The Back Story
If you want to be awesome after age 50, you have to be healthy and fit.
Here's what you want (I think):
Knowing that, here's the health and fitness goals you want to achieve:
- Don't Die Early (from one of the Big 4; Heart Disease, Cancer, Stroke or Diabetes)
- Maintain Independence (strength, energy, mobility, balance, conditioning, etc.). Will you wipe your own ass on your last day? Sorry for the visual, but that's a goal of mine. I don't want to put my kids through watching me slowly die.
- Brain Health. Maintain cognitive ability. Getting dementia is not just bad luck. There is a lot you can do to promote brain health and much of it also promotes cardiovascular health. A two-fer.
So, here's Rule #1 for Health and Fitness After Age 50
Rule 1: Lift Heavy Things
Now first, heavy is a relative thing. What I mean is that you need to engage in some form of resistance training (and there are many ways to do this) with enough intensity to break down muscle fiber and increase your strength.
Strength solves all problems.
Maintaining independence is all about building (or rebuilding muscle mass).
Here's the message I want you to take away.
Building muscle, getting stronger, engaging in some type of resistance training is not a nice thing to do. It's not "you should do it". It's a must do. It's the most important aspect to your overall conditioning program.
Walking is great. Biking is wonderful. Playing golf is fun. It just ain't enough. And it's not even close.
So Rule #1 is to actively combat sarcopenia ('cause it is happening to you) by lifting heavy things.
A corollary to Rule #1 is:
Carry Stuff Around
This is one way to Lift Heavy Things.
Carry things in your hands while walking. Hoist them onto your shoulder and move around. Hug them to your chest. Push a wheelbarrow full of dirt. Drag a tire across the ground. There are many ways to "move under load" which is a functional application of Lift Heavy Things.
Why Get Strong?
You want to be a fun grandparent?
Better be able to carry a young child without getting hurt or sucking wind.
And get down on the ground, crawl around and then easily get back up again.
If you can't do that, you ain't no fun.
Remember, Strength Solves All Problems.