Why Get Fit at 50?
As your body gets older, you are bound to find that it is just reacting differently than it used to, and this can be one of the worst parts of aging.
But why let it worry you when you are fighting something that is inevitable?
You should embrace it, and implement these strategies I have put together for you, grab the 50’s by the scruff of the neck and drag it along with you in the direction you want it to go…
Remember, you are in control.
Losing weight becomes more difficult, and watching your diet is no longer enough to keep the extra weight at bay, yet you are constantly trying to figure out new ways to get back to the weight that you were at when you were in your 20s or 30s.
Don’t worry, though! Getting back into your favourite trousers is not a complete pipe dream.
Understanding Your Weight Gain and Metabolism
In order to combat your weight gain, you have to understand why you are gaining weight in the first place. If you have not made any major changes to your diet before you started gaining weight, the answer to your problems could very well be found in your body chemistry.
Needless to say, you’ve probably heard about your metabolism once or twice during your current weight loss journey. Someone somewhere has probably pointed out that “if you drink water with lemon first thing in the morning, it helps boost your metabolism for the day” or some other weight loss advice that involves the M word.
Your metabolism is actually a set of chemical reactions that occur in your body. Usually, we will hear about it in the context that it is responsible for converting food into the energy that our bodies need, thus when somebody talks about “boosting their metabolism”, they are referring to using different tricks in order to increase the efficiency in which their body makes the energy conversion. There are actually many benefits to this. If you are truly boosting your metabolism in a safe and effective manner, you are actually going to get a boost to the other roles that your metabolism plays, which are just as – if not more – important in the weight loss progress.
Aside from the breakdown of food into energy, a person’s metabolism is responsible for the creation of such things as lipids, nucleic acids, and amino acids and for eliminating the bits that are not going to be used by the system.
You probably have heard the word lipid before in the context of weight loss and fitness. In those cases, they are likely not referring to lipids themselves, but the adipose tissues, which work in close relation to lipids and act as a fat storage centre. While it is impossible to reduce them naturally (nor should you want to!), it is possible to shrink them, as they do have a size where they function optimally. Shrinking them down past that size is just as or even more dangerous than leaving them oversized. Any doctor will tell you that it is far better for the body to be a little overweight than a little underweight, so make sure that you are keeping within a recommended body fat percentage and do not try to go under it, as fat is important for insulating purposes, skin health, hair and nail strength, and even muscle production.
Amino acids are the major building block to proteins, which are going to help you build muscle mass. Increasing your muscle mass should always be your bigger goal, whether you are looking to lose weight for aesthetic or health reasons. When it comes to your aesthetics, a kilogram of muscle will always look leaner than a kilogram of fat, which is why it is important to not focus on your scale so much as your body fat percentage when you are trying to lose weight. On the healthier lifestyle side, muscle mass acts as an important building block to your goals. The more muscle mass you can retain, the likelier it is that you can keep active and will act to strengthen your ligaments, causing less stress on your joints and help protect your bones.
Interestingly enough, you will find that it actually takes more calories to maintain your muscle than it does to maintain your fat, and so the more muscle that you gain, the more likely it is that you will use the fat stored previously, resulting in more stubborn “problem areas” shrinking in size.
After the age of twenty, your metabolism starts to slow down. You will lose the ability to burn approximately 150 calories a day for every ten years. What this means is that by time you are 50 years old, your body requires a good 450 less per day than you did when you were 20. When you do the math, if you are eating the same amount that you had gotten accustomed to back then, by the end of your average week, you are adding about 3,150 calories that your body has not been able to use. Considering that this is almost half a kilo, that can add up very quickly, which could very well be the cause of “sudden” weight gain.
