Exercise is life. Well almost. If you take out genetics, exercise is probably the most important thing in maintaining health and youthful vigor. But here’s the rub (not that kind of rub): As Manopause creeps in, we can’t do everything we did in our 20s and 30s. Certainly not as well! But we can learn to do them our way, whether it’s distance running, tennis, weight training, surfing, or rollerblading!
It’s important to listen to your body—aches and pains are good clues that you’re doing that stuff wrong or with more intensity than you should. A 70 year old friend of mine still does power rollerblading, but uses more padding and accepts a slower pace. So the bottom line is to keep doing what you’re doing, but adjust it to the new reality of your body!
If you haven’t been exercising for a while, pick some form of exercise that will keep you interested. If you hate running, don’t. Here are some options:
The best thing about swimming is that it’s suitable for all ages. It works your cardiovascular system and goes easy on your bones and joints. According to a research conducted by the University of Indiana, swimming is something like a fountain of youth. It delays the symptoms of aging like blood pressure and maintains your pulmonary function, blood chemistry, and muscle mass.
When you think about senior men playing a sport, the first sport that comes to your mind is golf. Yes, men, young and old, love to play golf. The best thing about golf – it’s a superb choice of sport for older guys who intend to stay active and fit but have minor age-related physical challenges, like arthritis or reduced muscle mass. The strength required for swinging a golf club and all the walking involved in the game makes it a healthy sport and a great social outlet. And the latest golf technology and equipment make hitting the ball easier with more accuracy, so you spend less time cursing!
Even the men in their 50s have a desire to unleash their inner Roger Federer. The health benefits associated with playing tennis include improved metabolism, low resting heart rate, controlled blood pressure, maintained skeletal integrity, better reaction time, and reduced stress reactivity. This makes playing tennis a complete fitness package.
Biking happens to be one of the most popular sports in the Manopause community. Besides the obvious cardio benefits, it’s easy on the joints. The boredom factor is low—there are beautiful biking trails and courses all around the country. Also,the bike technology continues to improve—they’re lighter, easier to handle, and safer! But, you might want to get some padded bike shorts to protect that delicate area behind the balls—it can get pretty sore with longer distances!
You’ve heard it I’m sure—Yoga isn’t exercise! Au contraire, my friend. One of the most important things to maintain as we age is flexibility. You remember how your grandpa walked with short steps, maybe wobbling a little, and barely able to bend. And he was probably in his 60’s! Yoga combines stretching and strengthening exercises that burn calories and keep your body limber. It also teaches you relaxation and heart rate regulation. There are many levels of intensity, so if you’ve never done it, start slow so you don’t hurt yourself and give it up! Get a comfortable mat and an insulated water bottle to hydrate and give it a go!
The bottom line is: Do something. We are destined to gain 1 pound a year after 40 almost no matter what we do, and the workout that kept us slim before 40 has to be adjusted to burn more calories with less risk. Men want to try to avoid building up core fat, which we tend to do. That’s why you see men with big “beer bellies” and skinny arms and legs—the fat is inside our bellies, surrounding our organs. And that is more dangerous fat.
Studies show that regular exercise will increase muscle tone and bone density, both important in maintaining a healthy immune system. It also helps cardiovascular health and blood pressure control. And, it makes Mr. Winky work better to, so you could save money on the Viagra budget!