A large part of the global population’s movement decline is owed to televisions, mobile devices and other connected gadgets. Gone are the days when people believed that physical activity was a good way to pass the time. And then, before you know it, you’re knocking on 50’s door, and you’ve almost forgotten what it feels like to lace up a pair of running shoes. And even if you want to do these things, you avoid it because your muscle flexibility just isn’t what it used to be, and you’re scared of injury and pain.
With less movement and increasing age, energy levels decline, genetic and environmental factors take their toll, and aging muscles begin to lose mass, strength, and flexibility. Everyday activities take more effort and result in more pain. In short, moving hurts.
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Reshape My Body
If you’ve already joined the 50+ club, and you’re not feeling as strong and spry as you once did, it’s not all that surprising. As it turns out, just like bone density goes into decline as we age, so does muscle mass. Sarcopenia is the natural process of declining skeletal muscle as the body ages. After the age of 30, muscles start to decline at a rate of 3% to 5% each decade. Muscle loss doesn’t just mean that you no longer look buff in a vest or can’t quite manage a few heavy bags of groceries on your own anymore. This is the time when you ask yourself "how can I reshape my body"? Here's the good news: You're not forced to sit back and let the ravages of sarcopenia detract from your life enjoyment. The secret is in keeping active.
Losing your pizazz for something is somewhat normal in life. Ebb and flow in all things are to be expected to some degree, but the trick to ensure that you don’t gradually let your newfound health and fitness slip away from you is to strategize for success. Stay motivated. Set in place some preventative safeguards for quitting – yup, those are little measures that don’t allow you to quit.
It’s crucial to keep your mind focused on why you want to reshape your body. Being in your 50s (and going beyond) you’re well aware of the role the mind plays. No doubt, you have tussled with your mind many times over decisions, scenarios, thoughts, and feelings. The mind is a powerful tool. Once it latches onto an idea, it’s hard to get it to let go. You can use this characteristic to your advantage. Expose your mind to more fitness and health-related content and media. The more you see it, read it, watch it, talk about it – the more likely you’re going to develop an interest and passion for it. And it’s a lot easier to stick to something you’re interested in – trust us on that one.
Something we tell every 50+er we meet who struggles to stick to the plan is “know your why”. You’ve undoubtedly spent your life learning about the importance of goal setting, and in your 50s and beyond - goal setting is still important. Having purpose and reasons for doing things isn’t a strategy simply for the boardroom, it’s a great strategy for life. If you know WHY you want to start reshaping your body, you can keep reminding yourself and even use it as motivation along the way.
Customized Fitness Regimen
Exercising will significantly impact your fitness, flexibility, and overall body mobility if done daily. As a 50+er, doing anything you can to increase mobility is a must! Mobility increases your chances for continued fitness and independence throughout life. Some people never recover after a fall past 70 if they are not in good physical condition. This should be reason enough to lay this article aside and start immediately! But you can’t because you don’t have a plan or program, which brings us to the next bit, how to plan.
Designing your own daily workout program is the optimal way to start. Having goals helps you to stay motivated and will also help you to gauge your progress. When designing your fitness program, it should include a balanced routine. If you’re a healthy adult, you should have at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity weekly. If you don't have time for 150 minutes, you can do 75 minutes of vigorous exercise weekly. We want to add and recommend that you should also have at least 20 minutes for stretching each day. If stretching becomes a part of your daily fitness routine, you will see even more significant health benefits. We recommend using a daily fitness journal.
If you're just beginning to exercise after a long layoff, you're not alone. Many people in the 50+ club are just now finding the time to become active again. Even small amounts of physical activity are helpful. If you can't hit those target amounts of 150 minutes at first, don't sweat the small stuff! Any minutes you can do any physical activity are better than none, and if you’re doing more than you managed to do yesterday, last week, or even last month – that’s progress! Be proud that you are getting back into action. Your journey of health and activity is a marathon, not a sprint!
Try to schedule activities into your day even if you are busy. Walk up the steps instead of opting to take an elevator. Park further away in a parking lot from the door. Walk your dog more often – it will be good for both of you. Find a way to make exercise a personal challenge. When starting a fitness program, you should choose activities you enjoy. The more you enjoy your activities, the more you will want to be actively engaged in movement.
Nutrition for Longevity
Be strategic about your shopping. Planned grocery shopping can set you up for success. We say that because most of us have been there. Think back to the last time you did an impulsive grocery shop on an empty stomach. The chances are that you returned home with a large selection of unhealthy things, mostly because they stood out at you as you perused the shelves (and of course, because you were hungry at the time). Before you go shopping, make a list of the things you need and stick strictly to that list when you’re in the store. Several studies have already proven that hungry people tend to purchase more junk and high-calorie food.