While dieting can help by creating a calorie deficit, the metabolism can very easily be thrown off this way. In an active woman over 50, the body needs between 2,000 and 2,200 calories, while active men will need between 2,400 and 2,800, and by reducing the calories beyond this point can put your body into “starvation mode”. Upon going into starvation mode, your body will automatically take what you eat and try to store it immediately to be used at a later time, causing difficulty in weight loss at a later time. While in starvation mode, you will also find yourself losing energy much faster and generally feeling weaker, which will make you less motivated, more irritable, and yes, even more hungry than you should be feeling throughout the day, making it much easier to overeat.
What the Journal of Sports Nutrition suggests for losing weight safely after the age of 45 is to work on maintaining and improving metabolism. Taking this approach will not only help with restoring your caloric burn, but it will also improve your general health.
Taking Care Of Your Metabolism
Ironically enough, one of the major factors in decreasing metabolism is the loss of muscle mass. As you get older, you may find yourself becoming more sedentary than you have been in the past, which sends your metabolism the message that it does not need to work as hard as it should in order to keep the body functioning. The Journal of Clinical Nutrition had performed an experiment in 2015 with a small group of men and women between the ages of 50-65 and discovered that strength training three times a week had done wonders for their strength and body composition. Using resistance bands and body weight training have been shown to have great results, and by gaining muscle back, resulted in a healthy boost in all functions of the metabolism.
If your body can handle it or if you happen to like a good challenge, it may be wise to consider interval training. During interval training, you alternate between a high impact exercise and a lower impact exercise with a shorter rest period in between, which makes your body work a little harder than your average exercise. Not only will this burn more calories during your workout, but it will keep your body burning more calories for hours afterward. While it is burning those extra calories after your workout, it is using the energy provided to repair the muscles that were used. Every time the muscles get repaired in this fashion, the tissue that is used is marginally stronger than before. What this translates to is your body will build muscle faster via high intensity interval training workouts than just about any other workout routine.
A major appeal to this type of workout is that you can get the same amount of exercise in a shorter time frame, and as your endurance builds, you can push yourself even further, which makes for a fun way to challenge yourself. It is recommended that you work yourself up to this form of exercise and tailor it to your needs.
There are plenty of suggestions you can follow online to make your custom workout routine and a lot of challenges you can sign up for and share with a community that will help keep you motivated and celebrate your accomplishments as you hit milestones.
It is also important to make sure that you keep your diet balanced. Sure, you have heard this lecture before, however, it is more important than you might think. The process of your metabolism is a chain reaction that will break down your food into usable energy and then eliminate what it does not need. In order to optimize this process correctly, it is imperative that you minimize the work that it has to do. The easiest way to do this is to watch what you are putting into your system. A good way to do this is keeping your meals simple.
Vegetables are rich in what you will need to optimize your metabolism, and if you are having a sugar craving, choose something with less complex sugars. Protein is also extremely important, as is carbohydrates in moderation. If you are looking to build or maintain muscle, there are some very good protein calculators to show you how much your body will need online.
Increasing your water intake instead of soda will not only help flush out your system, but it is quick to absorb into your body, which means that your metabolism can use it faster to hydrate your body. This will also help move your waste even faster. In fact, a lot of weight can be lost just by increasing how much water you are drinking. As strange as it sounds, drinking more water will actually reduce your water weight, which your body is storing in case it does not get what it needs to function throughout the day. Soda is also full of complex sugars and empty calories, which will take longer to break down and are not as usable to the body as simple sugars. What this means to you is that it is more likely that the water in soda will likely end up retained longer, and the calories that you just took in are not going to end up being used as anything but storing fat. Besides, there is a lot more sodium in a can of soda than you would think. The result is that you might find yourself even thirstier than you previously thought you were, and you are more likely to drink a second can to help compensate, which puts even more empty calories in your system. A good alternative for those who cannot take simple waters are water flavoring packets that can be picked up cheap at most groceries.
On the flip side, caffeine is actually very good for a temporary metabolism boost. Caffeine is actually a mild stimulant, which makes you more aware and energized. It does more than just wake you up, though. It wakes your metabolism up as well, and makes the process slightly faster for the next few hours. It is actually recommended that you drink a cup of coffee a half hour before you do your preferred exercises, as it will optimize your performance and actually help burn calories in a slightly more effective manner. Hey, any excuse to drink a little more coffee!
