Staying Fit Over Forty

Staying Fit Over Forty

Article by Doug Setter, Bsc.

Now in my 50’s, I learned the hard way that you cannot train the same as you did in your twenties. For one thing, you have more responsibilities and less time. The other thing is that you probably do not recover as quickly as you might have in your late teens and early twenties. So, the practice of training the same way, day in and day out is a sure way to become stale and frustrated. While training, like running, the same time and distance every day is admirable, you can get better results by varying your training.

One of my training buddies, who used to compete in cycling on an international level, showed me how to use interval training to improve my running. Instead of plugging with distance running, I would run for one minute and walk for one minute over the same distance. I trained less, but got better results. It was a bit uncomfortable the first few times, but I quickly improved and got more done in less time.

When you cross the big 4-0, you might find that you have to give your joints and tendons more time to recover. This is not a ticket to slack off. Again, you just have to be smarter when you train. If you are going to run, stay on sand, grass or gravel. One of my clients, who had recovered from a broken pelvis, could run on sand without much discomfort. After a month, she could run several hundred meters on the sand while carrying her 6 year old son on her back.

Cross-training is another way to keep training fresh and spare your joints. An article in Runner’s World once mentioned how several runners improved their time by cross training with cycling rather than just running alone. I found that my own running improved by alternating my running with cycling.

Another area that the over 40 person should practise is strength training. Strength training or “resistance-training” is highly under-rated for conditioning. Often thought of only for “showy muscles” and “body beautifuls,” strength training has several benefits that endurance training does not. Strength training builds bone density and increases the body’s anabolism, which is the ability to repair and rebuild itself.

Another aspect of strength training that is almost always over-looked is the balance and posture muscles. These can be trained through methods such as martial arts, pilates and power yoga. Now before anyone starts writing off pilates and power yoga as “too Hollywood,” keep in mind that these systems work. Pilates inventor, Joseph H. Pilates was an accomplished athlete who trained such celebrities as world class boxer, Max Schmeling. As for power (Ashtanga) yoga, I can vouch for it for removing back pain. One of my trainees, a former RCR soldier told me that he went from 3 chiropractor visits per week to only one per month just from our twice weekly power yoga sessions.

Another good body maintainer is the sauna. While often mistaken for a method for losing weight, regular saunas will clean out the excess toxins, increase your immune system T-cells and help calm you. It is great on a Sunday evening a few hours before bed time.

More tips to get more mileage out of the over 40 frame:

* Eat good natural food. Fresh fruits and vegetables contain massive amounts of anti-oxidants to slow down the ageing process.

* If necessary, employ the services of physical therapists: massage, physiotherapist, chiropractic and even acupuncture.

* Supplements such as: fish oils, glucosamine and chondroitin sulphate assist some people with joint pain.

* Keep the alcohol, tobacco and caffeine to a minimum. This stuff overworks your adrenalin glands which are suppose to help carry you into old age.

* Avoid refined foods like white sugar and white flour. It just plugs up your intestines.

* Avoid extended periods of sitting. Too much sitting is hard on the spine and can contribute to DVT (Deep Vein Thrombosis).

* Stay active. In an era where everything seems to have a warning label, there should be one on the human butt: Warning: Keep moving or equipment will fail.

For more information view: Stomach Flattening <A>

About the Author

Doug Setter holds a Bachelor’s degree in Foods and Nutrition. As a sickly child, he survived pneumonia 3 times before he was 6 years old. He has served as a paratrooper and U.N. Peace keeper, completed 5 full marathons and climbed Mt. Rainier. At age 40, he won a welter weight kick-boxing championship. He is the author of Stomach Flattening, Reduce Your Cravings and One Less Victim. Visit his website:

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