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#1 2018-07-28 21:52:14

Anaconda
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From: Quesnel BC Canada
Registered: 2015-09-29
Posts: 192

Getting fit at 56

I was once so fit that a doctor and a nurse on separate unrelated occasions asked me if I was a professional athlete. That was in my 20's and 30's. After about age 42 I started to let myself go and eventually (this past winter) I ended up a 240 pound flabby lump of laziness. A few months ago I decided it was time to do something about that.

It started pretty simple. Back in February I started walking a little and cut back on chocolate bars and other garbage. I stopped gaining weight and even lost a little. Very slowly at first. Then April the 8th I got my old mountain bike out of the shed and started riding. The first time out I barely made it 3 blocks from my house and back again. It was painful. I figured it's not how far you go at once but how much you do in a day, so I went for a second equally short ride later the same day. After a week of this I was able to ride a reasonable amount and kept at it.

Progress was a bit slow at first but by the end of May I was starting to do a bit longer rides and throwing in some hill climbing. Of the 40 pounds I have now lost, half of that came off in 40 days between May 27 and the first week of July. Wow 1/2 pound per day. I seem to have leveled off at 200 pounds for now and still have some flab around my middle and it seems like the rest is going to take more work.

Ok I did all that with only small changes in diet and much bike riding. Time to step it up a notch. Ordered a home gym yesterday. It should be here in a week or two. At age 56 I'm finding this older body of mine is not responding as quickly to the same kind of exercise as it used to but if I work hard enough I still get results. Not sure why the last bit of flab is so hard to get rid of but I'm working on it.

Oh and I recently tried and failed with quiting smoking. Stayed off it for 9 days and then caved in and bought a pack when I was having a rough day. That was almost a week ago. I'm having another go at quitting when I run out of smokes tonight.

Getting fit when you're getting older is certainly harder than doing it when you are young. Anyone else here gone through something similar?


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#2 2018-07-29 01:57:52

brontosaurusrex
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Registered: 2015-09-29
Posts: 1,748

Re: Getting fit at 56

I did notice that not only sugar, but reducing salt in diet seems to make a difference. Now about fat in belly section, that's a hard one, pushups certainly help, but there are probably limits at what's smart at certain age. It certainly takes months of sports to transform a body (even in 20s).

P.s. I'am a bit on the sugar loving side as well, what  I noticed as nice tech for reducing consumption is to eat a piece of fruit before jumping onto chocolate.

Last edited by brontosaurusrex (2018-07-29 02:05:08)

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#3 2018-07-29 02:03:33

DeepDayze
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From: In Linux Land
Registered: 2017-05-28
Posts: 676

Re: Getting fit at 56

I myself am 54 and stay in shape by going to gym regularly and also eating decently watching salt fat and sugar intake. Weight is at 180lbs currently.  Also I don't smoke or drink that also pays big dividends.

Keep at it you'll get there. Quitting smoking is hard but with willpower and perseverance plus support from family and friends it will go easier.


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#4 2018-07-29 05:49:35

Bearded_Blunder
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Re: Getting fit at 56

I'm hopelessly unfit, but I have started feeling somewhat better since I switched to mostly organic grains and such, after reading an old report about glyphosate finding its way into bread in the UK.

It hasn't given me enough extra energy to decide to quit smoking though, and yeah yeah I know smoking is almost certainly much more dangerous than weedkiller traces.  Sorting myself out is too big a problem to do all at once, so do the easy bits first, later the harder ones might not look insurmountable.


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#5 2018-07-29 05:50:36

MALsPa
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From: albuquerque
Registered: 2016-06-20
Posts: 109

Re: Getting fit at 56

Late 50s here. I made some lifestyle changes over the past several years, and also some diet changes, and managed to just stick with it. Took some time to get myself down to a body weight that I'm happy with. Helps a lot that I don't work at a desk anymore, that my gig keeps me moving all day, and that I'm in a situation where I've been able to go without owning a car for awhile now. I commute to work by bicycle -- it's only about a mile, but still. I don't drink much alcohol anymore; that has helped with the way I eat (I'm not quite a vegetarian, but I don't each much meat, and I try to stay away from processed foods as much as I can), as I definitely ate "heavier" when I drank more. Haven't been doing much working out lately, just walking and a little bike riding, and trying to stay active. I like to say that I'm "keeping it live under 155" -- about 50 lbs. below where I was a few years back.

You know what really woke me up? One day I bought 20 pounds of weights to throw on my dumbbells, and walked home with them, about a mile. My knees were hurting when I got home, and then I thought about how much better my knees might feel all the time if I lost that same amount of weight. That was kind of a mental flashpoint for me.

