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    • trailingspouse
    • By trailingspouse 30th Nov 18, 12:53 PM
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    trailingspouse
    Older and fitter
    • #1
    • 30th Nov 18, 12:53 PM
    Older and fitter 30th Nov 18 at 12:53 PM
    I've always done 'something' to keep fit (Pilates classes, yoga, walking), but 6 months ago joined a gym that really ticks all my boxes. I go three times a week, the trainer makes sure everyone's technique is good, suggests easier versions if you're struggling, but - and this is key - encourages/insists that you move up a level if you're able to.


    This is what I needed!! No-one had ever told me before that I could lift more than the small pink 'girly' weights, and no-one had ever shown me how to do a proper press-up, or stood ready to catch me when I tried my first full-height box jump.


    When I first joined the gym I was fit 'for my age' but I couldn't stand up to use the exercise bike, I couldn't (daren't) do a full-height box jump, I couldn't do a burpee, my running speed was pitiful, I couldn't do a plank... I could go on.


    Now - well, I can do all of the above, and more. I can do 10 burpees in a row. My warm-up jogging is the speed that I was running flat-out at 6 months ago. And I can do a proper press-up, from the toes not the knees.


    Some stats - I'm female, aged 58, resting heart rate of 72, max heart rate of 186 (for my age it should be 174), height 5'8", weight 9st 5lbs, BMI about 21. I haven't lost any weight - but I didn't need to or want to. I am however fitter and stronger than I've ever been, probably since my teens.



    I've posted this for two reasons - one to show anyone who is a bit older and who's thinking about getting serious about getting fit that it can be done. And secondly to see if there's anyone else out there who's already doing it, so we could give a bit of mutual support.
Page 2
    • MallyGirl
    • By MallyGirl 5th Dec 18, 2:01 PM
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    MallyGirl
    I am a few years from retirement but probably only 18 months from DD going to uni and I expect that to free up a huge amount of time to exercise (and so much more). I walk the dogs every day but don't do much else - I did the walk 1000 miles last year but am way short this year for a variety of reasons.
    The local spa has a nice choice of pools and some exercise equipment/ classes. The sister gym next door has all the equipment and classes you could ever want. The master plan is to join (annual gets you both) once I am no longer Mum's taxi- for now I just get a number of visits per year membership.
    At 51 I am much fitter, stronger and lighter than I was 20 years ago but I am still carrying an extra stone I don't want.
    • trailingspouse
    • By trailingspouse 5th Dec 18, 2:09 PM
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    trailingspouse
    littlegreenparrot - well, you learn something new every day!! I'd never heard of inflatable 5k's, but they sound ever such good fun. I did couch to 5k about 4 years ago - managed to damage my hip (which has never been good), so had to stop before I actually got to 5k. My problem was that the hip would be fine when I set off but would then start hurting - and then I would have to get home again. Also, I don't like to be beaten, so I was pushing through a bit more than I should have... The advantage of the treadmill is that if it should start to hurt (and it never has!!) I could stop immediately. Also we never run (or do anything) for more than 4 minutes at a time, so you don't have time to do yourself any damage before you're off and doing something else that uses a different muscle group.


    Gloomendoom - go Mrs G!! I agree with what you said about trainers not understanding your wife's needs. It was quite a big day for me when the trainer told me to get the next size weights - no-one had ever told me before that I was capable of doing anything other than the little ones! It gave me the confidence to ask him to show me how to do a proper push-up (ie from the toes rather than the knees). When I was a gal, we weren't expected - nay, we were specifically told not - to do push ups. Not sure what they thought would happen to us if we did... I can remember the PE teacher saying 'Girls don't do push ups'! The trainer gave me a few tips and basically said that the best way to do it was to just try to do it and see how I got on. Needless to say, the first time I did it I couldn't lift myself off the floor at all - but now I can. I can only do about 5 - but that's 5 more than I used to be able to do!!


    I've got another session tonight, and the weather is foul. If I was going to any other gym, I simply wouldn't bother on a day like today, but I know that once I get there I'll love it. And before that, I'm meeting a friend for a coffee - I have my eye on a Black Forest Latte. Is that very bad of me??
    • Gloomendoom
    • By Gloomendoom 5th Dec 18, 3:33 PM
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    Gloomendoom
    I think the worry was that exercising with heavy weights would make women bulk up in the most unfeminine way. The truth is that it just doesn't happen unless they take steroid supplements.

    If you can't get to the gym but just want to get some exercise, you could try the 100 Push Up Challenge. There is also the 100 Pull Up Challenge. Mrs G has managed the push (press) ups but not the pull ups. They are very hard. Both are easier if you are relatively lean.

    There are several phone apps that help keep tally and motivate.
    Never argue with stupid people, they will drag you down to their level and then beat you with experience. - Mark Twain
    • dont_use_vistaprint
    • By dont_use_vistaprint 5th Dec 18, 6:55 PM
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    dont_use_vistaprint
    Well done.

