How it's different: By fifty many of us have discovered health concerns. High blood pressure, heart disease, lung problems and worse, joint problems and skin problems. Moving around is painful even if we aren't exercising.
This affects our ability to do just anything in the way of exercising. Taking up running after not doing so for half our lives isn't necessarily the right way to go. Instead we have to approach it from a different angle.
What angle? First we have to cover the medical angle. Even athletes in junior and senior high schools have to have a physical before they can join a team. Compared to theirs ours will be a bit more comprehensive. High impact sports on a knee ridden with arthritis is a recipe for disaster. So is running if the heart and/or lungs can't keep up.
Second we need to get more training. It's different than it was when we were young. There are more types of exercise available and a lot more equipment. Learning or relearning how to do it correctly is important for our safety and the safety of those around us.
Last we need to consider what we eat and drink. We need to keep our calories balanced the proper way. If we need to lose weight we need to burn more calories than we consume. If we're at the right weight we need to make sure the calories are about even.
Nutrition is important. Our nutritional needs may change due to health concerns. What we could eat at 25 is not always what we should eat over 50.
What we drink is of equal concern. To be honest, I enjoy cola drinks. I can't stand artificial sweetener so those little cans pack a bunch of empty calories, not to mention what it does to tooth and other body parts.
Caffeine in any form may not be our friend anymore. I know people who drink coffee all day long. They're used to it and they don't like what happens when they cut back... until it's all out of their system. Then they wonder how they could handle all of it.
I would suggest that those of us over 50 that want to get fit consult the doctor, a nutritionist and a physical trainer, preferably in that order. That is going to be the best way to get fit.
By Mary Bodel