If you are not a coffee drinker, tea is also a good source of caffeine without the sugars and calories.
Another thing to keep in mind about your drinks is that protein shakes are very tempting options to take, however, recent studies have shown that they are only effective when used correctly. A protein shake should be used as a post-workout energy stabilizer and not as a meal replacement.
If it is used as a meal replacement, you will find that it very simply will not work as you desire it to, as your metabolism will treat it as a meal replacement and you will not build muscle as expected, as it is using the proteins and other minerals for things other than muscle repair, rendering all your hard work into just having lunch. Consider mixing your powder with water or milk after a workout for the most optimal effects, as water absorbs quickly and milk carries a lot of protein as well, and thus will give your powder a little bit of a boost.
When To Seek A Medical Professional For Your Metabolic Issues
There are a lot of things that can go wrong with the metabolic system, and just like the rest of your body, it needs to be taken care of. In fact, your metabolism can act as a canary in the mine of your general health. For example, an under active or overactive thyroid can wreck your metabolism, causing you to either gain weight or lose weight at a much more rapid pace than you can keep up with. Should you not be losing weight as fast as calculated, or losing more than two kilos per week, it is in your best interest to go see your doctor and discuss it, as it may be a symptom to something far more serious.
Medical help should also be gotten if you even happen to think that your weight is accompanied by blood pressure problems. When one considers the two, there might in fact be an issue with your insulin. Blood sugar tests will be helpful in seeing if this is the case, and the key when it comes to insulin problems is early detection. While this does not necessarily mean diabetes, it is still something to look into sooner rather than later.
Should your metabolism be fluctuating between being a high or low metabolism, it is also time to seek a doctor, as this is not normal and will likely require blood work to be done to figure out what is happening. By no means is it fun, but it is important to figure out.
A consistently high metabolism is typically easily handled by eating more calories, but if you find yourself losing weight even if you are eating far too much for your stomach to handle, you should consider seeking help. Alarming rates of weight loss is, as mentioned before, a lot more dangerous than it is to gain weight at an alarming rate. If you are 18 kilos heavier than you ought to be, you are short of breath and talking about needing to lose weight, but if you are 18 kilos underweight, there is a good chance your organs have already begun failing and your blood pressure has already skyrocketed. Keep this in mind before you decide you want to get into the underweight category or slip into it unknowingly.
One of the most important things you can do for your health is learning how your body works. The subject can either be boring or it can be enlightening, but should you know how your body works, half the battle is already won. Conscious decisions can be made a lot easier if you know what is going on and how to identify what is wrong. Keep a food log to help keep track of what you are taking in if you have to.
The best way to prevent problems with your circulatory circuit is actually preventative work in your metabolic system, and it is an extremely well-researched topic in medical journals, and even on sites such as Live Strong. If you would like to learn even more about how to take care of your metabolism, these sources can even be read online in the comfort of your home, and you are strongly encouraged to look at them, as they are constantly being updated as more discoveries are made about the body every single day.
The Important of Hydration
As you reach 20, you start to lose body water and by the time you are 80, you will lose about 6 litres of body water. This natural decrease of body water can make you more at risk of dehydration. Not to forget that your body loses water every day for performing daily activities.
Dehydration is one of the common causes of hospitalization in elderly people. It has been linked to frequent hospitalization and in the increased rate of mortality among hospitalized older adults.
Body functions that require water include:
- Regulation of Body Temperature
- Breakdown of Nutrients from Food
- Transporting of Nutrients All Over the Body
- Excretion of Waste
Water is vital to all living beings. Hydration is important for people at any age, but it is even more important for older people.
Why Do You Need a Daily Intake of Calcium?
