As you spend time with others your age, you may have noticed that you all have something very important in common.
You are not as young as you used to be.
However, you may have noticed that some men and women over 50 are more youthful than others.
Perhaps some of your friends are suffering from high cholesterol, heart attacks, arthritis, obesity, neurological disorders, and a general lack of energy.
Meanwhile, a few of your peers may still seem full of vigor and as healthy as they were in their 30s. Chances are they have learned a valuable lesson that is your key to staying youthful.
When a sedentary person ages, they put themselves at high risk for age-related illnesses, loss of independence, and early death.
Most people begin to lose muscle mass after their 30s and sedentary people lose about 2% of their muscle strength every year after age 50. This muscle loss has many dangerous affects such as weight gain, lethargy, and unusual strain on the heart.
In fact, men over the age of 45 and women over 55 who get little or no exercise have a 70% higher risk of death from heart attack than those who exercise at least 3 times a week.
The loss of muscle is compounded by the 3% bone loss that occurs annually after age 50, especially for women. Weak muscles, weak bones, and extra weight can be a lethal combination.
For example, a study of elderly people showed that 90% of all sedentary people will suffer an accidental fall. 42% of those falls will result in a hip fracture or other serious injury that requires full-time care and takes away the patient’s independence.
On the other hand, people who practice over 50 fitness are still capable of improving their muscle mass, bone density, mental processes, and overall health.
A study by the University of Wisconsin examined sedentary people, aged 56 to 87, who began a light aerobics routine and were observed over a 6 year period.
Their results were compared to a control group that remained sedentary. The newly active group had a bone density increase of over 2% and a 23% increase in muscle strength. The active group reduced their risk of heart attack by 46%.
The study on accidental falls, above, also followed an active group that performed light Tai Chi three times weekly. Of this group, only 30% suffered a fall of which only 2% resulted in an injury.
In yet another study, it was demonstrated that the increased flow of blood to the brain and natural nerve stimulation improved cognitive abilities. As a result, doctors theorized that exercise may reduce the chances of Alzheimer’s by 38%.
It’s Never Too Late For Fitness
These amazing statistics should not be ignored. If you want to increase your chances of living into your 80s, 90s, or later, then you need to focus on fitness.
If you want to spend your later years independent, free to live life to the fullest, then now is the time for prevention. It is never too late to start.
If you make fitness a priority in your life, you will regain the stamina, strength, agility, health, and overall happiness you had in your younger days.
While any increase in activity is an excellent step, total fitness over fifty requires a plan that includes different types of exercise, good nutrition, and positive lifestyle changes.
First, let’s discuss an exercise plan.
A good exercise plan includes cardio, weight training, and flexibility training. The proportions of each that you will need to become fit depends on your body and personal fitness goals.
Cardio workouts increase your blood flow, which strengthens your cardiovascular system and burns calories.
Many people have had great success doing cardio workouts such as jogging, spinning, aerobics, and rock climbing.
If you are new to cardio, you may want to begin with a brisk walk and work your way up to a jog. If you have joint issues, cycling, swimming, and canoeing are all lower-impact cardio workouts.
Your weight training program greatly depends on your fitness goals. In general, weight training greatly builds muscle and taxes your bones to make them denser.
If you want to get the sculpted physique of a bodybuilder, your program will have to be more intense than if simply want to improve muscle tone and strength.
Weight training is typically done by focusing on one muscle group at a time or no more than two muscle groups on any day. Each day you focus on a new body part or parts until you have completed a cycle that includes a day of rest.
The more successful body builders typically stick to basic movements such as curls, the benchpress, and barbells. However, there have been those who have had just as much success using weight machines like the leg press and rowing machine.
Finally, flexibility exercises put focus on stretching and balance. Some of the more classic flexibility exercises are yoga and tai chi.
However, belly and ballroom dancing are also excellent for flexibility. These movements keep your muscles prepared for more intense exercises and they help improve joint stiffness.
It is also believed that these exercises promote mental health because of their relaxing, centered nature.
Nutrition & Lifestyle
Exercise is a powerful way to make your body healthier. However, your total fitness plan should include good nutrition and positive lifestyle changes.
Just as everyone’s exercise needs vary, so do nutritional needs. Your recommended calorie intake, along with protein, fat, carbohydrate, and fiber needs, will vary according to your individual body, fitness goals, and level of activity.
Also, many people have had success by changing their eating habits from 3 large meals daily to 5 or 6 smaller meals throughout the day.
Lifestyle changes may seem an unusual component of a total fitness plan, but they are as essential as exercise and nutrition.
Your focus on fitness will be more successful if you eliminate, or at least reduce, your consumption of cigarettes, alcohol, or other substances that injure your body.
Also, many people recommend reducing areas of stress that cause a lack of motivation, poor nutrition, and generally promote poor health.
Many of the men and women over 50 who have won awards for their healthy bodies insist that a positive mental outlook is the most essential part of a winning fitness plan.
Building Your Fitness Plan
Every person is different, so there is no cookie-cutter fitness over 50 plan out there that will work for you.
Rather than beginning with trial and error, you should research what has worked for other men and women over 50. Study as many cases as possible.
Make sure you pay attention to methods that worked for them, as well as methods that did not. Use that knowledge to build a unique exercise plan that will help you achieve your goals.
Fit Over 40 is a fantastic e-book that will help you develop your personal fitness plan. This e-book is a compilation of 52 true and amazing fitness stories of men and women between the age groups of 40 and 80.
Each person in the book shares their personal exercise plan, nutritional habits, and the lifestyle changes they made on their journey towards health. These people come from many different backgrounds with different motivations but they all reached the same goal.
You can reach that goal too if you use their experiences to create your path to a healthier, more youthful you. Click here to learn more…