At 55, I love to be active and compete when I can. As many of you know, I enjoy running trails, being on my mountain bike, hiking mountains, and just being outside enjoying nature when I can. The beautiful thing is, there are women out there in their 60’s and 70’s, doing the same thing, and kicking my ass. Yep, they remind me every day that we don’t have to stop being active just because we are getting older. The secret is to understand and practice the fine art of recovery!
Today I want to share my five favorite tips to help you train smarter and recover harder. As an active boomer, it takes our bodies a little longer to recover from a big day of effort. I’m not saying cut back on the energy output; I am saying, take the time to recover so that you can push hard again the next time.
Here are my five tips to keeping you healthy and fit as you own your ‘active’ boomer status!
Sport Specific Training
Learn to train smarter, not harder. If you want to be a better hiker, hike more. If you’re going to be a better cyclist, cycle more. If you’re going to compete at the senior track and field event, train for your race.
Have a plan for your training session, push hard, stay focused, and stick to your workout plan. And then, when you’re done, you’re done. Don’t do more, time after time, that will lead to injuries, fatigue, and possible illness from being run down.
Be patient with your training program and trust that it will deliver!
Flexibility and mobility are essential for an active body, especially an older body. Create a 20-minute, full-body routine that you can do every day. Use it as a post-workout cooldown, a warm-up to your walk, run, workout, etc., and on your active recovery days. A little bit of stretching every day goes further than one or two big days of yoga or stretch class.
Consistency is key.
Keep your diet clean, eat foods your body needs, and craves for fuel. Focus on veggies, fruit, healthy fats (examples: avocado, olive oil), lean protein, nuts, seeds, legumes, and whole grains. If you listen to your body, it will tell you what it needs.
Avoid packaged and processed foods, sugar, and limit your alcohol intake.
Learn to lean toward being an intuitive eater who enjoys food vs. following a strict and restrictive diet without much wiggle room. You need to fuel your active body with enough vitamins, minerals, and nutrients to keep performing day after day.
A healthy nutrition program also includes hydration. Stay hydrated before, after, and during your workouts. Water is best, and if you need a little flavor, add citrus, mint, or cucumber.
A good night of sleep is where the magic happens. I can’t say this enough. Give your body the time it needs to rest, recover, repair, and rejuvenate. Aim for 7-9 hours of sleep every night.
If you can’t get at least 7 hours each night, consider a nap. A quick nap can do wonders!
If that doesn’t work, perhaps you need to consider a day off from your workout program to let your body recover properly.
Active Recovery Day
An active recovery day(s) is your easy day; however, it’s not a couch potato day. Go for a gentle stroll with a friend or take an easy yoga class. Don’t push yourself, physically or mentally; your goal is to have fun, move your body, and keep it loose and limber.
If you do your active recovery day(s) correctly, you will be antsy for the next day’s workout!
Think about the long goal and not just about today. The right recovery today leads to a successful race day performance down the road. The critical thing to remember is that we want to avoid overtraining.
Overtraining will lead to injuries and possibly illness that can knock you out of the game for weeks at a time.
Create a consistent strategy for bodywork. Keeping your body healthy and active makes a big difference in your performance. Massage, acupuncture, chiropractic, physical therapy, etc. will keep you in the game, pain-free, and moving well.
More often than not, I see active boomers skip this tip, and down the road, they are paying the price with a nagging injury that won’t go away.
If you want to have fun and stay active well into your senior years, don’t skip this tip. Stay healthy and injury-free!
By following these tips, you can stay healthy and fit for years to come. One of my favorite quotes I’d love to share with you:
We don’t stop playing because we grow old;
we grow old because we stop playing.
~ George Bernard Shaw
Are you ready to get started on a fitness program or take your current program to the next level, but don’t know where to start?
Please comment below. I’d love to help, support, and motivate you on starting your new adventure!