Calcium deposits in your bones can deplete. About every ten years, your bones undergo a remodelling process. Old bone tissue breaks down and the mineral deposits get absorbed into the bloodstream before new bones are formed. As you age, the remodelling process slow down. The rate of the breakdown of old bones outpaces the formation of new bones. Your bones lose its mineral density until it becomes weak and brittle.
Loss of bone density can occur earlier and can become worse if you do not get enough calcium from your diet because your body will use calcium deposits in your bones to use it for other important body functions.
Too much bone loss can lead to osteoporosis, a bone disease wherein your bones become too weak and prone to breaking. Falls can easily result to fractures and other bone injuries. In addition, people with osteoporosis are prone to having hunched posture because the spine is not strong enough to support the body weight.
Meeting your daily recommended calcium intake is important in keeping your bones healthy and strong.
How to Prevent Osteoporosis When You Are Over 50
Your bones help support your body weight and your movements that is why you need to keep them strong and healthy especially at this age. Prevent bone loss and protect your bones from osteoporosis with these tips:
- Exercise regularly.
Just like your muscles, you can help stimulate your bones to strengthen itself through regular exercise. Weight bearing exercises or exercises that require you to work against gravity are the best types of exercise for your bones. Examples are brisk walking, jogging, climbing stairs, and weight training.
Push yourself to exercise at least 30 minutes per day. If you suffer from any type of illness, check with your doctor first before starting an exercise program.
- Eat a healthy diet rich in calcium.
Eat a healthy diet which mainly consists of fruits and vegetables. Most importantly, you should include calcium-rich foods, such as milk, soymilk, yogurt, kale, and sardines. Older adults need an intake of 1,000 to 1,200 milligrams of calcium per day. If you do not get enough calcium from your diet, ask your doctor if intake of calcium supplement is an option for you.
- Take a calcium supplement.
You can buy calcium supplements in pharmacies and health food shops without your doctors’ prescription. However, you should make sure first if it is really necessary for you to take them because excessive calcium intake can have adverse effects on your health.
When taking calcium supplements, experts recommend that you take not more than 500 milligrams at once because calcium is best absorbed in low doses.
- Increase vitamin D intake.
Another key nutrient for healthy and strong bones is vitamin D. This nutrient is responsible for the proper absorption of calcium into your body. High calcium intake will be ineffective if your body does not get enough vitamin D.
Exposure to sunlight is your best source of vitamin D. You can also get it from foods, such as oily fish, egg yolks, and red meat. Vitamin D supplements are also available, but doctors often recommend supplements containing both calcium and vitamin D.
- Get rid of unhealthy habits.
Smoking, excessive alcohol intake, and too much stress can contribute to poor bone health. Along with regular exercise and increased intake of calcium and vitamin D you need to control these unhealthy habits if you want to keep your bones strong and healthy.
An active and healthy lifestyle combined with a diet high in calcium, magnesium and vitamin D is best in preventing osteoporosis while you are younger, but it is never too late to start taking care of your bones at age 50 and beyond.
The Importance of Magnesium
One key nutrient your body needs is magnesium. It is a micronutrient necessary for about 300 biochemical reactions and other body functions, such as:
- Regulation of blood pressure
- Regulation of blood sugar
- Helps to normalize heart rhythm
- Protein synthesis
- DNA and RNA synthesis
- Energy production
- Maintenance of muscle and nerve functions
- Retaining bone mineral density
Magnesium is found in your body. Approximately 50 to 60 percent of magnesium is found in your bones while the remaining percentage is found in soft tissues. Still, it is important to eat foods rich in magnesium to use for various body functions and to prevent magnesium deficiency which can have serious effects on your health.
On a daily basis, men over 50 need 420 grams of magnesium while women of the same age are recommended an intake of 320 grams of magnesium. Good food sources of magnesium vary from animal to plant food sources. These include:
- Dark green, leafy vegetables
- Fruits (avocados, bananas, and apricots)
Caloric Intake for Over 50s
People freak out when they hear the word calories. This word has gained such a bad reputation on causing weight gain that people think it is best to avoid calories at all cost. You gain weight when you take in more calories than you burn through physical activities.
