When I was younger I was always amazed with the 50 year olds at the pool or on the roads. They had a swagger about them and they didn't bother with too much chat. They got to work quickly and worked really hard. I always thought I wanted to be just like them when I'm 50.
I didn't hit 50 in the best of shape. Yes I was fit but I was dealing with some major back pain, had to pull out of a race and just felt like crap most days. I've done some things over the last month to fix that feeling and I can feel I'm back on the road to feeling great. What I've found at 50 is that small things can turn badly much quicker. That was a wake up call for sure and I intend to listen more closely to what my body is telling me. If it says rest, I'm going to rest. If it feels good to go hard I'm going to go hard. I'll admit to getting away with going hard when the body says rest in the past.
With that said here are the 5 things I do every day to make sure I can stay fit at 50 and well past.
- Sleep - Of course, I'm old right. I was talking to my 75 year old uncle the other night. He's always been the one with the most energy. Uncle Fred was the guy. He says, "I go to bed between 7:30 and 8:00pm and wake up at 4:00am without an alarm. If I go to bed at 11:00pm I wake up at 4:00am. I just feel great when I'm getting more sleep" He also told me that the day before he shot his best round of golf on his home course ever. I need to say no more about sleep.
- Wake up routine - Glass of water, Glass of Amino Acids, Good Morning Body Routine taught to me by my friend Chris, Coffee (Bullet Proof if there is a planned workout), Journaling. This generally takes 30 minutes.
- Go Hard - After talking to enough people over the years and reading enough on the subject the older you get the more you need to incorporate some hard efforts. I found this out in my 40's when the more MAF pacing I did the slower I became. An example of going hard is a standard 30 minute swim. 7-10 X 200 yards on 3:30. I get in the pool and the first 200 is my warm up. So I hit the wall in 3:15. I do a kick set which is really hard to do in 3:30 and then I pull a 200. The next 4 - 7 200's are as fast as I can with the goal of each one faster than the previous. The last 200 is cool down. It's short and it's really intense.
- Variety - My goal is to be able to jump into anything I want. So variety is my key. I'm running with the runners, I'm swimming somewhere, pool or ocean. My riding is done with others or it's incorporated into my day. Riding to the store, riding to the pool, riding to work (right now that's not in the cards but it will be soon). I paddle 2-3 days a week, I Mountain Bike (going to need a new bike soon) a day or two a week. Put it all together I'm doing something every day and there's lot's of variety build in.
- Strength - I look at strength long term. I want to be strong for 25-30 more years so I'm taking the approach of doing some strength work daily and doing two key sessions weekly. Daily while walking the dog I'll do body weight squats, I'll do single let lifts on the picnic tables, I'll do box jumps on the picnic table. I may stop in the middle of the day after sitting for a long time and do 15 Burpees. Nothing intense just reminders. The two key sessions right now are all high intensity. I'm sweating heaving and burning muscle.
I'm confident that I will remain fit doing these 5 things. There is a great deal more to FIT than just working out. You have to eat well, have love in your life, continue to want to learn through books or something else and having a happy dog helps too.
It's a good life.....