As a person over 50 years of age, the concept of senior fitness has become a big part of my efforts to continue to have a lean lifestyle. For several decades, I could lift as hard as I wanted with very little negative impact to my body. I always thought that 50 was "just a number."
A strange thing happened...right around my 50th birthday, I began to have joint pain in growing frequency. In addition, I found myself needing a bit more rest than I used to need. Initially, I just brushed it off and took some anti-inflammatory medication. That worked for a while, but I came to realize that I simply could not push the heavy weight that I was accustomed to. I had to make some adjustments.
Now, don't get me wrong; if you are over 50, it's not too late to get started. And when you hit 50, don't stop. That's the purpose of this entire section of this website.
50 was my age, give or take a few months, where I began to notice issues. Your age might be 40, 60 or never. I say, go after it hard as long as you can. With muscles, it's use-it-or-lose-it. Weights are the most efficient way to grow them and burn fat. However, they are not the only way. Remember, too, that these techniques work for any age when you need to "change it up" a bit. Plus, we all get soreness from time to time. Don't let that stop you from strength training. Substitute these joint-friendly techniques until you heal.
In particular, our joints seem to bear the brunt of our age. It only stands to reason; they have been used every day for half a century! The good news is that we can protect them and still maintain, and even build, our muscles in spite of that.
The two primary accommodations that we can make are to use less weight with higher repetitions or go to a lower impact form of exercise that protects our joints but still stresses our muscles. Stretching is also important at any age. I'll cover each these on following pages. Using isometric exercises also gives rest and recovery to our joints.
Now you may be thinking that it would just be a good idea to hang up the strength training and focus on aerobic or cardio training when you hit this point in your life. That could not be further from the truth. This sports medicine article lays out the arguments for senior strength training quite well. I think her rationale for continuing to use your muscles and bones via strength training is spot on!
Strength training at any age is good for you; good for your muscles, your bones and at burning body fat. Don't let a few extra years stop you. Even with the extra years, don't forget to work your lower body. There are a number of benefits to that. Implement these senior fitness adjustments and keep on pumping!!
I'll see you on the next page.