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How fit can you (realistically) be at 50?

(53 Posts)
Alsoflamingo Thu 28-Aug-14 20:40:06

So….. Madonna may have dodgy biceps, but no one can deny the woman is fit. I am not 50 yet, but heading in that direction alarmingly fast and wondering what is achievable in terms of fitness/strength/tone etc. I have always been pretty healthy, did gymnastics as a kid, then kick boxing. Still do ballet and yoga. I suppose I'm after inspiration, really. Positive stories. Just picked up a copy of American Vogue because it has an article entitled 'Getting superfit at 46' which appealed to me. Am I in denial? Do we have to just don comfy clothing and do gentle stretching at this stage in life or can we really push it? Having slight mid-life crisis (probably pretty obvious)...

buffersandbumpers Thu 28-Aug-14 20:52:18

You can be as fit as you want to be. Strength training and CV work is almost more important the older you get. And it's never too late.
If you've been doing yoga and Pilates then you're in a really good position to start upping the ante.
Choose something you enjoy and go for it - your body will tell you if it doesn't like something so be prepared to listen to it. Don't use age as an excuse smile

ilovepowerhoop Thu 28-Aug-14 20:58:39

there a gran/grandpa couple that go to my body pump class and there is a woman in her 70's that goes to my powerhoop class (she also goes to aerobics) so I dont think you have give up just yet

mommybunny Thu 28-Aug-14 21:09:48

HI Alsoflamingo, I'm in a similar situation - pushing 50 and not ready for the comfy clothing and gentle stretching. I have made peace (of a sort) with the fact that once I turned 45 my metabolism would never be the same again (not that it was ever a fine-tuned machine, but if I wanted to lose weight it didn't used to require me to subsist on 3 peas a day), so if I didn't want to have to subsist on 3 peas a day and never drink wine again I was going to have to MOVE my body.

Someone once said that in your forties you had to choose between your ass and your face - my face has never been my fortune but it's a helluva lot nicer than my ass and always will be. I was just told today by someone they couldn't believe I was the age I was, and I hear that all the time. If I lost too much weight now my wrinkles would show and I don't want that. Before I turned 45 I thought I had to be a size 10 - now I'm ok (most of the time) with a 12, so long as it's a fit and healthy 12.

I don't know the answer to your question - can you be "superfit" at 50? - but I do think pushing myself, while maintaining realistic expectations and "living life", is the only way to deal with this aging process without losing my sanity and becoming consumed with regret at misspending the little "youth" I have left.


cinnamongreyhound Thu 28-Aug-14 22:45:47

I have friends 50 and above who regularly run marathons. My dh is 48 and power lifts, his weights are heavier now than they ever have been before.

Suzannewithaplan Fri 29-Aug-14 01:34:31

depends what exactly you mean by fit, Im 2 years off 50, I train as hard as I ever did, dont feel Im lacking in energy, strength and cardio vascular fitness as good as ever, I have a few glitches/injuries from my days of very heavy weight training but apart from that I'm as good as new.

Same applies to my OH, he still has a very muscular physique and is the same age as me

Suzannewithaplan Fri 29-Aug-14 01:35:52

use it or lose it
take your pick

Alsoflamingo Fri 29-Aug-14 09:06:48

Superb inspiration all!

The article in American Vogue is seriously hard-core. 46 year old woman with a 6 pack, who plays tennis at a competitive level, runs, cycles, swims, has only 18% body fat - takes a workout with some bloke who trains the likes of Cameron Diaz. Nearly died with exhaustion. Was told that she was fit 'for a civilian', but compared to her, Cameron was a professional athlete. Arguably a bit extreme….

Article says we shld all avoid cycling, lunges, squats etc as create bulky unattractive muscles. Never lift heavy weights - ever. Dance-inspired exercise best. Juice cleanses madness as destroy metabolism which is less likely to crank up again as we get older.

Feel more heartened… Off to gym again tomorrow.

OneLittleToddleTerror Fri 29-Aug-14 09:09:18

There was an instructor at the gym I went to who taught boby combat. She's nearly 60 and way fitter than many of us!

CMOTDibbler Fri 29-Aug-14 09:10:21

When I'm out running, I often see a pink haired lady of 68 who is an age group winner in triathlons. She looks fabulous.
I'm 42, started running last year, done some half marathons, done a couple of triathlons this year, and the women I see who are older than me look great. But I don't think Vogue would approve of any of us grin

LuvDaMorso Fri 29-Aug-14 09:16:09

Bulky muscles! Nonsense, women don't have the right hormones. I am in my forties. I weight train, do lunges, squats, run, do cross fit. I am not bulky.