    As we get older its vital to keep fit , flexible and build / retain muscle. Your approach of moving up levels is exactly right, with strength training its called progressive resistance and its the key to progress. I

    I was never into sport and suffered with weight and bad backs all throughout my 20s, 30s and most of 40s, then through multiple back injury's in recovery with a physio I started stretching, working my core, hiking , then 5k runs, half marathons, full marathons, trail and hill running, mountain biking , weight lifting - I'm now the fittest and strongest Iv'e even been in my entire life, but age is catching up!

    In 2019 I will master balance and increase strength with hand stands, walking on hands and hand stand press-ups!
    • trailingspouse
    • By trailingspouse 5th Dec 18, 10:37 PM
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    trailingspouse
    Thanks Gloomendoom - I knew that really...

    don't use vistaprint - oh my goodness, I feel tired just thinking about that!! I was only 24 the first time my back 'went', and it's something that has happened from time to time ever since. But there is definitely a correlation for me between doing some sort of exercise and my back not 'going'. I started at this gym in April, and I haven't had a bad back since then. This makes me very happy.


    I was at the gym this evening - there were 14 of us (maximum at any one session is 24), 6 men and 8 women. Quite impressive granted the truly grim weather. That's the highest number of men I've seen at any one session.



    I totally agree silverwhistle, it's all down to motivation. The trick is definitely to work out what motivates you and go with it. For me I guess it's all about holding back the years - but I also like to push myself. I like to feel that I've worked hard and achieved something.
    • fred246
    • By fred246 6th Dec 18, 12:32 AM
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    fred246
    I like to follow the NHS exercise guidelines:

    https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/exercise/

    I think a lot of people focus on the aerobic exercise but forget the strength exercises. |I think they make a big difference. I do LesMills bodypump but I am sure there will be plenty of similar classes.
    • EdSwippet
    • By EdSwippet 6th Dec 18, 9:52 AM
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    EdSwippet
    I think a lot of people focus on the aerobic exercise but forget the strength exercises. I think they make a big difference.
    Originally posted by fred246
    For me, the lightbulb moment was during an online course on exercise and fitness, which included a section on sarcopenia -- "Age-related muscle loss, called sarcopenia, is a natural part of aging. After age 30, you begin to lose as much as 3% to 5% per decade. Most men will lose about 30% of their muscle mass during their lifetimes". Terrifying.

    I do LesMills bodypump ...
    Originally posted by fred246
    My strength training routine of choice. I expected to dislike it when I started -- more something to grit your teeth through than enjoy -- but now I look forward to it as a great all-in-one workout. (Okay, so some of its music tracks sound horrible to my middle-aged ears, but those I just treat as a metronome!)
    • Nebulous2
    • By Nebulous2 6th Dec 18, 6:56 PM
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    Nebulous2
    For me, the lightbulb moment was during an online course on exercise and fitness, which included a section on sarcopenia -- "Age-related muscle loss, called sarcopenia, is a natural part of aging. After age 30, you begin to lose as much as 3% to 5% per decade. Most men will lose about 30% of their muscle mass during their lifetimes". Terrifying.
    Originally posted by EdSwippet
    I don't think it has to be like that, or you can slow it down substantially. I think I could confidently say my father has never been in a gym in his life. He took early retirement at 60 and has a workshop full of tools, where he makes things.

    He was over 70 when we went to a science museum with our children, where there was a thing which measured your grip. My father's one said you have 130% of the grip of an average 25 year old man.

    On the other hand I'm a keen cyclist and don't often do much else. However, some of the best long distance cyclists I know see strength training as an essential part of their routine.
    • trailingspouse
    • By trailingspouse 7th Dec 18, 9:57 PM
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    trailingspouse
    You're absolutely right Nebulous2 - the decline isn't inevitable. But, I do think that, as you get older, you have to work harder to stop the decline starting.

    One of the trainers mentioned a list of key indicators for fitness levels - I can't remember all of them, but it was things like strength, stamina, flexibility, balance. I'll ask him next time I see him. But I think it underlines the importance of covering all the bases. And also the speed at which you can walk is an accurate indicator of life expectancy - so the fitter you can keep yourself, the better all round.

    I like to set myself mini challenges - at the moment, my short-term challenge is to get to a point where I'm not needing to take 'unscheduled' rests during a gym session. I'm certainly improving, but I'm not there yet. One of the guys who comes regularly to the gym lives a bit further up the road from me. He jogs down to the gym then jogs home again. I've given myself a somewhat bigger challenge as well - to be able to jog back up the road with him, as far as my house. At the moment I can get about half way (in my defence, it's up hill...).

