Staying Fit when you are 60+ By Tony DeFrancisco

Anyone can tell you, the older you get, the harder it is to stay in shape and God forbid if you have let yourself go, getting back into shape can seem an impossibility.

Some people feel that there is an age limit on keeping fit. I hear it all the time:

* You still lifting weights?”

*You still workout?”

“You still taking food supplements?”

My answer to all the above is always an emphatic YES! And I usually reply with:

“Do you still shower everyday?”

“Do you still brush your teeth everyday?”

People many times look at me like I am eating spiders or something. Exercise, good nutrition and supplementation should be a daily routine like your daily hygiene duties.

In fact, as you get older, it is even more important. Miss a workout. Let your diet go and it ever harder to get back on track.

I’m 64 years old and still strive to workout at least 3-4 times per week and take supplements every day.

When you get older, especially past the big 6-0 get ready for some changes and take a different approach to  your training.  Recovery does take longer so it more necessary than ever to listen to your body. If you are excessively sore, take a few days off or change your exercise regime. If you are too sore to lift weights, try swimming or cycle on the lifecyle. The treadmill is one of my favorites, and even though low impact, can cause a sore back, knees and feet especially when you go for 40 mins to an hour as I do.

Warmups are more critical than ever. My favorite mantra has always been,

“”If you don’t have time to warmup, you don’t have time to workout.”

Especially when using weights, start extremely light with a weight you can lift 10-12 reps very easily.

Stretching before and inbetween sets is also vital. Stretch the shoulders and chest inbetween bench presses and other chest exercises. Stretch your thighs and hamstrings before and inbetween leg exercises.  Do full range of motion exercises, going from a complete extension to a complete contraction. No partial moves unless they are done at the end of a set as in burns and along with full range movements.

Stretching exercises should be done slowly, never bob into a stretch.  You should also stretch on your days off from training. Will help facilitate recovery.

Cardio exercise is especially vital as we age. To me the best cardio exercises are walking on a treadmill doing interval training. That is, I raise my heart rate to a high but safe level for my age but increasing the incline and speed of the treadmill, hold it for three minutes or so and then bring it back down by lowering the height of the treadmill and dropping the speed untill my heart rate drops. I stay at this level for 5 mins or so and then raise my heart rate again. I do this repeatedly for 40 mins to 1 hour.

CAUTION: Always be sure to taper off from the treadmill and bring your heart rate down to a very low rate before engaging in any other exercise.

The lifecycle can be handled in a similiar way. Start off slow and easy and increase the resistance untill  you are really peddling. Monitor and watch your heart rate carefully keeping it at a high but safe rate for your age. Use interval training and taper off.

I created what I call the “Ironman Routine” not to be confused with the competition by the same name. In my routine I go from one aerobic exercise to another non stop for an hour and a half. I start with the treadmill for 40 mins then go to the seated rower for 20 mins, then to the lifecycle for 30 mins and finish off with the stair stepper for however long I can stand it. As mentioned above, be sure to lower your heart rate before going to the next exercise. You don’t want to keep your heart rate high for an hour and  half non stop. Taper off at the end of each exercise. The important thing is time. Go for an hour and half non stop. But watch your heart rate and work up to this over time. Start off with whatever is comfortable. No weekend warriors here. please.

The next step is nutrition. Eat balanced meals with lots of veggies include fruits. Choose lean meats like chicken and other lean high protein foods like fish. And drink at least 8 glasses of water per day. Buy bottled water. By now everyone should know this.

Supplements are vital. Don’t think you can get all the nutrition you need from regular foods. A good high protein shake is vital either as a meal replacement or as a supplement.  Be wary of some products being sold as meal replacements. Some are just cheap dried milk with artificial sweeteners. The one I use contains whey protein, is packed with vitamins and minerals and contains herbs and can be mixed with water.

Many people use meal replacements that are mixed with milk and many of those same people have allergies to milk. When they have adverse reactions, they feel they can’t use meal replacements. Not so. They can’t use meal replacements that require the use of milk. The one I use can be mixed with water and tastes like a delicious, frothy shake.

The product I use also contains enzymes to h elp break down the protein in the shake. This is another problem area for many people. Also, the product I recommend contains essential oils and up to 85% of the daily requirement for trace minerals and vitamins. This is truly a meal replacement. It is a shake that feeds like a steak only without the fat and calories and contains as many minerals as a huge salad.  Plus fiber and carbs. It is a complete meal.  Be wary of meal replacements that are just high protein or just high carb/fiber. You need a balance.

As you pass the big 6-0 and even before, digestants are essential. Besides the shake, I also use digestants to  help break down and assimiliate nutrition from the regular foods I eat. By the way, females past age 40 especially if they had multiple pregnancies really have a storng need for digestants. Their bodies are not producing enzymes.

A good  vitamin and mineral supplement is also vital. Notice I said good. Like shakes, many supplements are not that good, just low quality stuff using cheap ingredients. Be careful what you use.

Another factor is utilization. Because of prior eating habits, many people are not absorbing nutrients from the foods we eat. Inside our bodies are little finger like  protrusions called “villi”. Over time the villi gets clogged and our bodies do not absorb the good quality nutrients we eat. Therefore we need a good cleansing.

It has been said that a 40 year old is storing up to 25 lbs of undigested red meat in our colons. What do you think a 60 year old may be storing? And what do you think is happening inside our bodies with all of that stored junk?

I am using a special product that provides soluable fiber and cleanses the colon removing all of that undigested junk and other toxins stored in the body. Just eating high fiber foods won’t do the job. You need soluable fiber that scrubs the colon and intestinal system.

These simple tips will make a huge difference in how you feel. Use them.

Anthony DeFrancisco is a weight control consultant and fitness coach. He has been in physical culture since 1964. Competed successfully in powerlifting. Entered over 100 competitions, Won 80 events including the YMCA Nationals and the AAU North American Championships.  He still trains today at 64 years of age and maintains his enthusiasm for health, fitness and wellness.


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