In some ways our bodies are like cars – each make and model is a bit different than the next, but nonetheless requires proper stamina to keep things moving.
I ran my first marathon at age 14 and now at 56 maintaining a healthy lifestyle has me feeling more like 36. Most people aren’t running 50+ miles at a time — or ever. The simple act of putting one foot in front of the other can transform you.
As you get older, it can become harder to maintain the same stamina you had when you were younger, so you’ll need to evolve your fitness routine over time. It’s a good idea to consult your doctor about building a personalized fitness program based on your needs. Also:
Making a Commitment:
Something useful for all age groups is to find an event, whether it be a 5K or a series of workout classes to promote stamina, that you can use as an end goal. Just make sure what you are committing to is aligned with your interests.
Raise Your Resistance:
Diversify Your Playlist:
If listening to the same playlist has you getting bored during your workout, try to switch things up by changing genres or even listening to an audiobook. Some of my favorite audiobooks include non-fiction adventure stories.
Listen to Your Body:
Some days you may feel more sore than usual or experience an injury – but don’t be disheartened. Apply ice and heat as appropriate, monitor your pain level and see if you can participate in light workouts to avoid a full stop. This will ease you back into your normal routine once you’ve recovered.
Change Things Up with Cross-Training and Stamina:
Doing too much of the same exercise can put a strain on your joints, so try cross-training stamina exercises instead to maintain a balanced routine.
One of the things I focus on to keep my energy levels up as my fitness routine evolves is food. Just like a car, if you put cheap oil in your engine, it’s not going to run as well. The same goes for the food you put in your body! Eating processed foods – like cereal and bread – can make you feel lethargic, so swap them out for in-season fruits and vegetables.
I happen to live in the San Francisco Bay Area, so I often take advantage of the abundant supply of cold water fish like salmon versus other sources of protein, for instance red meat. Fish that live in cold water tend to have higher levels of omega 3s which help combat inflammation and support joint health. Cutting back on fiber also helps your performance. I typically reduce my fiber intake up to 48 hours before a race to avoid the obvious consequences of a high fiber diet when running.
Taking Care of Your Parents
One of the biggest pieces of advice I can give as someone who helps take care of their parents, is to lead by example. While they are not necessarily at the point in their lives where they can be running ultramarathons like I do, the most pivotal action I take in my role as a caregiver is by creating an environment that allows them to be active.
Help Them Out
I bring my parents with me as much as I can – whether it’s running an errand or traveling for a marathon. It not only gives me the opportunity to spend more time with them, but helps get them out of the house. If you don’t live close enough to your parents to do that, encourage them to do activities that benefit their social lives, too, like golf or joining a running group in their community.
Keep Them Moving
To keep them motivated, I got my parents Fitbit devices. A step counter is more powerful than you think with reminders to move and the ability to interact with the Fitbit community. Plus, you can even set up step challenges as a way to grow closer with one another and support stamina achievements across the entire family. My parents also share their routes, pace and heart rate with me which gives me peace of mind even when I’m not with them.
Sleep is an often neglected, yet extremely important component of holistic health and recovery. I’m a true believer in the fact that tonight’s sleep drives tomorrow’s performance and is just as important as physical activity. I wear my Fitbit Ionic to bed so I can take advantage of its sleep tracking feature which shows me how much time I’ve spent in different sleep stages (Awake, REM, Light, Deep) each night.
So, with this advice, I encourage you to be in the driver’s seat when it comes to your healthy lifestyle by figuring out what routine works best for you and sticking to it. Don’t pay so much attention to the “miles” you’ve accumulated – it’s only a number, just like your age.