    It's interesting that EdSwippet refers to a 'lightbulb moment' - for me it was getting yet another bad back, to add to the ongoing hip pain, weak ankle, stiff neck and an increasing squidginess around the tummy. I decided something had to be done!! I haven't had a bad back since I started at the gym, hip no longer causes any trouble, ankles are fine and neck is tickety boo. And the tummy is no longer squidgy. What was you lightbulb moment?
    • Gloomendoom
    • By Gloomendoom 7th Dec 18, 11:32 PM
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    Gloomendoom
    We have a pull-up bar hanging from a ceiling beam that my wife uses to practise. Shortly after I put first put it up, my wife could manage about one pull up. Two on a good day. My dad walked in and asked what the thing hanging from the beam was. When I explained, he promptly went over to it and did three proper pull-ups. He was 87 at the time.

    I was astounded.
    Never argue with stupid people, they will drag you down to their level and then beat you with experience. - Mark Twain
    • fred246
    • By fred246 8th Dec 18, 5:08 AM
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    fred246
    I think you have to look at the whole activity that a person does. I have had a builder say "I don't do any exercise. I spend all day climbing ladders with 12 bricks on my back but I never exercise." The Dutch cycle everywhere but never class it as exercise. Just normal life. Modern living has given people the opportunity to live without doing much at all. I wonder if we are becoming more extreme. If you want a pizza you go on just-eat and sit back while another guy pedals frantically through the streets to deliver it from a box on his bike. Shopping used to always mean walking and now you can just do it online and have it delivered. We went on holiday with another family recently and our hotel was a mile from town. I suggested we wander in for a drink. They wanted to drive but reluctantly agreed. After about 300 yards the mother was saying "This really is a hike. Their children were crying to be carried." When we got home we realized they never walk anywhere. They drive everywhere and never walk at all. There are people who do so little they are really shortening their lives. Not sure that the public realize it. Inactivity is as dangerous as smoking.
    • trailingspouse
    • By trailingspouse 9th Dec 18, 12:44 PM
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    trailingspouse
    I couldn't agree more fred246. It's just too easy to jump into the car. We live close to the town centre, and so I can walk to pretty much everything that I need to get to. The only time I would use the car is to do the big weekly shopping, but I've even got into the habit of walking to the supermarket nearly every day and buying what I can carry, so even those trips aren't as frequent as they used to be.



    We have a big issue around our local secondary school, as there's nowhere for parents to park when they pick up the kids, so they end up on the pavement and on double yellow lines etc. I'm pretty sure a lot of those kids could walk home, but they don't.


    And equally my SIL (aged 65) thinks I'm amazing because I walk into town (5 minutes walk up a slight incline) - so the issue isn't just with the young. We sometimes go for dinner to our local restaurant, which is really not far from home (300 yds max) - she will drive.
    • Nebulous2
    • By Nebulous2 9th Dec 18, 1:41 PM
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    Nebulous2
    It's interesting that EdSwippet refers to a 'lightbulb moment' - for me it was getting yet another bad back, to add to the ongoing hip pain, weak ankle, stiff neck and an increasing squidginess around the tummy. I decided something had to be done!! I haven't had a bad back since I started at the gym, hip no longer causes any trouble, ankles are fine and neck is tickety boo. And the tummy is no longer squidgy. What was you lightbulb moment?
    Originally posted by trailingspouse
    From my late 20s to my late 40s I very slowly got bigger. Nothing dramatic, no huge changes, my weight just crept up over a long period. I would occasionally move up a clothes size, but nothing else really changed. We still walked a fair bit, did family stuff, cycled occasionally, but nothing very strenuous.

    Two things changed it for me. Firstly becoming increasingly concerned about my snoring, I'm sure I had sleep apnoea, although I never had it confirmed / diagnosed and secondly breaking things. Folding camping chairs broke very easily, which wasn't a great surprise as I was over the weight limit. I once had a terrifying experience on a fairground ride, where I was well over the weight limit and couldn't stop thinking about the camping chairs. Both of those combined reached a tipping point.

    I lost a lot of weight, again fairly slowly and undramatically, but also along the way took up cycling. I started cycling initially as the weight loss had stalled and I wanted to keep it going, but the cycling eventually became much more important than the weight loss.

