Exercise As We Age

I thought this article was just meant to be as I too head over the 50 age bracket. I spoke to what is known as “The 60 and Better” group recently and my talk centred on ageing and what we should be doing as we age.

I wrote up the following headings: “Do Something Puffy”, “Lift Something Heavy”, “Stretch” and “Eat the Best You Can” then proceeded to talk to each topic explaining what they meant. I then opened up the forum to questions and was bombarded with questions such as, “will this make me live longer etc” and of course followed up with a doctor/academic response of “Yes and No” ….” Yes it will” I said if it prevents obesity, some cancers, improves mental health but no if you have a genetic predisposition to certain illnesses.

I then proceeded to tell the group of over 60’s that the trick was to keep right now and “DEATH” as far apart as possible. Of course there was much laughter followed by much discussion about the benefits of all the above. We do tend to lose strength very quickly when we stop lifting and doing weight bearing exercise, and by doing something puffy (aerobic) we keep our respiratory system in good shape. Stretching is also important because as we age our connective tissue shortens hence the large amount of older Australians hunched over shuffling around the neighbourhood.  

In regards to eating well the trick is to reduce our calorific intake and take in food that is low in calories and high in nutritional value. Sorry, not chocolate, chips and biscuits but a good range of vegetables, a couple of pieces of fruit each day, small amount of nuts and small amounts of lean protein and lots of good carbohydrates for energy.

Unfortunately we are still eating too much protein and are too low in good carbohydrates. While the USA has finally gotten off the high protein diets we still have in Australia the misguided groups promoting high protein diets. A diet high in protein causes arthritis, kidney damage and is also stored as adipose tissue (FAT) when not utilized. Protein is good for muscle repair however western diets are still far too high in this nutrient. The latest research on longevity is still a diet low in calories and high in dense nutrition.

In saying all this you can look terrific as you age and your quality of life will definitely improve by investing in an exercise routine that you enjoy. Keep walking, go backpacking, lift weights, join a stretch/yoga class, eat small amounts of various foods, ride your bike, go dancing, laugh a lot and hang out with the younger up beat crowd. Get rid of all the negativity and people in your life and enjoy as this is no dress rehearsal – it’s the real thing.

I have come across a great book titled”Growing Old is Not for Sissies” Portraits of Senior Athletes” by ETTA CLARK. You will love it and it will give some inspiration as you view these athletes who are in their 70’s, 80’s and 90’s. Have a safe and prosperous “NEW YEAR”


John Hart

“Master’s In Education” (Disability) Newcastle University Australia

“Grad Cert Education” Newcastle University Australia

“Diploma Fitness/Recreation”

“Cert 4 Personal Training”

“Level 1 Strength and Conditioning Coach”

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