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Help! I'm trapped inside a 53 year old body!
Old 11-06-2007, 03:18 PM   #1
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Help! I'm trapped inside a 53 year old body!

What should a 50+ body feel like? (No comments from the peanut gallery!)

I do understand that aging can take some toll on the body and that things which were easy/quicker/more flexible twenty years earlier may not be quite so anymore. But lately I've been seeing a decrease in my endurance just doing three miles of pretty quick (15 minute mile) walking. The weather here has gotten cooler, so it's actually more conducive to walking. I have no health problems, eat very well, and exercise (walking or stationery bike) daily. DH is feeling it too. We aren't interested in doing the Appalachian Trail or climbing the Swiss Alps, but now we are beginning to wonder if we can do strenuous four mile hiking! It's not that I expect to live forever or feel exactly the way I did when much younger, but should the fifties really feel appreciably different than the forties ('specially if 50 is the new 40!)?

I know---only a Baby Boomer could be asking this! Fifty years ago, no one would even be questioning not having a lot of stamina when they were 53!
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Old 11-06-2007, 03:34 PM   #2
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Well, I'm no expert but today I'm sick and the ER forum is one of my entertainments so I have lots to say on many topics! IMHO, as we get older we have to work harder to maintain the ole bod.

I wanted to have more energy hiking the mountains so last year I started a vigorous hill climbing regime, plus doing intervals on the elliptical at the gym. Also, weight training to maintain the muscle mass. The result? By spring, LOTS more stamana. I think the same is true for anyone, any age, but at our stage of life we have to be more deliberate about it.

Have you ever heard of Jack LaLanne, the godfather of fitness? Born in 1914 and still fit. The Official Jack La Lanne World Wide Web Site
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Old 11-06-2007, 03:45 PM   #3
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I hope that's supposed to be 3 miles an hour, because "a mile an hour" isn't quick at all!

I don't think you should be seeing a noticeable decrease in endurance if you've been walking regularly. Maybe you need a couple days of rest, or maybe you're a bit under the weather, or you may just be at a plateau you need to break through; but if you continue to see your endurance decrease it might be worth seeing a doctor. Like you say, with age you'll lose some flexibility, strength, etc. but it should be a pretty gradual fall off if you're still active. If you were to keep track of your time I'm guessing that you might find yourself walking a bit slower time (can't even guess how much), but not really feeling anymore sapped of energy.

Now if you did a lot less working out this summer in the heat, and are trying to get back to where you were in the spring now, it wouldn't surprise me that it's taking you longer to get back up to the same endurance.

Have you put on weight recently? Dragging around extra pounds is tiring.

Have you changed what/when you eat before your walks? Maybe you're just running out of fuel.

My trail running club just put on a 100 mile race on a fairly rigorous trail this weekend. I had other things going on and am not up to doing a 100 miler (yet). Of the 20 finishers, the median age was 46. The top 5 were 46-53. The oldest finisher was 58. I think this was his first 100 mile finish. Lots of people are doing some incredible endurance feats into their 50s and well beyond.
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Old 11-06-2007, 05:58 PM   #4
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The fifties shouldn't whack you too hard absent some particular problem. But you do need to exercise regularly. If you slack off a few weeks you will feel it - although you can get back to normal pretty quickly.
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Old 11-06-2007, 06:09 PM   #5
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Turned 50 this past year. If I miss the gym, the slide in strength and endurance is quicker and the recovery back to baseline is slower. Other noticeable changes include slower reaction times, less flexibility and aches and pains take longer to heal and I need work around them more gently. But, still do advanced step classes and weight lifting. I don't run well - never did, but this past spring checked it out and can still do a mile in the same bad time I used.
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Old 11-06-2007, 06:28 PM   #6
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What should a 50+ body feel like? (No comments from the peanut gallery!)
Rich will no doubt be by shortly (he's putting on his exam gloves), but in the meantime take a look at this post on "Younger Next Year":
"Geezers"

Barring undiagnosed cardiovascular disease, it's a daily battle to fight back.
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Old 11-06-2007, 06:35 PM   #7
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Windsurf posted a link to 70 year-old Art De Vany a while back:

Art De Vany

Definitely worth checking out his writings.
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Old 11-06-2007, 07:11 PM   #8
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I think it may take longer to build up to a given level of exertion, or else maybe I am being easier on myself!

