It’s that time of year again, when the fun and joys of Christmas and the New Year festivities are over, and perhaps you are planning for a new approach to life for the coming year.
Such things are normally called ‘resolutions’, but I’ve found that anything you have resolved to do is easily broken, often in a few days, and once broken – even a little bit, is too easy to totally jettison.
Far better to have a few guidelines to try to followRELATED: RECOMMENDED PLANS FOR YOU
If you slip a bit off course, then you can resume your following of the guidelines, either fully or to some extent, without feeling the wagon has disappeared into the setting sun for another year without you on board!
Nowhere is this more true than in my specialist subject, which is fitness in the over 50’s.
At age 50, I was – and I don’t like the word, but it is technically correct – obese, and heading for some major medical nasties. But in the next four years, I lost around a third of my bodyweight in fat, and increased my fitness levels significantly.
And I have kept the body fat off and improved a bit further on the fitness scale, for the years that followed right up to my current age of 58.
I’m now keen to help anyone, especially those like me in the better half of their first century, to both increase their fitness levels and reduce their fatness levels.
You can use as these as guidelines, but in this first article of 2016 let me give you just one sentence as my top guideline and recommendation – Do more of the good things for your body, and fewer of the bad things.
No-one actually reaches the glorious half-century without some knowledge of what the good things are and what the bad things are.
Here’s a little test
Pizza or tuna salad?
Chocolate cake or fresh fruit?
Orange juice or red wine?
Walking up an escalator or riding it standing?
Driving to the burger-and-fries drive-through or walking to the greengrocers and butchers?
Not exactly difficult, at our age, to know the correct choice at this level. (Except perhaps the middle one – it was the red wine, not orange juice, that gets my thumbs-up).
So my number one guideline is really to consider your actions – especially in the movement and eating & drinking areas – and decide if what you are about to do as an action really is one of the good things for your body, or the opposite.
Try to do the right thing as often as you can
Tied to this is a little bit of coming to terms with the fact that you have responsibility for the choices you make in these areas.
I’ve found it’s very easy to let your decision making slip away somehow, especially in a group of people, and by some level of peer pressure make a choice which is against your new guidelines.
It’s going to be tough to select a different option either from ones you have chosen regularly before, or from the ones being taken by others around you – but New Year is probably the easiest time to make such a choice and be able to explain the new you that you are working towards – should anyone around start to criticise your selected route.
And since these aren’t weight loss resolutions but a guideline, feel free to break it if you have reasoned it through and decided to go against the guideline on special occasions.
But don’t go against it on habit or as a default action; logic it out and if the situation merits it, leave the guideline behind for that occasion. But don’t have too many of these exceptional instances – come back to following the guideline after the special event.
Forget the number recommendations
Just think about what is best for your body and try to choose the best option as often as you can.
If you feel like some choc digestives, what is better – two of them or four? One or two?
And what’s better than that?
Of course, there’s lots more to my suggested fitness approach than just this – but just try to follow this one guideline, for as much of the time as possible, and you will make significant progress, I assure you.
If you find this all a bit easy and want to go further than this, go ahead – but it’s important not to go overboard on the exercise front too much, too soon.
If you want to join a gym, do so – and if you do, seek out the advice of a personal trainer; any good one will conduct an assessment of your current condition, your goals and will create a plan to help you achieve the objectives you have.
Or maybe you feel like taking up jogging or running; again, take some advice – and don’t leap into any substantial exercise programme unguided. It’s very easy to end up drained and uninspired, or worse, injured – without some constructive comments on the way.
More tips to come..
If you’d rather not get some one-to-one advice, then the good news is I’ll be your personal trainer and advisor on nutrition for the next few weeks – I may not have your exact requirements to hand, but I’ll give some nutrition, movement and lifestyle tips that would benefit everybody and, with a bit of fine tuning on your part, will benefit you in particular.
Chris Zaremba of Fitness Over Fifty is a fitness consultant and a personal trainer – both face-to-face and on-line, specialising in the over 50’s. He follows his own advice and is the current Miami Pro World Champion Muscle Model and Fitness Model for the over 50’s. He writes regularly for us, and always welcomes comments and questions.
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