- Calorie is a unit of energy a food provides for your body. Foods that contain fats and carbohydrates are your main dietary sources of energy and the amount of energy they provide is counted as calories. As a general rule of thumb, an average person should have a calorie intake of 2,000 grams per day.
- But, for an older adult with decreased physical activities and slower metabolic rate, you may need to lower your daily calorie intake.
How Much Calorie Do Adults Over 50 Needs?
Your daily calorie intake varies depending on your daily physical activities. Remember that unused energy will be stored as fats and too much fat is not good for your body. You should not eat more than you can burn.
- For a woman over 50 who is not physically active, you need to a daily calorie intake of 1,600 grams. If you are fairly active, you need 1,880 grams of calorie per day. If you’re highly active, you need 2,000 to 2,200 grams of calorie per day.
- If you’re a man with a sedentary lifestyle, your daily recommended calorie intake is 2,000 grams. If you’re a bit active, you need 3,000 to 2,200 calories per day. If you maintain a very active lifestyle, you need a calorie intake of 2,400 to 2,800 calories per day.
If you aim to be physically active, exercise at least 150 minutes per week. Brisk walking, swimming, and jogging are great aerobic exercises for older adults. Aerobic exercises will help you burn calories and it is also good for the heart.
Vitamin D for People Over 50
Vitamin D is mainly responsible for the absorption of calcium in your body. Vitamin D deficiency can result in the development of bone disorders because your body cannot absorb and retain a sufficient amount of calcium and phosphorus which are vital for bone growth and health.
- At age 50 and beyond, it is even more important to make sure you get enough vitamin D because at this age bones are prone to becoming weak and fragile. Apart from maintaining bone health, vitamin D also facilitates proper immune system functions and cells communication.
- Vitamin D also helps to promote heart health by making sure calcium goes into its proper destination and not accumulate in the blood vessels which may affect blood flow. Studies show that people with the lowest vitamin D are at greater risk of suffering from heart diseases.
Where to Get Your Daily Dose of Vitamin D
Men and women over 50 are recommended an intake of 15 micrograms per day. This amount is established specifically for bone growth, maintaining bone health, and in ensuring sufficient calcium retention in healthy older adults.
- Your best source of vitamin D is through sun exposure. This is the reason why vitamin D is also called “sunshine vitamin”. Your body can produce its own vitamin D when you expose your skin to sunlight specifically to the ultraviolet B rays. A type of cholesterol naturally found in your skin is converted into cholecalciferol upon absorbing the UVB rays. Cholecaliferol goes into the bloodstream and travels to your liver then to your kidneys before it is converted into vitamin D which your body can use.
- The specific amount of time of sun exposure needed to make enough vitamin D is not known because there are factors that can affect how your body makes vitamin D. One of these factors is your skin color. Dark-skinned people tend to absorb less UVB rays into their skin than lighter-skinned people. Another factor is the amount of UVB rays present in the sunlight during winter.
- If your main source of vitamin D is sunlight, you should avoid staying too long under the sun. Too much sun exposure can cause sunburn and increase your risk of skin cancer
The Secret To Good Health Is In Your Kitchen
As your body ages, it reduces the production of just about everything that you need to function, and you will need to be able to ingest some of these things in order to keep a healthy balance in your life. While making sure that you drink enough water to keep things moving will do wonders, since that will keep any toxins from building up inside of you, and exercise will keep you going stronger for longer, it is important to make sure that you are also restoring your proper levels of testosterone, estrogen, and other hormones that you are not getting enough of. One of the easiest ways to fix that, along with various other ailments that come with getting older, is to watch what you eat…and consider what you’re putting in your food as well.
- Herbs have long been considered a “home remedy” for a variety of issues. Surely, you’ve heard the old wives’ tale about taking a teaspoon of honey during a cold. Honey contains the same ingredient as many over the counter cough medications, so this isn’t as crazy as it seems. Just like that, your cupboard at home very well could be the secret to feeling your best.
