How does faster fitness after 50 sound? That’s what I’m serving up today. We so often focus on the sessions, the workouts, the exercises. We often don’t pay enough attention to what happens between workouts that boosts your fitness level. As a fitness instructor, trainer and trainer of trainers for 34 years, I’ve witnessed that only focusing on 1-3 hours of exercise won’t get results – no matter how good it is! That simple statement is amplified for older adults.
This dozen between workouts tips will help you optimize your results. Comment below after reading and let me know how many out of these 12 you’re doing!
Wait 60 minutes then eat a high protein meal or smoothie
There is a blunting effect on muscle protein synthesis in older adults after exercise. It subsides after about 60 minutes. Eating a high protein meal is best timed 60-120 minutes after high intensity workouts. There’s no change in what you should eat for low or moderate exercise. Just don’t overcompensate!
High protein after 50 is higher than it was when you were 20
Older adult men who consumed 40 grams of protein (in a smoothie) following strength training reaped far more benefits – comparable to that of young men – than did subjects who consumed 20 grams of protein post-exercise. This change in protein intake aids the recovery process (decrease muscles soreness, breakdown, and readies you for another good workout sooner).
You need more than your younger self in order to combat the muscle wasting that happens with aging. Exercise alone is not enough, it takes the combination of correct exercise and addition of protein. An estimated 40% of older adults don’t get the amount needed.
If you’re attempting to lose weight, increasing dietary protein helps weight loss be fat rather than muscle loss that is otherwise a significant part of weight loss. Losing muscle comes back to bit you by slowing your metabolism and making regain inevitable.
Drink a ridiculous amount of water
You can overdo water intake but for most older adults this is not the case. Check your skin and your urine both. Staying well hydrated by drinking ounces equivalent to half your weight (in pounds) will aid digestion, muscle, and every cell in your body. If you’re suffering from fatigue, check in with your water intake.
If you find you’re dizzy, especially when you’re exercising or after exercise, and you drink copious amounts of water that exceed half your body weight (ounces of water compared to pounds of weight) then, yes slow down. You’re watering down your electrolytes and your micronutrients may not be absorbed.
Let your muscles rest
Exercise enhances your muscle protein synthesis. You take advantage of that benefit by resting between vigorous exercise sessions (and stressful life events). This together with a higher amount of protein (compared to younger people) pre or post exercise (and both for those who struggle to gain lean muscle) will support more energy, strength, endurance and slow the atrophy so-common in prior generations with aging.
Get in the water
Water supports recovery. Whether you decide to swim in your tub in Epsom salt or you find your way to a salt-water pool (less toxic than a chlorinated one), or you’re lucky enough to access the ocean (call me – I’ll be right over!) or hot springs, water is an effective recovery method. There are athletes that swear by regular immersion after tough workouts as a means of injury prevention.
Moving in the water, whether swimming, walking or suspended jogging is better than passive bathing. Active recovery always wins over passive. You do want to move. Get a big tub.
Sleep like a boss
If you can’t right now, your first step is to realize there are ways you can manipulate your exercise, food, and habits to improve sleep. You’re not a victim. Sleep is the gatekeeper of all things hormones. That means, sleep dictates your metabolism. You can exercise all you want (not recommended) and eat as little as you want (also not recommended) and if your hormones are not balanced you will not lose weight and potentially will increase your fat stores and make it harder than ever to lose fat. If you’re struggling to sleep, this is your first primary goal.
Stretch and roll
You want to have strong but supple, mobile, muscles and regularly stretching, not just right after exercise, but more frequently potentially than you did when you were younger is the way to get them.
If not stretching on your own, yoga or Pilates can both enhance mobility and flexibility so you can move through your personal range of motion. Strength without this can actually lead you to muscle imbalance. Foam rolling before stretching can make it more effective.
Listen to injuries and illness
You get a few chances to listen to your body at a whisper level. Then it begins to talk louder, with more pain, or more severe damage. When it’s small it’s much easier and faster to fix. Increased injuries and illnesses tell you that you’re immune system is depleted, you’re pushing the accelerator with nothing in the tank and you need to pay better attention.
Reduce your stress level
It’s not going to go away. Meaningful lives are full of people and things we love that cause us stress. You can balance it however with both the way you think about it and with your personal stress toolkit. You need different answers to different sources of stress. It may be a walk in nature is good for some stress, and a nap or a sitcom is good for another. Fill your life with regular hits of your favorite activities and your stress won’t go away but your perception of it will improve.
Get a massage
Self care is a part of recovery. If it takes booking an appointment and paying for it to get you to lay down and relax, then do! Athletes do it regularly and we all live like corporate athletes running through our lives.
You’ll move better when you release muscle tension. You’ll relax and sleep better too. You may not be able to do this between every workout (darn!) but do schedule it. It’s a bit like hydration, when you feel thinned to do it, you’ve probably gone too long between massages. An entire chapter in You Still Got It, Girl! is dedicated to the hormone balance that happens with recovery.
Low intensity exercise has been left behind. Even yoga sessions are hot, or power, or hot and power as often as they are gentle and restorative. Low intensity movement is missing from our contemporary lives. It’s hormone-balancing and if a state of constant tired is true of you, then low activity may be better – and even promote weight loss best – for you. Low intensity exercise is recovery while high intensity exercise requires recovery.
Never ignore fatigue
Don’t ignore fatigue during a workout when you want to reach muscle fatigue nor the chronic, tired all the time kind of fatigue. Less exercise with more purpose, bookended by quality recovery is the key to fitness. If you’re flirting with adrenal fatigue you can’t out-discipline or out-willpower it.
How are you doing with your recovery? How many of these are you already doing? Anything you need to buff up to buff up?
You Still Got It, Girl! The After 50 Fitness Formula for Women
Hot, Not Bothered: 99 Daily Flips to Slimmer, Trimmer, Fitter Faster so you can master metabolism before, during, and (long) after menopause
It’s the ANNIVERSARY of our signature course! Take $25 off with laborday25 Hurry during this weekend’s special sale rate! Details here.