Why Your Fitness Routine Should Evolve With Age

By Ben Hamill - March 06 2020
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Why Your Fitness Routine Should Evolve With Age

Aging may not be optional (yet) but aging poorly or even badly certainly is. Most of us are aware that regular exercise helps fight a variety of diseases and even helps the body to stay mobile and younger for longer. In fact, calculations based on a prominent study conducted by Harvard University indicate that one hour of moderate exercise may very well mean two additional hours of life expectancy. Great news indeed for those of us looking for motivation to get started. But what about folks accustomed to following a regular exercise regime? It stands to perfect reason that a typical exercise regime followed by a fit and healthy 20-year-old will in most cases not agree with a person aged 55, of proportionate health and fitness levels.

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It would obviously be no good to quit and throw in the towel as the older we get, the more vital it is that we remain fit and mobile in order to live a long and healthy life. A change of approach seems much more reasonable and according Dr. Stuart McGill, who is professor emeritus in spine biomechanics at the University of Waterloo, the older body can indeed be enhanced and be made optimally receptive to the benefits of exercise simply by tweaking the approach based on the individual.

Speaking From Experience

Dr. McGill has worked with every level of fitness and mobility conceivable – from people working highly sedentary desk-jobs to pro-athletes desiring to perform at maximum capacity. And what makes his advice all the more reliable and compelling is the fact that he himself (he is now in his 60s) has had to undergo a hip replacement.

When asked about a sensible starting point, he suggests first of all determining the specific demands related to each individual’s unique lifestyle and career. Next would be to assess that individual’s ability to meet those demands. According to Dr. McGill, a truly efficient training approach will inherently seek to enable the individual to develop his or her capabilities to the extent that he or she is able to navigate and overcome the identified demands. 

Don’t Forget To Rest

It’s all about accurately pinpointing the balance, says Dr. McGill. It’s no use to be working a 9-to-5 desk-job and attempt to follow the training regime of an NHL hockey player. It’s a basic concept of first-things-first in that the individual must first be assisted to gauge and address the effects of sitting down for hours on end. Once existing issues have been dealt with, the focus may be shifted more towards developing and following an appropriate fitness regime.

And when asked to single out the one non-negotiable, the reply is offered without any hesitation: don’t forget to allow 1 day of rest in every 7-day cycle.

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