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Kickstart Fat Loss Program | Andrew Hill Personal Training

Andrew Hill Personal Training - Leicester Fat Loss Specialist
How to keep fit over 50? It’s easier than you think. But first, let’s look at a few important considerations. Men and women over 50 don’t have the same strength, flexibility, mobility and endurance as they had in their 30’s and they’re not going to be able to do the same things they were able to do when they were younger, generally speaking at least. Of course, there are always exceptions to the rule, including some of my older clients who, having lived most of their lives obese are finding movement easier since losing weight and eliminating body fat using my Leaf Method program. By achieving a healthier weight, by and large our mobility and flexibility improves.
This means that senior exercise enthusiasts should perhaps steer clear of some of the more challenging exercises they may have endured when they were younger, or maybe have never tried because, until now, they weren’t so concerned about deliberate exercise. Whilst it is true that exercise is crucial as we get older for longevity and maintaining our independence, we must not expect to be able to run marathons any time soon if we’ve not been consistently training towards it. An example of why it is important to maintain exercise can be found in the example of my client, Ms Redstone, at 83 years old and living with Parkinson’s disease, she instructed my services as an online and home-based personal trainer to regain her independence and reverse frailty. Through a series of strength training programs designed specifically for her, we were able to achieve something she hadn’t achieved in nearly 20 years and that was to stand up completely unaided, without even having to push herself up using her arms. You can watch her achievement here: https://www.instagram.com/reel/CqqTtuwNJDa/?utm_source=ig_web_copy_link&igsh=MzRlODBiNWFlZA==
So why is it important for men and women to exercise when they’re 50+? Well, keeping fit and maintaining our physical health are two sides of the same coin, we can’t have one without the other. We might enjoy relatively good health whilst living a sedentary lifestyle but you’ll achieve even better health and longevity by staying physically active. Not to mention the benefits on our mental health, the reduced risk of falls and being able to maintain your independence as you get older! But WHY is it so important?
As we age, we naturally start to lose muscle mass and strength, we call this “sarcopenia”. Resistance training is exceptionally effective in slowing sarcopenia down, resistance training includes free weights, body weight exercise, weight-based exercise machines in the gym, resistance bands, medicine balls, etc.
Resistance training, also called strength training or weight training, slows sarcopenia by causing small amounts of damage to our muscles which then need to be repaired and it’s through this repair and recovery process that our muscles grow. Whilst sarcopenia is still occuring, the growth of new muscle tissue offsets this and, in many cases, the rate of new muscle tissue growth can be greater than the rate of sarcopenia.
Another reason why we want to maintain good exercise habits over 50 is because we want to prevent and slow down osteoporosis. Osteoporosis is the decrease in bone density, making bones more fragile and susceptible to fractures. Weight bearing exercises, including many forms of cardiovascular training (as well as resistance training) can help preserve bone density and reduce the risk of osteoporosis. Unfortunately, unlike the effects of sarcopenia, osteoporosis cannot be reversed. This means once you’ve lost that density, it’s gone forever. This has a severe risk attached to it. If your muscles can lift more weight than the strength of your bones can manage, your bones will be at risk of breaking. The solution is to make sure you engage in weight bearing exercises regularly and consistently before osteoporosis sets in. Squats, deadlifts, running and walking are all good exercises that most people can do or can learn to do.
Our metabolism also slows down with age, making it easier to gain weight and whilst this is the case, our appetite doesn’t begin to reduce until we’re a little bit later in life, generally speaking. Regular physical activity helps to boost our metabolism, making it easier to maintain a healthy weight. Andrew Hill Personal Training has a range of solutions when it comes to weight management, including meal replacement options which, when used with the support of a qualified nutrition expert and personal trainer and as part of a healthy, balanced diet can really help you to maintain a healthier weight. Being overweight and obesity have some significant health issues, including heart disease, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, poorer mental health including low self-esteem. Maintaining any form of regular exercise will improve metabolic output but studies show that resistance training large muscle groups (especially the legs), particularly contributes to maintaining metabolic efficiency.

