7 Secrets to Lifelong Exercise After 50

The key is in factors that you already control.
Most mornings you will find Diane, 65, at the gym starting her day with a workout. She has always performed some form of exercise, although very sporadic, she has now worked to be more consistent in her routine.
Diane doesn’t have to make herself go to the gym; it has simply become part of her lifestyle. And anyone over 50 can make the transition from sporadic workouts to a more committed routine. The key to becoming a lifelong exerciser has less to do with access to a gym and more to do with factors that you can control.
Here are seven ways you can start working out — and stick with it:
1. Schedule It
Most people who are regular exercisers self-regulate their time to include exercise as part of their normal day. If you find that you are never able to find the time, then scheduling an appointment for exercise will help you be more consistent. This requires actually blocking off time in your calendar and treat it like a medical appointment since it will improve your health.
While working out in the morning increases your chance of sticking with it, choose a time that works for you. Some people prefer midday workouts, while others are more consistent with late-afternoon sessions. The best time for you to workout is when you will be the most consistent.
2. Create Your Support Network
Research shows that having a workout partner makes you more likely to stick with an exercise program. Some people will prefer to take exercise classes for the camaraderie and social support instead of exercising by themselves.
Talk to your significant other and friends other about your intentions and get him, her, or them on board. You may find that some of your friends have similar goals and together you can help each other reach them.
Diane has belonged to the same gym for more than 20 years and has made longstanding friends there. When she was younger it was only about exercising, but later the social part of the gym and the friends there became a source of enjoyment.
3. Increase the Intensity
It may sound counterintuitive, but pushing yourself a little harder than normal can increase the pleasure you derive from exercise. A recent study published found that increasing the intensity, doing a more challenging workout that includes intervals as opposed to steady-state cardio, can increase the amount of enjoyment you get from your workout. And when you feel good after the workout, you’re more likely to want to keep doing it.
4. Get Outside
Do you hate working out in a gym? Then don’t do it! Get outside and go for a hike, a run, a swim, play tennis, ride a bike, go standup paddle boarding. Anything that is a better fit with your lifestyle and is physical exertion is still exercise.
There are so many opportunities to exercise. At this point in your life, you can make yourself a priority. We traditionally think of exercise as doing something for 30 minutes or longer, but even 10 minutes is fine. Try new things and see what you enjoy. Enjoyment does help with adherence over time.
5. Protect Your Body
Regardless of what you choose to do for exercise, it’s important to include range-of-motion activities on a regular basis. That might be taking yoga once a week or doing flexibility or stretching exercises several times a week. This will help reduce your risk of injury and help you maintain your mobility as you get older.
Also, 2-3 days of strength training every week. For women especially, I always encourage strength training. This make sure you have the strength to continue to do the everyday tasks you may now take for granted.
6. Develop Intrinsic Motivation
People who exercise for extrinsic reasons, like to lose weight or to look a certain way, aren’t as likely to stick with it as those who have intrinsic motivation, which is doing exercise for its own sake. Being mindful about your workouts, paying attention to the feeling of moving your body and the satisfaction you feel at the end of workout, can help develop this inner motivation and stick with exercise after the earlier goals are long gone.
7. Invest in Your Health
Everyone is looking a magic pill to make them look and feel better. Exercise has the ability to affect you physically, emotionally, intellectually and cognitively. It’s not something you have to work hard to do! You have to figure out how to incorporate it into your daily life so you’re able to do the things you want to do and have the quality of life you want. Exercise is one of the things that will allow you do that.
Make exercise a part of your lifestyle. When you finish a workout you feel great. There’s no other way to put it. So why would anybody stop doing things that make them feel good?
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5 Exercises to Quit After 50 – You can still keep fit and avoid injuries if you follow these rules