Start at whatever level you are at right now, work out consistently, and gradually build up from there. Let your body tell you when you can do more. Earlier this year I found out that little ol' unathletic me, at 59, can lift heavier weights than a lot of the younger women at my gym. All it takes is to keep at it. And do you think I was beaming with pride when I found this out? You're right!! I was!! It probably took me a lot longer to build up to that than it took the younger women, though.

Of course it's easy to preach - - I'm trying to get back to my habit of going to the gym more often.

I have also found that extended stretching at the stretching station at my gym is HUGELY helpful to me. What I thought was bad arthritis and sciatica was just tight tissues, I guess, because stretching really helps.
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Old 11-06-2007, 07:13 PM   #9
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I hope that's supposed to be 3 miles an hour, because "a mile an hour" isn't quick at all!
I believe she said a 15 minute mile, which is 4 mph.

ha
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Old 11-06-2007, 09:09 PM   #10
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My mid-fifties is where I began to notice a significant decline in my physical abilities, especially endurance. 62 now, and further decline is evident. Although I can still walk just as far as I could at 55, I can no longer do it at 4+ mph any more for any significant length of time. My physical losses are what I dislike the most about the aging process.....
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Old 11-06-2007, 10:01 PM   #11
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I believe she said a 15 minute mile, which is 4 mph.

ha
Before the edit the post said a mile an hour. Now I can't edit mine to remove the reference.
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Old 11-06-2007, 10:03 PM   #12
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Turned 50 this past year. If I miss the gym, the slide in strength and endurance is quicker and the recovery back to baseline is slower. Other noticeable changes include slower reaction times, less flexibility and aches and pains take longer to heal and I need work around them more gently. But, still do advanced step classes and weight lifting. I don't run well - never did, but this past spring checked it out and can still do a mile in the same bad time I used.
I turned 50 this year but I'm in denial.

The only reason why my 10k time is slower than it was 20 years ago is that I'm out-of-shape, over-weight and recovering from injuries.

Being over-the-hill has nothing to do with it and that's my story and I'm sticking to it.

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Old 11-06-2007, 10:54 PM   #13
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I'm in the low 50's. I've been a regular at the gym for more than a decade. I'd been sliding on how much weight I could do without injury. I found that four short sessions with a trainer recently (I shared him with two other people so it didn't cost too much) made a huge difference. This guy showed me how to do things differently now that I'm a bit more rickety. There are noticeable improvements in only a month.
Although my creaky knees have never allowed running for any distance, I found my biking and stairstepping capacity improved dramatically when I added wind sprints.
Hiring a trainer for your body is like getting a tuneup for your car! Oops - do they still tune up cars?
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Old 11-06-2007, 11:20 PM   #14
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My mid-fifties is where I began to notice a significant decline in my physical abilities, especially endurance. 62 now, and further decline is evident. Although I can still walk just as far as I could at 55, I can no longer do it at 4+ mph any more for any significant length of time. My physical losses are what I dislike the most about the aging process.....
I'm with you Puzzley.

I'm sixty. Both my canoeing partner and I noticed a loss of stamina beginning in our mid fifties. I retired at fiftyeight and have been focusing cash and time on my favorite outdoor activities because I can feel the end coming.

Three years ago, we did a week long fly in and paddle out canoe trip in Quetico Park. A great adventure and we made it OK. But today I doubt if we'd put ourselves in harms way like that again due to deterioration of our physical abilities.

