As you hit middle age and beyond, the benefits of exercise go beyond physical health. Being physically active can support your cognitive health and put you in a better mood. Fitness is also associated with improved balance as you age, so that you may avoid falling, move easier and have better quality of life. So, it’s important not to let something like muscle soreness or chronic joint pain keep you sidelined.
You need to approach fitness differently in your 40s and 50s because your tissues have changed from when you were younger. You should do a thorough activity-specific warm up and focus more on recovery because your muscles won’t recover as fast as they once did. Also, many people don’t realize the importance of taking care of their cellular health as part of their fitness regimen.
One of the biggest mistakes people over 40 make when they start an exercise program is not realizing that exercise causes an onset of free radicals in your cells. Free radicals are unstable atoms that cause pain and joint issues, among other types of damage. If you have an overabundance of free radicals, it will affect your performance and make it difficult for your body to recover after a workout. You’ll always be sore.
People who are older tend to feel more effects of free radical damage more than young people. That’s why it’s a mistake not to prepare your body for the free radical onslaught before you start exercising. That way, it can more easily bring your free radical load back into balance.
Everyone over 40 should follow these basic exercise guidelines, so that they can improve their performance and limit soreness:
1. Don’t skip the warmup. You may have been able to get away with it when you were younger, but now it’s important to prime your muscles and nervous system. Working out with tight, stiff muscles is a sure way to end up with knee and/or back pain.
2. Be careful not to over train. Lately, some people are doing online boot camps every day. Some people are doing two workouts a day then going for a run! That’s not giving your body the recovery time it needs. Your body can only handle so much. And think about the free radicals created! You don’t necessarily need to rest every day but you should alternate your workouts. Do upper body one day. Do core work the next. Try doing a stretching program or yoga one day a week. This works wonders.
3. Get rid of the free radical mess caused by training. Timing is important. You want a healthy supply of antioxidants on board when your body is at its peak of free radical imbalance. Glutathione is a very potent antioxidant that our bodies make on their own. But as we age, our glutathione-making process becomes less efficient so we need to find another way to offset the free radicals. Glyteine, an ingredient found in Continual-G drink mix, stimulates the body to make more glutathione in the cells, where it’s needed most. Take it before working out. It reaches its peak within about two hours, and stays with you for six to seven hours.
4. Eat more protein. Insufficient protein intake is a big problem among older adults, especially women. Without protein, you lose muscle tissue, get injured more easily and you won’t recover from exercise as quickly. Plan to eat a high-protein shake or snack within 30 minutes after finishing a workout. That’s the window when your body is hungry for nutrients and will absorb them faster. For your meals, adding some cold-water seafood such as salmon, mackerel or sardines is a good choice, because they contain omega-3s which can help with muscle recovery and decrease inflammation.
5. Get adequate rest. Deep, restorative sleep is when your body does most of its recovery work. You’ll know you’re getting enough sleep when you wake up in the morning feeling well rested and ready to go.
Fitness is important at every age. Smart eating and supplementation can be as important as using the right equipment and proper training. The goal is to help you keep moving and feel great doing it.
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