Working out the same way in your 50s as you did in your 20s or 30s sets you up for pain and problems. Our bodies change as we age and muscular strength, bone density, flexibility, and recovery time make injuries more likely as you age if you don’t adjust your workout.
Your risk of injury will be greatly decreased by eliminating some exercises altogether.
My professors always taught that there are no bad exercises, just a lot of exercises used incorrectly. People are built differently and have varying levels of fitness. Make sure you have the flexibility and range of motion to be able to perform every exercise using proper form. Increase weight and repetitions incrementally over time to ensure you are able to handle the new stress.
In general, experts suggest avoiding the following exercises if you are over 50:
Heavy Leg Extension machine
This exercise involves extending the legs up out in front of you with resistance in front of your ankles while in a seated position on a machine. It isolates the quadriceps in front of the thighs and placed a significant amount of load across the knee joint.
This machine puts an unnecessary stress over the knee cap area, causing wear and tear in the knee joint. I still have some clients use this machine with light weight (less than 30 lbs) and perform the exercise single leg at the end of the workout, but never heavy. This can be a great rehab exercise or one of the worst single exercises for your knees if you use too much weight.
Instead, use squats, or wall sits to strengthen the same muscles without the risk of injuring your knees.
Pull ups or pull downs behind the head
This exercise works primarily the back muscles in addition to the biceps and shoulders. Behind the neck pull ups or pull downs places tremendous stress across the shoulders and rotator cuff tendons. Since rotator cuff injuries are very common after age 50 due to the lack of elasticity and strength, this exercise is not a good choice.
Safer and equally effective alternatives include pull ups or pull downs in front of the head, stopping the bar at the chest. Make sure to also utilize a horizontal row exercise or machine to also strengthen the muscles that support the back of the shoulders.
Sit ups
Sit ups have been one of the worst exercises for your lower back for decades. Yet, many people (including the military) continue to use this exercise for abdominal strength. The military is finally looking to replace sit ups due to the increased rate of injury for troops. They are studying planks as a better alternative to the injury prone sit up.
When we talk core strength, we mean 3 areas (abs, lower back, and obliques) and most people only focus on the first one. Balance out your workout with exercises that will strengthen the other 2 areas. Which leads us to the next exercise.
Flutter Kicks
This is also a staple of the military and many fitness fans that only focus on the abdominal section of their core. This exercise places a significant load on the abs and even more load on the lower back that you have not been working to strengthen. It will work your abs, but usually at the cost of your lower back.
Again, balance your core routine. Any exercise that places a load on your core means that your lower back is supporting musculature. If you lower back is not capable of handling this load, you will end up with a lower back injury, and a lifetime of lower back problems.
Good Mornings
This is meant to be a back-strengthening exercise that involves placing the weight behind your head while bending forward from the waist with your legs straight and knees locked, where you use your lower back muscles to pull yourself back up. This move can cause issues for you if you have any type of lumbar (lower back) instability or stenosis.
Stick with a whole body exercise like deadlifts that will strengthen your back, glutes, hamstrings, and even upper back. The body does not work well placing a load against isolated muscles across a single joint. The body works by spreading the load out against multiple muscles and joints. Isolation is great for rehab and body building, but not to build functional strength. If utilized incorrectly or with too much load, it causes injury.
Any exercise that you perform should have a purpose (i.e. strengthen specific muscles or movement patterns). Performing exercises that do not directly relate to your goals is a waste of your time and increases your risk of injury. Start with lighter weights using combined motions, such as squats versus single joint movements like leg extensions, that are not as functional.
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3 Rules for Fitness After 50

A funny thing happens to our bodies as we age: Our body doesn’t respond to exercise as it did earlier in our life. Fatigue, muscle and joint aches and increased injuries seem to happen with greater frequency.

Unfortunately, it’s not your imagination. It is a normal consequence of aging. In fact, some of the “standard” fitness rules no longer apply, at least not in the same way as they did in your 30s and even 40s.

Most people have a health goal as they age to be both “physically and mentally independent” rather than fit into a certain jean size. Everyone wants to feel better in their own skin so they can enjoy their leisure time with children/grandchildren, travel with ease of movement, or perform optimally in their careers? The trick is to attach “meaning” to your fitness goals and do the work, step by step.

You are the only one who can make and keep yourself healthy, not your doctor. Your doctor can assist you, but its 95% you. Even when surgery is involved, the outcome is more dependent on you than it is your surgeon. The surgeon makes the healing possible but if you don’t follow through with your share of the work, the surgery will fail. If you get knee surgery but don’t do any rehab other than what they force you do to in those six post-op sessions, then your knee will never be 100% and it is your fault, not your surgeons.

Rule 1 – Work Smarter Before Working Harder

Just a few tweaks to your exercise choices can make all the difference. Exercises that utilize more muscles burn more calories, and tend to also hit the larger muscles like legs and back. Hiring a trainer to run you through these more complex choices for just a couple of sessions can put you on a road to much greater progress and be worth the money in the long run….(maybe have one less bottle of wine a week to make up for it!!)

Talk To Experts – Guess work is the worst thing you can do when you exercise: it leads to poor results, and a lot of wasted time and money. If there’s a question you don’t know the answer to, just ask a pro.

Drop Your Ego – Nobody cares how much weight you lift. Nobody is watching and nobody is tracking. What does draw attention is terrible lifting technique. Lifting well beyond what you can handle just to look good in front of other people is pretty much the same as tattooing “I’m insecure about my strength” on your forehead. If you can’t bench, squat, deadlift and curl with immaculate technique, it may be time to drop down a weight, develop authentic strength and come back to lift heavier another day. If it really is respect you’re after, that’ll be how you earn it.

