Not surprising, an important conclusion of the AARP study was that older adult training should not be based on age but rather on lifestyle. This is the main factor to consider when creating and/or tailoring their physical activity. Some older adults are active with few or no limitations while others are completely opposite.
Hedging the market
Sandy, if you are searching for ways to remain fit as you age, the advice would be to remain fit. Sounds simplistic, I admit, but this is achieved by adhering to a training regimen that is suited to your physical capabilities. You should be challenging your body while working within your comfort zone.
Don't continue to perform activity that causes pain. Your prescription for exercise is not about being 50, 60 or 70, it's about regularity and addressing the four primary components that support and help maintain a healthy frame and a clear mind. They are:
Cardiovascular conditioning: For many older adults, this includes water-based aerobics-aquatics classes, water walking or low-impact on land -- treadmill, elliptical, etc.
Strength training: Upper- and lower-body resistance work with weights, tubes, bands and bodyweight that challenges the muscles, but does not put joints at risk.
Flexibility: Moving the joints through their full range of motion and including mild stretching after activity when the body is warm.
Stress management: Relaxing the mind as well as the body by making a conscious effort to carve out personal quiet time.
People have a tendency to believe they should do the same training for life. This is the most common misstep because when they realize they can no longer tolerate it, many stop exercising completely.
The reality is we all need to allow for exercise evolution as we age. It can still be challenging, but it needs to leave us feeling better, not worse. Thankfully, you can expect to see more and more exercise variety for Boomers and older adults that will keep you fit and strong.
Cindy Boggs, fitness presenter, author and Activate America director, has been an ACE-certified instructor/trainer since 1989. Send your questions about fitness, training or health to her at YMCA of Kanawha Valley, 100 YMCA Drive, Charleston, WV 25311, or email cindys...@aol.com. Look for Cindy's award-winning fitness advice book, "CindySays ... You Can Find Health in Your Hectic World," at www.cindysays.com, or contact the YMCA at 304-340-3527.