fitness over fifty
Should we change our fitness routine as we age?
The one thing I've learnt while "Looking under my own Bonnet" is it's never too late to change. Even if you've never exercised in your life there's always a place to start. So my advice is don't put off what you can do today to tomorrow.
As we grow older, our bodies start showing signs of ageing as muscle function, healing ability, and blood flow start slowing down. As such, we should be looking at redefining our fitness routines every decade or so, because what worked for our bodies when we were in our twenties and thirties may not be as effective – or even damaging – in our fifties, sixties and beyond.
Exercise helps us especially during peri-menopause and menopause, helping to boost our mood and regulate our sleeping patterns as well as improving our strength – and self-confidence.
As we age, there are even more hidden benefits such as warding off cognitive decline, memory loss, and dementia.
How should our routines change as we age?
When we’re in our twenties, our body is at it’s most resilient, so it’s a great time to be more adventurous in our workouts: say yes to every opportunity and trust that we can bounce back from a majority of injuries incurred.
In our thirties, most of us become a little time poor, so our choice of what to ‘invest time in’ becomes more specific.
Our increased self-awareness through our thirties and into our forties gives added appeal to more meditative pursuits like yoga and pilates. These not only help to strengthen, lengthen and tone the body, but also the mind – a boon for managing the myriad of hats we wear during that phase in our life.
Once we get to our late-forties and fifties our bodies and hormones are changing, we begin to lose further muscle mass. Our metabolism slows significantly, and fat starts to accumulate in our midsection. The abdomen is a dangerous place to carry fat because it circulates more fat closer to the heart, which can inevitably lead to heart disease.
Our bone density also starts to decrease so this is a perfect time to introduce weight training if it is yet to be incorporated into our routines. Not only does this help to keep us toned and our bones strong, but the muscle we build will also make our metabolism and cardiovascular system far more efficient.
By the time we get to our sixties and seventies our strength and muscle tone decrease substantially. Weakened muscles can affect our balance, making us prone to falling and injury.
There are many benefits from continuing to exercise, of course, and many find that lifestyle shifts in retirement allow for greater exploration of interested in low-impact forms of exercise like the ballet-inspired barre, golf, swimming, walking, and even water aerobics.
If there are mobility issues talking to your doctor to find out what they think is possible is a great idea.
Exercising smarter – not harder – is key to avoiding injury. We should listen to our bodies, reassess each decade and choose age-appropriate exercise regularly – three times a week is ideal. Remember: if we don’t use it, we lose it.
It's good to remember no amount of exercise is going to help if you're not paying attention to the calories your'e consuming.
I have redressed my eating habits a number of times throughout my menopause journey and have finally settled on a whole food, mostly plant diet. A sort of flexitarian way of looking at food seems to be working, I limit my fat & calorie intake but not to an extreme level.
Allowing myself some treats and a glass of wine here and there ensures I don't fall off an imaginary self imposed wagon.
If your'e in doubt consult an expert, a nutritionist, a trainer or do what I've done and find yourself a fitness coach.
Someone who is part trainer, part nutritionist, part life coach!
Diana Tencic from BodyBeWell here in Melbourne is my go to woman! She also runs easy fitness classes online.
If you are in Melbourne I also highly recommend Flexxd Resistance Yoga with Fiona Goldsmith, its her own blend of yoga and resistance training, perfect for those looking to strengthen their bodies in a low impact way.
It's important to note if you are carrying any injuries or already have health issues you should consult your doctor before starting your fitness journey.
A thousand thank you's to my right hand woman Tara Strong
and thanks to Middle Brighton Baths for my location.