Try to be one step ahead of yourself and plan what, when, and where you will be eating during the day. This will keep you from reaching for unhealthy food options when you’re hungry. For example, pack yourself a healthy sandwich before heading out for the day. A great option is brown bread, mashed chickpeas in fresh lemon juice and a few slices of avocado. My other favorite on-the-go meals include protein shakes, sweet green salad, and Greek yogurt with fruit chunks. If you’re looking for something warm, cauliflower rice with lentils and a cup of steamed mixed veggies is a delicious, healthy treat.
But what if you’re heading out to an event? These occasions are riddled with opportunities to make poor food choices. Poor quality protein, sky-high carb counts, and unhealthy fats abound at the average event or gathering – what now? Have a quick protein shake before going and only snack, or opt for all the greens available on serving plates. Check out our article on what your diet should look like.
Rest and Recovery
Did you know that the human body has an adverse to a lack of sleep and rest? If you don’t get enough sleep and rest, it can obliterate your sex drive and weaken your overall immunity. It can also lead to weight gain and cognitive issues. And just when you think it can’t get any worse, you can also increase your risk of getting diabetes or cancer. As a result, we always recommend resting between exercises and also taking days off from your workouts to get proper rest and repair. This forms part of your body’s maintenance plan – which is very important when you’re over 50! Let’s look at a few aspects of healthy rest and relaxation.
When following an exercise routine, you'll notice a recommended rest time between sets, usually a minute or two. When you rest between sets, your body energy system recuperates after exhausting the supplies, powering you up for a fresh set of bicep curls or another sprint. Without rest, you’re working with tired muscles. When working out with tired muscles, you compromise good form, which can lead to injury.
Although taking breaks between sets is critical, the rest that happens between your workouts is even more important. This is because your body needs 48 - 72 hours of rest to repair muscles and recuperate fully after workouts. Of course, this all depends on the overall intensity of the workouts you are doing. For example, if you are only doing ten bicep curls a day, you don’t really need rest days in between.
When it comes to strength training, we recommend resting for one day between workouts. Strength training every second day is a great way to ensure your muscles recover and that you have enough energy to put all of your strength into your next workout. Many people overlook sleep, though it’s critical in the process of recovery. Sleeping enables you to repair internally, including hormone levels and torn muscle tissues. Sleep allows your body to synthesize proteins at a higher rate too, which promotes muscle gain. Aim to get around seven hours of sleep per night.
It’s not easy being 50+ and wanting to reshape your body. Heck, it would have been hard at 40! The world around you is and will be stuck in its ways. People want to continue being the way they have been for decades, many people don’t want change. Much the same, that population is stuck in a cycle of poor food choices, not enough sleep, over-consumption of alcohol and other bad habits that don’t just lead to aches, pains and dependency, but actually shorten their lifespan. That’s okay. We want to tell you that you don’t have to be like everyone else.
You’re well within your rights to take your future into your hands and while there are millions of people in your age group that might go against you, rest assured they’re not in our club. You just need to find your tribe. Just like there are millions of people out there willing to continue making the unhealthy choices they’ve been making all along, there are millions of 50+ers who have realized the value in healthy living and staying active. These people are your people. Find them and stay close to them!
Where do you find them? The first place to start looking is community fitness groups and health and fitness classes aimed at people 50+. You don’t have to join a group or class forever, but you can meet other 50+ers who are in a similar mindset to you by going a few times. Strike up a few friendships because these are the people you can call on for a chat and a walk or a Sunday morning stretch session on the beach.
Another place you can find a support network of active 50+ers is on social media. If you’re not on social media, you can ask someone to help you with that, but the chances are that you have some presence on the likes of Facebook. Facebook is filled with groups for seniors, and these groups serve as a place for like-minded people to share ideas, provide support, and cheer for each other along the way. Our Facebook page is found here - Click.
When you feel like you’re not alone in it and have others around you or in touch with you working towards similar goals as you, it’s easier to stick to the plan - this is another thing you should trust us on.
Remember, life can be amazing after 50, especially when you're physically able to enjoy it. They say the real fun starts at 50. If so, there's no reason you should spend it in pain, discomfort, and declining health.
If you're serious about reshaping your body after 50, we recommend a book titled: LIFE AFTER 50, STRENGTH TRAINING