20 fitness tips for older men

Research shows that extra kilos mean a shorter life for men. It’s time to start turning back the clock and here are some tips!


1. First, have a chat with your GP

As we get older, it’s always a good idea to check in with our General Practitioners (GPs) for regular health check-ups. GPs can check your blood pressure, cholesterol and heart health and also measure your waistline to ensure you’re in a healthy condition before kick starting any new fitness programs.

2. Cut down on alcohol

As you get older, different health issues may develop as you age that alcohol can affect in different ways. Cutting back on alcohol consumption means you’re at less risk of developing long-term health problems such as cancer, heart disease or liver cirrhosis (scarring). You might even lose weight, have more energy and feel better.

3. Motivate yourself

Need a reason to stay fit? How about a longer life? For men, fitness level can predict length of life even better than body mass index (BMI) can, according to a study of more than 14,000 men. As a man’s fitness improved, his risk of death from all causes dropped 15 percent and his risk of death from heart disease was reduced by 19 percent.

4. Try and stick to the exercise guidelines

It’s recommended that older adults do at least 30 minutes of moderate intensity physical activity on most, preferably all, days. If 30 minutes seems too much to you, don’t worry, as some activity, however light, is better for your health than none at all. This could be walking around the block, doing some gardening, or even playing some backyard cricket.

5. Don’t be afraid to ask for help

Not too sure where to start when it comes to exercising? No worries! Speak to an Accredited Exercise Physiologist. Basically, an exercise physiologist specialises in designing and delivering safe and effective exercise programs for all populations. Having a chat with one before undertaking any exercise is a smart move.

6. Put the pedal to the metal

Cycling is mainly an aerobic activity, which means that your heart, blood vessels and lungs all get a workout. You will breathe deeper, sweat and experience increased body temperature, which will improve your overall fitness level.

7. Take the stairs

Stair climbing burns more calories than a traditional walk and increases your chance to achieve weight loss. It can help to improve your energy, increase the function of your immune system and lower your risk for diabetes, high blood pressure, osteoporosis and heart disease.

8. Keep the weights on

No equipment, no worries. Bodyweight exercises like squats, push-ups, or step ups will help to increase muscle tone, maintain sound strength, build bone density, maintain a healthy weight, optimize metabolic function, and reduce the risk of injury, falls and fatigue. It is recommended a minimum of two sessions per week be conducted to achieve the benefits of this training.

9. Resistance is key

Resistance training is one of the most effective ways to maintain muscle mass as we age. There’s a wide range of benefits of engaging in resistance training, and we listed 22 of them here.

10. Keep it social

A social exercise group class may not immediately ease your arthritis or make your shoulder range amazing but if you have a good time doing it, you’ll feel better. Feeling better means you’ll be more likely to go back again to help kick start those health benefits. Even exercising with a buddy can help keep you accountable ensuring you both get your body moving and heart pumping.

strength training older men

11. Just keep swimming

Hydrotherapy is a type of exercise therapy done in a heated pool. It has a wide range of benefits and is used to target and treat a variety of conditions. The use of gentle, controlled movements in warm water (heated up to 31-35 degrees) allows people to steadily progress their range of movement. It’s also a safe, comfortable and often enjoyable environment.

12. Don’t neglect the core

Core strength is more than just working on the six-pack. These muscles support the spine through flexion, extension and rotation, and incorporate the pelvic floor. Learning how to properly engage and activate these muscles daily will help to prevent injury during daily activity, prevent incontinence, boost sexual health, and improve pelvic stability.

13. Don’t forget nutrition

Good nutrition plays a key role in healthy ageing and quality of life, especially when there are many physiological changes associated with the ageing process. When it comes to providing adequate nutrition, making every mouthful count is key, and speaking with an Accredited Practising Dietitian can sometimes be the best option if you have any concerns.

14. Aim for the green

Did you know that simply by playing golf you can extend your life by 5 years in comparison to non-golfers? The research is piling up on the wide range of health benefits you receive from playing golf including improved longevity and cardiovascular fitness, reduced risk of chronic conditions, positive mental health and boosted strength and balance.

15. Stretch in front of the TV

Can’t make it to a gym class or out for a run? Stretch in between your favourite tv show or footy game. Resistance stretching (also known as power band stretching) allows you to increase your range of motion and keeps your body moving correctly.

16. Hold one-ear and stand on one leg

Balance exercises are so important for older men over the age of 55 to help enhance proprioception awareness, coordination, maintain muscle activity and tone, and prevent against falls and the resulting injuries.

17. Try new things

There is no one perfect workout or exercise; everyone is different. There’s a wide selection of exercise or physical activity you can undertake from swimming, dancing, cycling, walking the dog, the list goes on! Creating an exercise habit is difficult, but finding one you enjoy can make it easier to come back to – and more likely you’ll stick to your program.

18. Don’t worry about running giving you bad knees

The reality is that running is hard on your body but that’s why it can impact our health in such profound, positive way. Our body adapts and evolves to physical stress if it is dosed out appropriately and investing some money in the right pair of shoes helps too.

19. Listen to your heart (rate)

Exercise is a great way to keep your heart happy and healthy and it’s a good idea to pay attention to your heart rate during exercise. For adults, moderate intensity exercise is about 50%-65% of your age-predicted heart rate maximum. Your maximum age-predicted heart rate is calculated as follows: Age-predicted HR max = 220 – age. For example, if you’re 50 years old, your maximum HR would be approximately 170 (220 – 50).

20. Remember to take time to recover

Your body won’t recover quite as quickly as it once did when you were younger, so it’s important to take it easy and to allow yourself some recovery time. Whenever we exercise, the body undergoes change to adapt to the stress that we place on it. The by-product of these adaptations can include muscle soreness and fatigue and reduced muscle strength and power. Resting your body is essential by getting plenty of sleep and staying hydrated.

If you need help to start exercising, to just want to learn how to exercise right for your need, talk to your local accredited exercise professional.

To find one near you, click here. 


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