplied by Landice) that's a great way to safely add strength to your workout. If you don’t, there are still plenty of ways to embrace this concept.

Instead of adding weight to an exercise, incorporate a balance element, like doing pushups on one of those half Bosu-balls, or add a second force vector, like having a resistance band around your knees during squats. Focusing on smaller, neglected muscle groups is not a recipe for getting huge, but it’s great for developing functional strength and avoiding injury.

Cross-Train

While you may have said no to the weekend warrior request, this doesn't mean you can't try new things. In fact, doing a little cross-training is healthy as we age. The key is take it slow and then build up. You don't have to be a hero day one with a new activity. 

Challenging your body in the same ways day after day for decades is an efficient way to chew up your body. Challenging it in different ways is the perfect cure.

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