Cardiovascular exercise is equally as important as strength training because our heart is what keeps the body ticking. Healthy heart and blood vessels reduces the risk of heart disease, stroke, blood clots and sudden heart attacks. Aerobic exercises like walking, swimming and cycling are particularly beneficial. For men and women over 50 who haven’t engaged in regular physical exercise, I’d caution against running, jogging and skipping without the approval of a healthcare professional; these are all high-impact activities which could put excessive amounts of force through the bones and joints and for adults at risk of or living with arthritis or osteoporosis may find such activities to be painful or potentially putting their bone health at greater risk.

As we age, our balance and flexibility becomes less to be desired compared to our younger years. The older we are, the more at risk of falls and injuries as a result of those falls also become greater. Stretching exercises, including yoga, Pilates and tai chi, are fantastic ways to maintaining flexibility and balance and reduce the risk of falls. They’re all very low impact and yoga and tai chi especially have been proven to be beneficial for mental wellbeing in particular (studies have shown that all forms of exercise are beneficial to mood and mental health and wellbeing, so you don’t have to be restricted to just yoga or tai chi, there are lots of exercise groups and classes designed for older people. Age UK and other charities will have lists of local providers in your area).So, what sort of exercise is best? Well, unless we’ve been consistent and regular with our exercise regime throughout our lives, it is usually advisable to steer clear of high-impact exercises without the approval of a healthcare professional because of the risks explained above. Low-impact exercises, like walking and swimming, some forms of dance and even chair-based exercises (including chair-based yoga) are all perfect examples and the best thing is, you don’t even need to leave the house to exercise! There are so many options today to maintain our health and fitness. One project Andrew Hill Personal Training is working on is an online fitness on demand streaming service where older people can take part in exercise without having to leave the house but there are, of course, benefits of attending say, Flex or WalkFit group fitness class – the community and social element are both extremely positive for mental health and it helps reduce loneliness and provides a peer support network. Whatever mode of exercise delivery works best for you, go for it. Whether it’s walking to the shops or around the park or logging in to an online fitness streaming service or getting all your gym clothes out and heading to the local leisure centre, whatever you decide to do is going to be the right choice! If I had to choose though, what exercises are best for men and women over 50, I would absolutely recommend walking, most of us regularly walk and therefore, we don’t need to practice to get it right as much as we might some other forms of exercise – it’s one of the best forms of cardiovascular exercise and you can increase the weight bearing element easily, it’s as simple as throwing a few tins in shopping bags and away you go; walk to the shops, walk back carrying shopping bags. If you decide you want a more specific, deliberate exercise, I’d recommend buying a set of adjustable dumbbells. There are so many exercises you can do with them. My favourite recommendation can be found here: https://amzn.to/3vcjH08 – they’re dumbbells which can also be converted into a barbell for an even greater variety of exercises. They go up to 20kg in small increments so they’re really manageable and, for the majority of people, 20kg is more than enough to maintain good bone and muscle density.

But is it different for men and women over 50 in terms of how they exercise and why exercise is important? The short answer is yes. I’d always suggest that what’s most important is that individuals find activities they enjoy and can incorporate into their daily routine rather than figuring out specifically which types of exercise suits their specific need. It has to be enjoyable, rather than a chore. But there are some key differences to be mindful of.
We already know that heart disease risk increases as we get older and it’s the leading cause of death for both men and women. Exercise reduces the risk of heart disease but because women face additional risk factors, such as hormonal changes during menopause, one could suggest it is even more important for women to take part in regular exercise. There’s a lot of risk factors involved in cardiovascular disease including cholesterol levels, blood pressure and weight, all of which can be controlled by exercise.
Overall, the importance of exercise over 50 is clear. Not only will it help you to maintain your independence and reduce the risk of falls, it will help you to stave off age-related health conditions and, most importantly, allow you to hold on to the activities you loved as a younger person. Because of the positive impacts of exercise on mental health, the risk of depression and even cognitive decline is reduced significantly; studies support the theory that exercise can help to reduce the risk of diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s and can improve cognition in patients diagnosed with schizophrenia.
Finally, staying active can enhance overall quality of life by increasing energy levels, promoting better sleep, and providing opportunities for social interaction and engagement in enjoyable activities.

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