When you work out after 50, you are working according to your fitness level and experience.
milan2099 / E + / GettyImages
There’s no denying that our bodies change over the course of our lives (sometimes for the better!), And that what felt good at 25 didn’t feel so good at 65.
But do you have to stop (or start) certain things when you reach a certain age?
Train for your fitness level, not your age
Which exercises you do and which you don’t should depend much more on your general health and exercise age (how long you’ve been exercising consistently) than your chronological age (how many years you’ve lived).
After all, it’s entirely possible to be stronger and have more stamina at 65 than 25, says Christian J. Thompson, PhD, associate professor of kinesiology at the University of San Francisco.
Perhaps you got into an exercise habit 10 years ago. Your training age is 10 and you probably feel pretty fit. So train as you like and improve your routine as you feel comfortable. There’s nothing to say that now is not the time to start training for your first marathon or rock your first pull-up.
Did you exercise a year ago? Treat your body as if you had a training age of 1 and concentrate on the essentials. Master the correct technique in body weight and dumbbell exercises. Do low-intensity cardio. The more training time goes by, the better you can move from beginner training to advanced and advanced training.
Regardless of your exercise age (and your chronological age), a healthy exercise routine is about listening to your body and taking care of it, whatever it is at the moment.
Yes, you can get fitter at any age
“Even people over 90 can build muscle mass, strength, and strength,” says Thompson. “We know that training adjustments can be made at essentially any age and at roughly the same speed.”
The key is to keep challenging yourself. Ultimately, in order to strengthen your muscles or improve your heart health, you have to put a strain on the system.
Prioritize exercises that feel challenging but are doable. For example, if you’re doing weight training, he suggests doing exercises and weights that challenge you from rep sixth – but allow you to keep in good shape.
Your Complete Guide to Exercise for Healthy Aging
Keep your routine (and these 4 tips in mind) when you work out after 50
As we get older, the best way to never stop doing the things we love is in the first place, explains Ashley Fluger, CSCS, an exercise physiologist at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York City.
But it doesn’t hurt to be aware of a few things you may need to consider that you may not have thought of in your 20s.
1. Be smart about high impact moves
Vigorous exercises like running and jumping can effectively strengthen your bones and build muscle strength (which is critical to healthy aging). But the likelihood of joint problems and arthritis also increases with age.
“There is definitely a place for impact, but the way you program is so specific to each person,” says Fluger.
Notice how your body reacts to high-intensity and plyometric exercises and, if you are new, slowly loosen up with one set per week. This gives your body a chance to recover and get stronger.
As you get older, you may find that you need to be more conscious about post-exercise recovery, says Thompson.
“Inflammation increases a lot with age, so we need to take the time to develop good recovery strategies,” he adds. This means that you listen to your body and get enough rest between workouts, but also incorporate active recovery techniques such as foam rollers into your routine. And don’t forget about sleep – it plays a key role in recovery.
This doesn’t mean you necessarily need to take more time or drag out your recovery, Thompson says. You just have to really do it. Prioritizing recovery strategies is something that you should do all your life. It’s just easier to get away with skipping when you’re younger.
Protein is a critical factor in the recovery process when exercising. And your body needs more protein as you get older, which drives regeneration.
Muscle tissue is less responsive to protein over the decades, according to a June 2016 nutrient review that partially explains why we lose muscle mass as we age.
A groundbreaking study in the American Journal of Physiology – Endocrinology and Metabolism in January 2015 found that older adults can significantly improve their muscle health by consuming 1.5 grams of protein for every pound of their body weight. For a 180 pound adult, that’s 123 grams of protein per day.
4. Focus on a balanced exercise routine
“It’s important that people get more of an ‘all-rounder’ perspective on exercise training as they get older,” Thompson said. “It’s okay when we’re younger to specialize in one thing, but as we get older we can’t afford to be a one-trick pony anymore.”
So you might still want to focus on distance running, but it’s more important that you also incorporate resistance training, flexibility, balance, and strength training into your routine.
“All of these things really have to come together in a person’s exercise program so that there isn’t a weak link. As we get older, the weak link will break the chain, ”says Thompson.
Keeping this chain strong from start to finish will make you feel just as good – if not better than – as you were in your 20s.