It’s You vs You – Never be disheartened by the progress or condition of others. Everyone has their own genetic make-up, their own goals and their own challenges. All you need to concentrate on is being a little bit better than you were yesterday.

Get Compound – Never substitute tried and tested compound exercises in the name of isolation or the latest exercise craze. The classic exercises have earned their status because they’ve been tried and tested over time. Be sure that your strength training program includes some of the following exercises such as: squats, deadlifts, barbell rows, lunges, and presses.

Have A Plan – Every time you exercise, you need to have a plan. You should know exactly what exercises you are going to perform, for how many sets and how many reps you are aiming for. Without this you will waste time and possibly select the wrong exercises. The same applies to nutrition: every day you should know how many calories you need to consume.

Rule 2 – Speed Is Your Friend

Going for an easy stroll with a friend may be a good way to get fresh air, but it won’t do much for calorie burning. Continue cardio for its heart health benefits, but focus on intervals since interval training for 30 minutes versus moderate, continues exercise decreases belly fat. Moderate cardio does not.

Interval Training – Interval training involves alternate bouts of higher intensity cardio with “rest” or easier periods. Intervals create an “after burner” effect called EPOC, which stands for “excess post-exercise oxygen consumption.” That’s a state in which your body continues to burn a higher rate of oxygen and calories after you’ve finished your workout. How many calories and for how long depends on the intensity of the intervals.

Additionally, research shows that interval training can burn more calories during exercise, which in turn will lead to a higher percentage of fat calories burned.
At low intensity exercise, your body uses mostly fat calories. At high intensity exercise, the body uses mostly glucose or carbohydrates. Because interval training is a combination of moderate and high intensity exercise, a greater percentage of fat and total calories are used.

Jump Around – Plyometrics used to be called “jump training.” It’s a technique that you can use in many different ways. Every time you land from a jump, your muscles get a stretch. That gives your next jump even more power. The combination of stretching and contracting your muscles whips them into shape.
You won’t do plyometrics every day, because your muscles will need a break from all that jumping. If you’re not active now, you may need to start working on your basic fitness first and later have a pro show you how to do the moves, so you don’t get injured.
It’s a fun alternative to an everyday strength-training workout that boosts your muscle power, strength, balance, and agility. You can either do a workout based around plyometrics, or add some moves to your usual routine without giving it an entire session.

Rule 3 – Consistency Triumphs In The End

With all the advanced training principles, dieting secrets and magic bullet supplements at our disposal, the people who really succeed in fitness are the ones that keep things simple and consistent. Great workout after great workout and clean meal after clean meal will trump any genetic or synthetic advantage over time. Decide where you want to be, take the first step and don’t stop until you achieve it. Honestly, it really is that simple.

Your health will change with age, but you have a choice in how it changes. My professor used to always state, “The human body responses to the forces placed against it. The more you do, the more your body is able to do. And the less you do, the less your body will be able to do. When you challenge the body, it grows stronger. And when you fail to challenge the body, it grows weaker.”

I learned that to successfully reach a fitness goal you need to plan your workout and then work your plan.  Your body is too important to guess how to make improvements.  Write down your goals, talk to an expert on how they can help you reach those goals, and get to work(out)!

For more daily information like and follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and check out our custom designed exercise programs on our website at http://www.achievingfitnessafter50.com.

 


Building better bone strength

My mother was a beautiful, tall, vibrant women. She had a passion for travel, making jewelry, and gardening. Now, she is a shell of her former self. Her body is riddled with osteoporosis. She always looks down because her spine no longer allows her to stand up straight. Because of the pain she no longer travels, makes jewelry or any of her former hobbies. Her passion is gone, her love of life is gone, and it brings tears to my eyes every time I see her. This degenerative disease has lead me on my lifelong passion to help other women stay strong. Our bones were meant to last a lifetime. However the current epidemic of poor bone health stems directly from our lifestyle. We have come to expect poor health as part of the aging process. My aim of this article is to encourage women (and men) to build better bones, to keep passion and love of life through strength, and not end up like my mother.

Bone fulfills many functions in your body:

Bone gives the body form, rigidity, protection, and locomotion. There are 206 bones in the body and they are the hardest of all tissues. As such, they give form and rigidity to our bodies, allowing us to sit, stand tall, and walk.

Bones serve as an incubator for the red blood cells. Each second, our body produces 2.4 million red blood cells. These red blood cells are produced inside bone, in the nine ounces of bone marrow are body contains. Bone is an active manufacturing plant.

