Contributed Post: How To Stay Fit as a Senior Man

Post submitted by freelance writer Jess Walter:

Active seniors riding bike in autumn nature.

As a nation, the life expectancies of Americans are increasing but so too do the risks of age-related conditions such as strokes and heart attacks. Luckily, it is never too late to get into shape. The American Heart Association states that exercise is a key strategy in preventing heart disease, especially among senior men who are inherently more susceptible to heart disease than women. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a senior male needs at least 2 1/2 hours of moderate aerobic activity, such as brisk walking every week as well as strength training activities at least twice a week. While these are the recommended guidelines it is important to also listen to your body and take care not to strain yourself.

Senior man on cycle ride in countryside

As you age, you need to respect your body more when it comes to exercise. A young body is very resilient and forgiving while aged tendons, joints and ligaments isn’t able to withstand the same levels of abuse. If you do not take the necessary care when exercising you can end up with niggling injuries that include aches, pains, tendonitis, strained muscles and joint pain. Your mindset towards working out needs to mature as your body does. Younger guys are able to push their limits by lifting too heavy, using poor form and doing anything else they can to force their muscles to grow but as you grow older you need to take greater care when working out. Whether you want to build muscle or simply tone your body, you need to focus on finding a safe and practical workout routine that suits your lifestyle best.

Metabolism

Instead of simply riding your bicycle at a set pace, senior should try to include a few intense intervals that involve rapid breathing and burning muscles.  As you age your metabolism slows down significantly, making it easier to pack on the pounds. Boosting your standard exercise routine with bouts of intense workout you will help you overcome the plateau caused by a slowing metabolism.

Portrait of happy fit mature man working out with dumbbells

Bone Density

Bones tend to grow stronger in response to impact and loading. Impact-sprinting on a treadmill might not be viable for a senior, loading of the bones and spinning along the long vertical axis is a very good idea and can easily be achieved with low-impact exercises such as squats, overhead presses, chest presses or lunges.

Flexibility

Many senior males tend to avoid yoga for two reasons: it sometimes requires a certain degree of balance which might be difficult at an advanced age and because yoga is not seen as a macho-enough exercise option. In truth yoga is immensely popular amongst men and women and a beginner yoga class will improve your flexibility without requiring you to master any eccentric movements. In addition to yoga a full-body stretch routine should be included at the end of every workout when the muscles are still warm and pliable.

Remember that it is never too late to start exercising and lead a healthier life-style, you may be surprised at what your body is still capable of. It is however recommended that you seek the go-ahead from your medical practitioner before embarking on any exercise regime.

Two male golfers sitting in a cart
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