- For example, matcha, better known as green tea, has been proven to detoxify your body naturally, as well as boost your metabolism and lower cholesterol. While there is some debate about its pill form versus drinking it as a beverage, both have been proven effective. The debate lies in how your body absorbs it in pill form. When it’s served as a tea, matcha will be absorbed faster, leaving more immediate and measurable results. A pill will absorb slower, thanks to the capsule, which leaves the debate up in the air until more tests are done.
Arthritis is one of those things you hear about aging and you just hate it with a passion. It is a common problem, and yet it feels no matter how well we research it, nothing ever seems to come up. This makes sense, in a way, because arthritis is not just one disease. There are over 100 kinds of arthritis known currently, and just to make it a little easier, the general term of arthritis is used to discuss any form of joint disease and pain. While it makes it easier, it gets a little more complex when it comes to studies and diagnosis. If you are experiencing pain, joint swelling, stiffness at your joints, or a decrease in your range of motion that stretching is not helping, be sure to go to a doctor and get a full diagnosis.
The most common kind of arthritis is called osteoarthritis, and it is one of the easier ones to prevent. While family history and age are a factor in osteoarthritis, it can still be prevented if you take proper precautions.
- Maintain a healthy weight – A major factor to lead to osteoarthritis (and most other forms of arthritis for that matter) is excess weight. By keeping extra kilos, you are adding more stress to your joints. Think of it like adding an extra weight on to a barbell. You might not think that it’s going to hurt you to add one more, but in practice, you’ll find it can make the exercise too difficult to repeat reps or is just too much to try too soon either way. This is the same thing that your bones are going through. With stress on your joints, it’s going to wear cartilage down faster and harder, risking inflammation. This doesn’t mean you should go too thin, either. Not only will there not be enough padding, but there is a good chance that an underweight person is going to have far more brittle bones, as nutrients will be used for things your body considers more important. Keep track of your BMI and your body fact percentage, and if you are still confused at to what weight you should be at, talk to a doctor.
- Control your blood sugar. Recent studies are suggesting that diabetes might up your risk for osteoarthritis, and it’s not too hard to understand why it might. High glucose levels speed up the formation of certain molecules, which results in a joint becoming stiffer and more sensitive to mechanical pressure, such as walking or typing. Besides, a lot of these tips are good for preventing diabetes as well, so it shouldn’t hurt badly to kill two birds with one stone.
- Get moving and keep moving. While it might sound a little counterproductive to prevent joint injury by moving them, exercise will not only help you with maintaining your weight, but it will increase your flexibility and keep your body accustomed to mechanical pressure. You don’t even need a formal exercise plan, as long as you are moving, your muscles will get strong and stabilize your joints better.
- But be safe while you do it! Cartilage doesn’t heal half as well as most of your body when it gets injured, which will nearly double your chances of later developing arthritis. Make sure that you wear proper protective gear for whatever exercise you are doing. If you are cleaning the floors or are gardening a lot, having something beneath your knees is not going to hurt at all.
- Accept what you cannot change and plan around it. Many factors very simply cannot be helped, and one of them is age. There are several thoughts as to what contributes to what happens after 50 to make a body more prone to arthritis. One theory is that cartilage cells are not made as often as they were in your 30s, another refers to a drop in oestrogen after menopause. As mentioned before, it is also something that can be passed down via your family history. However, bear in mind that just because both of your parents had it doesn’t mean that you are resigned to it. Make good health decisions, and it may bypass you entirely.
Putting all this into practice may well seem overwhelming. That’s why we take the guess work out and take you through the process from the start.
Starting with our nutrition seminar all the way through to our small group training classes, combined with our Support group for accountability, clear direction and guaranteed results aimed at helping you Move better, Get stronger and Stay Leaner.
Apply here to be considered for next wave of our 8 Week Fit at 50 Program.
Yours in fitness
Dalkey Fit Pro