So, time to schedule all those activities requiring physical strenth and stamina before they aren't fun anymore!
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Old 11-06-2007, 11:41 PM   #15
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grandpa played about 5 hours or more of tennis almost every day of his life all the way into his 70s and even through our very hot florida summers. the only thing that slowed him was alzheimer's and that didn't even take his body at first but his mind. we eventually had to remove him from the courts because he was stealing everyone's rackets and balls. bad grandpa.

but i definitely notice a difference in my body from 10 years ago. not in endurance but in flexability (and i know i need to learn stretching, yoga and the like) and also in--not so much strength but in--what stresses the body can handle. where 10 or 20 years ago i was indestructible, today i'm careful not to push myself too hard in weight training and in swimming so that i don't pull something out of wack.

i'm 50 now and one of my big concerns in planning my next 20 years is what will i be able to do as my body inevitably weakens. should i hike & trek around different countries first or go sailing and snorkling in the islands? should i skip sailing, go treking and then just hop on a trawler later in life? which takes more physical effort? and on top of all that i have to wonder if it is pessimistic to plan my life according to how i will deteriorate?
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Old 11-07-2007, 10:06 AM   #16
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I have been swimming laps daily for the past 30 years and periodically keep track of my time for a one mile swim. The times have lengthened gradually and steadily over that period, despite staying at the same perceived level of exertion. In my 30's I could do a mile in under 30 mins. Now that I've hit 60 it takes me around 35 mins. That's not too steep a decline. My stamina has also declined. Until a few years ago I would generally swim up to 1.5 miles of continuous freestyle. Now, completing one mile is about my limit and some days I only do a half to three quarters of a mile.

I used to enhance my cardio fitness by varying my breathing patterns (e.g. only breathe every 4th or 6th or 8th stroke). Now, due to back problems, I mostly use a snorkel (to reduce twisting). I've also given up flip turns and due to my back I hardly kick at all (causes foot and leg cramps). This puts extra stain on shoulders and elbows which sometimes requires me to take a day or two off.

Overall I think the declines in strength and stamina have been modest. If it weren't for the back problems I think I would still be capable of times close to those in my 30's. I generally end each swim by hyperventilating and swimming 50 yards without a breath. That ability has not suffered over the years.


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Old 11-07-2007, 11:27 AM   #17
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grumpy that's excellent swimming you do. i also don't do flip turns but for a different reason. they make me seasick. i can't go on amusement rides that put me upside down either.

i used to use catalyst hand paddles and zoomer fins to strenthen my stroke & kick but the paddles put too much stress on my shoulders and the fins upset the arthritis in my feet so now i just swim without them.
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Old 11-07-2007, 02:41 PM   #18
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I'm in the low 50's. I've been a regular at the gym for more than a decade. I'd been sliding on how much weight I could do without injury. I found that four short sessions with a trainer recently (I shared him with two other people so it didn't cost too much) made a huge difference. This guy showed me how to do things differently now that I'm a bit more rickety. There are noticeable improvements in only a month.
Although my creaky knees have never allowed running for any distance, I found my biking and stairstepping capacity improved dramatically when I added wind sprints.
Hiring a trainer for your body is like getting a tuneup for your car! Oops - do they still tune up cars?
I am also a gym regular and am tempted to pursue the trainer avenue (at least briefly) but I am not sure which of the trainers really understand aging issues. Can you share some of the tips he or she gave you in addition to the wind sprints?
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Old 11-07-2007, 02:53 PM   #19
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Don, find a certified trainer. Have an interview with him/her and ask specifically about issues related to aging. Strength and Conditioning coaches are worth the money in my experience, but don't waste time with the "trainers" at the gym, unless they are actually certified. My trainer spends a lot of time doing CE and he knows his stuff, especially nutrition. To look at him, though, he's a meathead bodybuilder!
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Old 11-07-2007, 04:28 PM   #20
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I've been seeing this thread title for the past two days and resisting the temptation to post something about some of us being interested in finding a young(er) 53 year old body to get into...

Nahhhh. Nevermind...
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