Bones serve as the mineral bank for the body. Ninety-nine percent of the body’s total calcium is stored in the bones, 85 percent of the phosphorus, 60 percent of the magnesium, and 35 percent of the sodium. Bones store minerals, keeping them available for use anywhere in the body. The level of blood calcium, for example, must be kept within a very precise range. Essential functionality from your heartbeat and nerve transmission, depend on precise blood calcium levels. When levels drop, a myriad of reactions occur aimed at drawing the calcium from the bone and depositing it into the blood. If more minerals are taken out of the bone than deposited back into the bone, the end result is thin, weak bones.

In the United States more women have osteoporosis than men do, and osteoporosis is held to be largely a disorder of women. However this may be more cultural than genetic. For decades women believed you could never be too thin. We are embroiled in a thinness mania, young and old, following misguided attempts at maintaining lower weight. It is virtually impossible to consume the nutrients required for bone maintenance, much less bone growth, on a low calorie diet. Under nutrition causes osteoporosis in young and old alike. Women were also told that nice girls don’t build muscle mass. It was taught that it is not proper to exercise heavily enough to build visible and defined muscle mass. Strong muscles are a good indicator of strong bones and it takes strenuous activity to build strong muscles.

Osteoporosis is not just a dreadful disease that randomly strikes some of us. Excessive bone thinning and the development of weak bones does not occur without due cause and this is often associated with poor lifestyle choices. Lifelong patterns of poor eating, smoking, surgeries and medication, excessive stress and little exercise. Never before have we been so physically inactive, eaten so much processed food, spent so much time indoors, taken so many drugs, or exposed to a vast array of pollutants. I believe that our sedentary lifestyle ranks number one as a major cause of osteoporosis.

Physical activity builds bone at all ages and bone mass maintenance is a natural response to load placed upon the body (i.e. weight training). Exercise is absolutely essential for optimum bone development in the young, and without it aging bone regeneration is limited. Nutrition alone cannot bring about maximum peak bone mass or maintain optimum bone mass as we age. Exercise is not an option. If we build muscle, we build bone. Conversely, if we lose muscle, we lose bone. Skeletal strength correlates directly with total muscle mass, and individual bone strength generally correlates with the strength of the muscles. Women with stronger back muscles have stronger vertebrae and stronger hip bones. Less fit people have both less muscle mass and less bone mass just as they have less aerobic capacity. Weight training is a very effective way to build muscle mass. The more weight-bearing exercises yield greater bone benefits. Less strenuous activities like walking can help to maintain bone mass, but generally more vigorous activity is needed to actually build bone. All things being equal, the more strenuous the activity, the more bone built. Among women at menopause and beyond high intensity strength-training exercises done only twice a week over a year yielded detectable increases in spinal and hip density.

Start by developing a strong, comprehensive bone-building strength training program. There is never a good time to slack off. The exercise component should be regular and rigorous. If you do not currently exercise regularly, begin slowly and build up exercise time and endurance. However judging the adequacy of your personal exercise program is often difficult.

Here are 4 tips to improve your bone health:

1. Consistently exercise at least three times per week. Three times per week is a minimum to maintain bone density. If you can exercise more that 3 times per week, even smaller 10-15 minute sessions, you can add to your bone strength.

2. Exercise vigorously enough to increase aerobic capacity, as well as strength. You have to challenge the body in order for it to change. If the exercise you are currently performing is not challenging you, why would you expect your body to change and become stronger, leaner, or healthier?

3. Work your posterior (back side) with 3 exercises to every 1 (anterior side or front) exercise. Back extensor strength correlates well with spinal bone density. Example exercises would be pull-ups, lat pulldowns, bent over rows, squats and deadlifts, to name a few. Most people focus on the muscles they see when looking in the mirror, forgetting that the muscles on your backside support your body, spine, hips, and shoulders.

4. When beginning a strength training program one should seek professional guidance. We often see individuals start too fast with the intention of quick results, instead of focusing on long term fitness with a progressive program. Each one of us is an individual with different needs, goals, injuries, and challenges. Set yourself up for success with a plan to achieve your goals.

Finally, remember a house built on a weak foundation will not stand. Nowhere is this more true than in the area of your bone health. A strong foundation for lifelong healthy bones must be built in youth and maintained in adulthood. Exercise, together with proper nutrition, a life-supporting lifestyle, can help build and rebuild bone density at any stage of life. Hopefully, you are ready to commit yourself to making these healthy changes!

For more daily information like and follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and check out our custom designed exercise programs on our website at www.achievingfitnessafter50.com.