My GPs were active until they died in their late nineties. Dancing, swimming, gym. That's how I want to end up. My own DF can run a half marathon faster than me and he's in his seventies.

Use it or lose it.

You do "lose it" faster past about 30 and it is harder to get back so you need to be more vigilant about "using it".

BravePotato Fri 29-Aug-14 09:18:55

You can be as fit as you like, I think.

My dad is pushing 80 and cycles an hour every day, is slim and fit. He just never considered not being physically active every day iyswim

Lizzylou Fri 29-Aug-14 09:20:47

When I did Parkrun my main objective was to beat a 65yr old woman, she was a member of a running club. Managed it once! There was also an 80yr old man celebrating his birthday at Parkrun who ran it in 20 minutes shock
I know that I am fitter now at 41 than I ever was in my 20s.

Sleepwhenidie Fri 29-Aug-14 09:23:32

'No heavy weights ever....bulky unattractive muscles' confused. AFAIK Cameron Diaz lifts very heavy weights! And whose definition of attractive?! Statements like that are a real bugbear for me - weight training is possibly the best thing women can do for their health, particularly as they age.

But in answer to your question OP, as fit as you like but I think listening to your body - when things hurt, need rest or certain things aren't working for it - becomes much more important, mainly because if injuries happen they take much longer to recover from. Better IMHO to be consistent and enjoy a good level of fitness than push to absolute limits and put yourself out of the game for weeks/months smile

Sleepwhenidie Fri 29-Aug-14 09:24:49

X post luv!

MrsWolowitz Fri 29-Aug-14 09:28:30

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

QueenofWhatever Fri 29-Aug-14 10:24:46

I'm 44, but want to be like this 54 year old. The picture of her on the beach is great. More than anything, she sounds happy and healthy.

Suzannewithaplan Fri 29-Aug-14 10:55:01

The article in American vogue is not 'seriously hardcore' the advice not to lift is just dumb.
Hardcore people lift heavy! grin
(or have I somehow misunderstood OP? confused )

ItsAllGoingToBeFine Fri 29-Aug-14 10:57:04

Suzannewithaplan Fri 29-Aug-14 11:00:33

If you are starting from a position of being unfit having heretofore led a sedentary life then I'm not sure what is achievable at 50.
I can only speak for myself and I've exercised regularly and consistently since my teens.

Not suggesting it's too late by any means but I think you'd certainly need to build up gradually and make sure you stick with it.

OneLittleToddleTerror Fri 29-Aug-14 11:10:02

If really it's advocating no lifting it's dumb. I used to do body pump but never gained any bulk really. I just looked really lean and fit. That's in my 20s btw. I think I just don't have the build to be bulky.

Alsoflamingo Fri 29-Aug-14 11:22:39

Blimey, Queen, she is quite something…

Agree, I found the weight lifting thing a bit weird. Think they weren't suggesting not weight lifting at all (clearly we need to do weight bearing exercise so we don't all get osteoporosis), but advice from this one particular trainer was that you shld avoid anything heavy as achieve a much nicer, leaner line that way. He said that in his experience women who loads of cycle classes and hard core squat stuff tend to look a bit like quarter backs. Charming! And probably totally depends on your own body type so not applicable to everyone. Not endorsing his view, just reporting what article said and throwing it out there. I am in info sponge mode so keen to hear all views.

I have always exercised so am starting from a good level of fitness, but broke one of my ankles a year ago and it is still not 100% so agree with Sleep about having to be more careful as we get older much as it irks me to admit it

Sleepwhenidie Fri 29-Aug-14 11:47:49

I think if you are a hard core endurance cyclist or focus extensively on lower body strength training then (if you have the type of body that bulks up, which the majority of women don't), then your quads can end up looking disproportionately large in relation to the rest of you. Work your whole body, compound movements etc, this won't be the case. That trainer sounds like Tracy Andersen and her 'women shouldn't lift weights heavier than 3kg' bollocks <grinds teeth and wonders just how heavy her kids are now hmm

Suzannewithaplan Fri 29-Aug-14 11:55:37

Perhaps it is a tactic of the wanna be exercise guru, ie come out with a statement which will polarize opinion and hope to gain a following from those who want to align themselves with your view?

HazleNutt Sun 31-Aug-14 18:51:45

I know a Tae Bo instructor, she's 54. The woman is pure muscle and can do one-handed push-ups.

Oh and yes, the "no weights" advice is total BS.

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