Advice For Older Men
I labeled this "Older Men" because I did not want to put a restriction on age. Age is mostly a "state of mind" and some older men feel a lot "younger" than they are. There are a few 50 year old men that are in better shape than most people my age!! I don't have any special advice for the "young men" that are able to workout and exercise as they please. Please read all of my other pages in my Fitness & Nutrition Advice
section. For this particular page, "older men" refers to guys that mentally think they cannot do all the things that they used to be able to do when they were younger. My dad asks me health questions sometimes, and then I sometimes tell him to do something that he thinks will be too difficult. His response is always, "You add 30 years to your life son, and we'll see how your body feels!!" If this sounds like what you'd say, here are a few health tips:
► Time For a Check Up!!
- Especially if you are about to start a new fitness program, you may want to go get some advice from your doctor. Have you had a check up lately? Make sure that everything is working right & healthy before you start your program up. Also ask your doctor if he has any advice. If you experience some pain or discomfort, your doctor may provide some exercises or stretches that you can do to relieve that pain and strengthen the muscles in that area. You also need to make sure that your heart & lungs are healthy enough to support cardiovascular exercise. Getting a check up will help prevent you from hurting yourself or getting injured.
► Don't try to do too much!!
- If launching a fitness routine, older adults should not try to pick up where they left off years ago. Start gradually and figure out your current fitness level and abilities. Just like when you first started years ago, don't try to do too much too soon. You are not as limber & flexible as you used to be. You will hurt yourself and will have to spend a long time recovering. You don't heal like you used to either. Increase slowly to avoid injuries!!
► Make sure you are warmed up!!
- Before you do strenuous activities, make sure that you are wamed up. You can't just start running or lifting like you used to. If you do, you can get hurt!! You need to be even more careful if you workout right when you wake up. The injury rate for seniors is higher in the morning because you have been sleeping all night and your body has not had much time to loosen & warm up. Make sure to do a thorough dynamic warmup before you really get started. This will help you feel better later too.
► Don't use 'no pain, no gain'!!
- If you feel pain when doing an exercise or activity, you should stop. If you are in pain the next morning, you exercised too hard the day before. You need to stick to low intensity exercises that keep your body feeling happy & healthy.
► Don't limit yourself & activities!!
- Just because you are older than you used to be, that does not mean you can't do many of the same things that you used to do. Don't limit yourself to walking, swimming, and light weightlifting. You may not be able to go as long and as fast, but go on hikes and get on your bike. Your body will tell you what you can't do. Don't ever let your mind tell you that you can't do something. As you gradually increase your fitness level, you will find that you can do more & more things, and you may even feel healthier & stronger than you did years ago. The sky is the limit!!
►Do strength training!!
- Resistance and strength training is crucial for protecting your bones & joints. You can use free weights, machines, or elastic bands. Make sure to keep your upper back & neck strong!! As you get older and your back gets weaker, the back begins to round and a slouch develops, which can lead to a variety of physical problems. I am sure that you have seen an older gentlemen walking with his head facing down, walking hunched over. This happened because he has a very weak set of back & neck muscles. Make sure to do lat pulldowns
to strengthen your back & prevent that from happening to you. Strength train 3 times / week.
► Exercise with a group!!
- If you don't want to workout just by yourself, find a group to workout with. If you enjoy riding your bike, find a local group to join. If you have a gym membership, try taking a fitness class with other people your age. Health clubs typically have tons of class options to chose from. Try a water aerobics class? Working out in water is the best option for your joints!! Working out with a group will help your motivation, and you will be able to meet other people into the same things as you. One of the people in your class may even become your new workout partner. Get fit together!!
► Stay Active!!
- Increasing age is not an excuse for increasing the amount of TV that you watch. Stay active & stay healthy. Get out and do some activities with your grandchildren. I'm sure your kids will be happy to let you take them!! Take your wife out and go dancing. Get up and move around. Walk to the store if it's close instead of driving. The more you are moving around, the healthier you will feel. Living a sedentary lifestyle only makes you feel even more sluggish. Your body may be "older" but don't treat it like it is!!
► Don't eat like crap!!
- You still need to follow a healthy diet!! I know a few older gentlemen that have a terrible diet!! They don't eat as much as they used to, but they eat worse than they used to. This is not a healthy compromise. As an older person, this is an even better reason to eat healthy. Make sure you get a lot of fresh fruits and vegetables. Limit your desserts and stay away from fried foods, especially if you have high cholesterol. Also make sure you are drinking enough water and then you are not consuming too much salt. Typically in the United States, people take more pills as they get older. If you keep a healthy diet & exercise plan, you should not need to take many pills!! Ask your doctor if you should take any particular vitamins or mineral supplements with your diet though.
► Get enough rest & sleep!!
- I am sure that I don't even need to mention this, but make sure that you get enough sleep & rest. At the same time though, don't sleep & rest too much. There is definitely a fine line!! It's okay to take naps during the day if you need to. Get enough sleep & rest to let your body recover & rejuvenate properly.