    I now undertake some long distance endurance cycling events, that are probably as much a mental challenge as a physical one. Being fitter does help however.
    • trailingspouse
    • By trailingspouse 9th Dec 18, 4:05 PM
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    trailingspouse
    That's absolutely fabulous Nebulous2. Very interesting that the cycling started as a means to an end but then became a 'thing' in itself. When's the next big race?
    • Nebulous2
    • By Nebulous2 9th Dec 18, 7:04 PM
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    Nebulous2
    That's absolutely fabulous Nebulous2. Very interesting that the cycling started as a means to an end but then became a 'thing' in itself. When's the next big race?
    Originally posted by trailingspouse

    I don't race - I tried it and didn't like it very much, but I do long distance events called audax. They have a maximum and minimum time, and despite not being races they can be quite competitive. For a 200km audax you have to finish it within 13 hours and 30 minutes. For a 300 you have to finish in 20 hours, and so on. If you complete a set of 200, 300, 400 and 600 in the same season you get an SR (Series Randonneur) award. That's my aim for next season, I've signed up for the full set starting on 16th of March with a 200.
    • trailingspouse
    • By trailingspouse 10th Dec 18, 12:19 PM
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    trailingspouse
    That's a lot of kilometres!! I own a bike - and in fact OH and I have had some very pleasant cycle rides (there's a canal path not far from the house). I could cycle to work, it's only 4 miles away, along the canal - but I always seem to have something to carry, or the weather looks a bit doubtful, or it's actually raining, or I'm running late, or I need to go on somewhere afterwards...


    Which I guess just goes to prove that the most important thing is finding the thing that works for you, and then actually doing it!! I was chatting to a gym buddy the other day, about how often we go. I go three days a week, she goes 4. In my ideal world I think I would go every other day, but at the moment OH is working away so I don't feel I want to head off to the gym over the weekend when he's at home. Once he's back home all the time it's something I might consider.
    • fred246
    • By fred246 11th Dec 18, 5:40 AM
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    fred246
    Those last 2 posts reminded me of where I used to work. There were two of us who were famous for cycling. I had gone to Holland and came back excited about living a normal life using a bicycle as much as I could. I cycle commuted for years. I go shopping with panniers. Go to the gym on my bike. The other guy just cycled every Sunday morning on a racing bike around the roads in lycra. Maybe went out one evening in the week. I used to tell him about the latest off road route I had found. He wanted to be on the road all the time. I persuaded him to get some puncture proof tyres. He hated them as they were 'too heavy'. Even though we were both 'the cyclists' we really had nothing in common.
    • trailingspouse
    • By trailingspouse 11th Dec 18, 9:24 AM
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    trailingspouse
    We're all different (thank goodness!!).


    But there is some sort of fitness-producing activity for everyone, and I firmly believe that doing something is better than doing nothing.

    I have a friend who goes to dance classes - signed up for ballroom but discovered a love of swing and rock and roll as well.

    My parents used to walk (regular 12 mile hikes in all weathers), and still do, although now it's more like 3 miles via a tearoom... But my mother does housework like it's an Olympic sport, and still climbs steps to clean her windows and the tops of her wardrobes (she's 88, but don't tell her I told you, it's a very well kept secret!). My father still does exercises every morning, and only recently stopped doing push-ups (and only because he had a problem with his hand, not because he couldn't do them!). And he gardens. A lot.

    You see so many people who are relatively young (I'm thinking 40-somthings) who struggle to walk any sort of distance and couldn't run if their life depended on it. They aren't going to suddenly get fit - and their mobility will only get worse as they get older - unless they start actually doing something. In my own case, my hip pain was really bad, kept me awake at night and reduced my mobility so that I struggled to get socks on. It eased up during the day, but I was never really pain free. I was pretty sure that, given 10 years or so, I would be on the list for a hip replacement. Now - it doesn't hurt. It's as simple as that. It just doesn't hurt. And I put that down purely to exercising - not just my legs, but my whole body. It has to be the whole body (in my opinion) to allow everything to be in balance and working efficiently.



    And I'm a bit evangelical about it, I admit!!
    • Nebulous2
    • By Nebulous2 11th Dec 18, 9:27 PM
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    Nebulous2
    I watched some members of my parent's generation get older and succumb to various ailments, and now scarily it is people of my own generation. More and more though, as I hear of somebodys misfortune, I'm thinking that is a lifestyle condition.

    There is certainly some evidence that exercise increases lifespan. Something I've had a growing interest in is compression of morbidity. We're continually hearing of the problems of an older population, with all the health and care needs, in negative terms.

    It doesn't have to be that way though. People growing older should be celebrated and valued. Living to 65 and spending the last 15 years in ill-health is more of a challenge for the person and the care system than living to 90 and spending the last 6 months in ill-health.

    We need to work out how to narrow that time for more people, and I'm sure exercise is likely to be a big part of that.
    • trailingspouse
    • By trailingspouse 12th Dec 18, 10:04 AM
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    trailingspouse
    I've never come across the term 'compression of morbidity' before - but I couldn't agree more!!



    Any of us can have health problems at any time - the trick is to make it less likely to happen to you!! And you can do that by eating a healthy diet, and exercising frequently. Is that me making a complex subject too simplistic? Or do people add unnecessary complication to an otherwise simple concept as a way of avoiding having to just do it?
    Medical progress has meant that many of the things that killed us off at a younger age are no longer going to do that - so, having won the war (against disease etc), we now need to win the peace (by living our longer lives to the full).
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