Fit for life: tips for your 50s

No matter how dedicated or genetically gifted people are, eventually Father Time will catch up to us all, although some fight off old age a lot longer.
In our 50s is when the majority of people really start to notice fitness levels decline.
But as with all stages of life, if you have a healthy lifestyle you can continue to minimize the effects of age.
In your 50s, you can still have the endurance level of a 20-year-old, which really surprises some people.
You just won’t have the strength or jumping ability like you once did.
If you stay at a healthy weight and engage in regular physical activity you won’t notice too big of a difference in day-to-day life, although you won’t be able to do things like take it to the hoop on the basketball court the way you once did.
“The U.S. population is aging and is becoming more obese and sedentary,” Andrew Jackson, PED, from the University of Houston and colleagues write in the Oct. 26 issue of “Archives of Internal Medicine.” “It is well documented that the cardio respiratory fitness of men and women declines with age and that body composition and habitual physical activity are related to cardio respiratory fitness.”
Jackson adds that low fitness levels increase the risk of diseases and interfere with the ability of older adults to function independently.
On a positive note, the results also “showed that being active, keeping a normal BMI, and not smoking were associated with substantially higher levels of cardio respiratory fitness during the adult life span studied,” the researchers say. “Being inactive and having a high body mass index were associated with a lower age at which an individual could be expected to reach threshold cardio respiratory fitness levels associated with substantially higher health risks.
“These data indicate the need for physicians to recommend to their patients the necessity to maintain their weight, engage in regular aerobic exercise, and abstain from smoking,” the researchers say.
To get cardio workouts, exercise reguarly on a treadmill, elliptical machine and/or recumbent bike and also perform stregnth training to keep muscles strong and flexible.
Here are some more tips for your 50s:
* You should be able to do more than 20 sit-ups
* You should be able to do more than 15 pushups.
* In addition to the health screenings mentioned earlier in this series, the 50s are the time when a colonoscopy should start being performed every 10 years.
* People should get checked for sign of osteoporosis, especially women.

At Home Fitness consultant Aaron Dorksen’s blog deals with a variety of fitness topics, ranging from workout tips, motivational ideas and feature stories on how exercise impacts people’s lives. E-mail him with comments, questions or ideas for future blogs at