These days, it turns out that older people are doing just as much exercise as the youngsters.
Whether it’s in a group training environment or going for a solo run, more and more people of a certain generation are discovering the benefits of exercising regularly.
There are many advantages to working out, including:
- Reducing the risk of falls
- Reducing obesity risk
- Reducing stress levels and preventing cardiovascular diseases
- Lowering cholesterol
- Combatting the effects of osteoporosis
These are incredibly important things to consider in the years after you turn 50 since muscle mass and muscular strength can decrease up to 50%.
As you age, it can get more difficult to catch your breath, and it’s not uncommon to put on weight as your body’s ability to balance itself becomes slightly more fragile.
Exercising regularly is not only a great way to prevent certain illnesses, but also to help your confidence grow so you feel good in your skin.
However, you should be careful if you’re new to the gym.
Be sure to ask for advice from a fitness specialist before you choose the type of exercise you wish to do.
Personal fitness training is a good option for those getting started in their training, or those working towards specific goals. Finding someone with a professional personal training certification to help you with your cardio endurance, strength training, or just take your usual fitness program to the next level can keep you motivated and on-track. No matter what time of day or your life you want to start exercising, a personal trainer will help you achieve your goals.
Finding an accredited and certified personal trainer to accompany you throughout your fitness career can be incredibly helpful as they tailor your training program to your physiology and your fitness goals.
So, if you want to get in shape as an older person, this article will give you some advice on where to start.
Check for a personal trainer in Australia here.
Fitness Has No Age Limit
Some older runners are still finishing marathons, even at the ripe old age of 85 years!
Every single year in Paris, Berlin, London and New York City, senior athletes accomplish feats that many younger people would never dream of attempting.
One notable senior fitness hero is Ed Whitlock.
The Canadian runner was still running at 85 years old. At 73, he set a world record marathon time of 2:54:48 for his age category.
His 10km time was just 44:22.
Other running legends include the Irish couple Joe and Kay O’Regan, who completed their last marathon together on their 57th wedding anniversary, both at the age of 80 years.
Joe and Kay crossed the finish line at 5:25:29, each of them winning their respective age categories.
And if you’re thinking that they’ve had a long time to train for this, bear in mind that Joe and Kay only completed their very first marathon when they were both 50 years old – so it’s never too late to get started!
It’s highly possible you’ve never heard of Fernand Kolbeck – but that’s okay.
What you should know is that this Frenchman was 5-times champion for the marathon, and took part in the Olympic games in Munich and Montreal.
Only gold medallist Alain Mimoun beat his time in Melbourne in 1956.
Every senior athlete can serve as an example to aspiring runners everywhere and motivate them to begin their journey to a healthier self.
Adapted Fitness Techniques
Now you’re feeling inspired, motivated, and ready to get started, there is one last thing you should do: get medical advice.
Telling a doctor about your plans will ensure that you’re equipped with the knowledge to keep yourself safe throughout your fitness adventure.
Before you start a new sport or type of exercise, you should find out more about your body composition and ability, so that you can exercise in a way that will be particularly beneficial for you whilst minimising your risk of injury.
Once your doctor has given you the green light, there are a few more precautions you can take to put your mind at ease:
- Don’t exercise two days in a row, training is progressive and your body needs time to recover and adjust
- Stay away from competitions and don’t push yourself too far
- Get the correct kit – this means suitable footwear and breathable clothing
- Drink plenty of water; forgetting this puts you at risk of dehydration and hypothermia!
This type of advice applies to people of all ages; however, you should be especially careful as an older athlete.
There are many advantages to finding a personal fitness trainer to advise and support you throughout your health and fitness career.
Personal trainers are there to:
- Supervise your workouts
- Help you when it comes to tricky or risky movements
- Correct your training techniques to help you avoid injury
- Advise you when it comes to fitness nutrition and keep you motivated
You may be wondering whether sport becomes risky after a certain age.
Although as you get older, you should be taking more care when you work out, this doesn’t mean you should avoid exercise.
Here are some helpful tips on how to get the most out of your workout and lower its risks:
- Warm up before you start
- Move slowly and gently
- Keep as much pressure off your joints as possible
- Make sure your equipment is safe for you to use (lower the weight setting of gym machines, for example)
Specialist Senior Fitness Instructors
After noticing the sharp rise in the number of older people attending the gym, many health clubs and personal trainers spotted a gap in the fitness industry.
Increased interest in senior health and wellbeing has driven may gyms to begin offering group fitness classes specifically aimed at their older athletes.
So, whether you’re aiming to slim down, tone your figure or just become physically stronger, it’s highly likely that there’s a class out there to suit you.
Fitness classes usually start with a simple warm up to get your muscles and joints ready for exercise.
Get information on online personal training here.
Classes are led by a fitness instructor, who may use equipment such as a gym ball, hula hoop, yoga brick or elastic band during the workout.
Sessions end with a warm down to help your body recover and relax after exercise. This may include slow movements, breathing exercises and stretching.
Sports Adapted for Senior Athletes
There are many group and solo fitness activities which have been adapted for the older generation of athletes such as climbing, swimming and even scuba-diving.
Here are just a few examples of sports you could consider as an older athlete.
This ancient discipline is practised to realign the mind and body through gentle stretching and breathing techniques which relax the muscles.
Your fitness instructor will show you how to move your body in a way that builds fitness whilst helping you relax.
The objective is to build your core strength, which will tone your muscles and improve your posture. Yoga has also been known to help with back pain.
- Nordic Walking
According to research from the University of Iowa, walking for just 15 minutes every day can extend your life by 3 years.
Originally from Scandinavia, Nordic Walking involves walking with hiking poles to help you keep your balance and use more of your body, taking some strain off your legs.
Your instructor will be able to show you how to use your poles effectively and coordinate your arm movements with the rest of your body.
Nordic Walking works your arms, pectoral muscles, shoulders and gluteal muscles - so it’s an effective full-body workout with an added layer of safety in your sticks!
- Outdoor Activities
Archery and golf are just two outdoor sports that will help you improve your coordination and aim.
Cycling is another fantastic sport for older people since it is helpful for those with osteoarthritis in the knees, ankles and hips.
So, lace up your trainers and find a personal trainer, or even an online personal trainer, who can help you – it’s always a good time to exercise!
If you’re still enjoying your career, there are plenty of office exercises you can do to keep fit at work, too!
5 Ways to Stay Safe When Exercising
In 2013, the French Minister for Social Affairs and the Minister for Sport, Youth and Education put in place a campaign which they called ‘10 Golden Rules to Keep Fit and Healthy’.
The two ministers drew attention to the risk of cardiac arrest during exercise. The accidents are usually caused by people pushing their bodies too far and account for up to 1500 unexpected deaths every year.
The older generation is understandably concerned about the health risks linked to exercise.
Here are 5 ways you can make your workouts safer:
- Inform your doctor of any chest pain or any breathing problems that come with exercise
- spend at least 10 minutes warming up before you exercise, and 10 minutes warming down once you have finished
- Take 3 to 4 mouthfuls of water every 30 minutes during training
- Avoid vigorous activity when the outdoor temperature is above 30°C
- Alert your personal trainer to any pain, anxiety or sickness during your sessions - as a fitness professional, they will know what steps to take
These 5 rules are to be taken seriously from day 1 or your fitness training program to stay safe during your workouts.
There is a sixth rule: have fun!
Whether it’s a group class at the gym, outdoor activity or personal training sessions, exercising should be a pleasure!