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Getting Fit at Fifty and Beyond

What if you used to be really fit and now you're not? What if, as the years have gone by, you've added a couple of pounds here and there, and you suddenly notice you're 30 pounds heavier than you were at your 10th high school reunion? Or, what if you've never enjoyed the idea of exercising, exercise was never part of your world-view, but you're not feeling as good as you'd like to feel and think that exercise might help improve your overall health and sense of well-being?

Many people want to get fit or want to regain a former level of fitness for a variety of considerations, including the above scenarios.1,2 But most of us need guidance in the process of getting fit. We need information and even instruction on what to do and how to do it. For example, it would be a serious mistake for someone older than 50, and even older than 40, to simply go out and try to run 4 miles if he had never run before. Muscle strains, shin splints, or even a stress fracture of one of the bones in the foot would be a likely and unwanted result. Similarly, going to the gym and trying to "work heavy" would assuredly create various problems for an out-of-shape person who wanted to "get fit" as quickly as possible. The injured tendons and sprained ligaments resulting from trying to rush would set back your hoped-for progress by at least four to six weeks, further delaying achievement of improved health.

The best way to get fit or return to fitness after a long period of inactivity is to start slowly, progress in small increments, and gain an authentic, long-lasting level of fitness over months and years. Being a smart exerciser means not doing too much too soon, in other words, respecting your body's capabilities. Also, smart exercise involves engaging in a blend of activities, usually on alternating days. Persons who only bike or run and persons who only lift weights will never be as healthy and fit as those who do both aerobic activity and strength training.3 Developing a two-week schedule will provide a thorough, balanced fitness program. In week A you do aerobic exercise (walking, running, biking, swimming laps) on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. You do strength training on Tuesday and Thursday. In week B you reverse activities, doing strength training Monday, Wednesday, and Friday and aerobic exercise on Tuesday and Thursday. This alternating pattern ensures you are getting the full benefit of your valuable time spent exercising.

It is important to remember that what works for you, works for you. Each of us needs to find his or her best way forward. Some methods of exercise will be experienced as intuitive and enjoyable. Others will be experienced as the opposite. You probably won't want to continue any of the latter. For example, the exercise program suggested by your friend may not be effective for your physical makeup and may even be harmful. Your chiropractor is an expert in healthy exercise and will be able to recommend fitness activities that will be right for you.

1Johanssen NM, et al: Categorical analysis of the impact of aerobic and resistance exercise training, alone and in combination, on cardiorespiratory fitness levels in patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus: results from the HART-D study. Diabetes Care 2013 July 22 [Epub ahead of print]

2Stanton R, el al: Is cardiovascular or resistance exercise better to treat patients with depression? A narrative review. Issues Ment Health Nurs 34(7):531-538, 2013

3Lorenz D, Reiman M: The role and implementation of eccentric training in athletic rehabilitation: tendinopathy, hamstring strains, and acl reconstruction. Int J Sports Phys Ther 6(1):27-44, 2011

Multicare Health Clinic

3930 STADIUM DR
SIOUX CITY, IA 51106
Phone Number: (712) 276-4325

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Office Hours

Monday:

8:30 am-6:30 pm

Tuesday:

8:30 am-6:30 pm

Wednesday:

8:30 am-6:30 pm

Thursday:

8:30 am-6:30 pm

Friday:

8:30 am-2:00 pm

Saturday:

Closed

Sunday:

Closed

Testimonials

  • "After my knee surgery I was asked where I wanted to do my physical therapy, I chose Multicare Health Clinic and I'm so glad I did! Dr. Steve and the therapy assistants (Sara and Megan) are fabulous! They know what they're doing and they all really seemed to care about my recovery. I'm feeling fantastic! I'll definitely go back again whenever I need therapy or adjustments."
    Sheri J.
  • "I leave here feeling confident that I have the resources to manage my pain and live normally, and that's priceless."
    Alycen V.
  • "I wasn't able to use my hand the way I should. After working with Dr. Sneller and the physical therapy team, I can use my hand again."
    Henry H.
  • "Dr. Sneller helped. I haven't been feeling dizzy anymore."
    Belinda B
  • "My company encouraged all of us employees to get screened at Multicare. I didn't know what to expect. It was easy and I learned so much. The orthotics they prescribed really help me to feel more stable and confident at work."
    Jim J.
  • "Being able to present my back pain to three different professions in one place and knowing that they are working together to make me better is very comforting."
    Charlie P.
  • "After my consultatin with the doctors at Multicare Health Clinic, I understand how to address my balance issues."
    Anna A.
  • "I'm now a believer now! I didn't think chiropractic could help my foot problems. But after meeting with Dr. Pistello and Dr. Dave for a few weeks, I'm feeling so much better!"
    Gino G.
  • "My shoulder and neck feel so much better. I now have the knowledge, motivation, desire and tools to keep up the exercises."
    Barb B.
  • "After an accident at work I didn't think I'd ever get relief from my aching shoulder. But, the doctors at Multicare gave me adjustments and physical therapy and now I feel normal again."
    Cliff C.
  • "I'm a runner. When I wasn't able to run due to leg problems, I was devastated. But a consultation at Multicare Health Clinic identified the problem and after some adjustments, stimulation treatments and therapy, I'm running again!"
    Lisa L.
  • "There couldn't be a better physical therapy team in Siouxland! Not only did my knee feel so much better after six weeks, but I feel like I made new friends."
    Karla K.
  • "Not only is my pain level down to zero, but what I'm really thrilled with, is that I have normal feeling in my hands."
    Jill L.
  • "I'm so glad my sister referred me to Multicare! My elbow hasn't felt this good in a long time. Thanks to the great physical therapy team there."
    Ellen E.
  • "I now can go a full week without pain and headaches."
    Luke W.
  • "I wasn't able to use my hand the way I should. After working with Dr. Sneller and the physical therapy team, I can use my hand again."
    Ivy I.
  • "At night my right hand would go painfully numb at least 2-3 times where I could not sleep. Now, I don't have that pain and can get a full night sleep."
    Janet D.