Anyway, make your changes, go slow with it, think long-term, you'll be fine.

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#6 2018-07-29 06:04:32

hhh
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Re: Getting fit at 56

Almost 54 here. I should get more rest, I should eat better, I should quit smoking and drinking, and I should add some mild weight training or isometrics to my daily routine. Meditation wouldn't hurt, either.

The things that are saving me are cycling (I've always done a lot if it, I'm in love with my fixie ATM, she is a sexy beast), not overeating and not eating junk. Stretching is huge, you must be limber!

And stress! The more you can eliminate, the better. The less you can dwell on what you can't eliminate, the better.

It also helps if you have rocking genes.

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#7 2018-07-29 06:33:08

Bearded_Blunder
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Re: Getting fit at 56

hhh wrote:

It also helps if you have rocking genes.

No such luck, but my border collie does, and he's very good at insisting I get some excercise.


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#8 2018-07-29 07:11:41

hhh
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Re: Getting fit at 56

At BB, what's your height and weight, if I may ask, and whereabouts do you live? Also, the terrain... city, country, suburbia, hilly, mountains, mostly flat?

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#9 2018-07-29 07:31:12

hhh
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Re: Getting fit at 56

The OP is getting fit, the first thing is to move.

Get up, grab a beer and your smokes. Take the trash out and walk around a bit. Sit in a lawn chair and have a smoke.

Get up, walk farther. Put you beer down and try to touch your toes with your legs straight. Hold it there for 30 seconds, at least 15 if the pain is bad, then breath deep and try to go lower for 10 or 20 more. Roll upright while breathing, tucking your hips in first, then rolling your shoulders back with your chin down and finally rolling back your head until you feel your spine align. Repeat if you feel up to it. When you're really good, swing to the right and hold, also to the left.

Eat a Mediterranean or Japanese diet, meaning fresh, simple ingredients with as few processed ingredients as possible. Use unsalted butter instead of margarine. Using olive oil is even better. Easy on the salt. Drink water in small amounts frequently.

Be mindful of your form. How are you sitting and standing, what's your posture? Are you bobbing up and down when you walk? You shouldn't, your head should be level. Mind how you place your feet, don't shuffle or stomp. Stretch often, back, hands, toes, neck, shoulder rolls, everything.

Try to go to bed at the same time every night. This one I can't do ATM, and I feel the difference.

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#10 2018-07-29 08:00:36

hhh
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Re: Getting fit at 56

Smoking, at least don't smoke at work. That's hours of recovery time for your body to start telling you how bad it's making you feel.

Stop smoking inside your house as well and I bet you're down to half a pack in no time.

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#11 2018-07-29 08:19:39

MALsPa
Member
From: albuquerque
Registered: 2016-06-20
Posts: 109

Re: Getting fit at 56

hhh wrote:

The OP is getting fit

No doubt. Dropping 40 lbs, awesome! Well, a good friend of mine, same age as me, he's in a lot better shape than I am, but he says he doesn't even have a scale, just looking in the mirror tells him what he needs to know. Me, I like to step on that scale every morning, but I like his approach, too -- and it obviously works for him!

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#12 2018-07-29 08:35:50

Bearded_Blunder
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Re: Getting fit at 56

hhh wrote:

At BB, what's your height and weight, if I may ask, and whereabouts do you live? Also, the terrain... city, country, suburbia, hilly, mountains, mostly flat?

5' 8" in old money (and yes I remember jammy dodgers at primary school going up from 1d to 1/2p), and about 14 stone last time I checked, which has been a while.  Live in the midlands (UK), terrain would be "council estate / bandit country" a mixture of level-ish and bits you can lean on when you get tired halfway up climbing them.

Last edited by Bearded_Blunder (2018-07-29 08:37:50)


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#13 2018-07-29 13:04:43

brontosaurusrex
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Registered: 2015-09-29
Posts: 1,748

Re: Getting fit at 56

hhh wrote:

Use unsalted butter instead of margarine.

Yeah, actually I quit this two 100% in last year.

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#14 2018-07-29 20:19:48

titan
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Registered: 2015-10-02
Posts: 60

Re: Getting fit at 56

It really depends on what is meant by fitness. For example the ability to ride a bike a bit further or faster while probably beneficial the main objective should be health, defined as freedom from disease. There is growing evidence from science that the low fat/salt mantra along with eat less move more is not science based but more driven by big agri,food and pharma's commercial interests. This official advice has been around for 30+ years and mirrors the exponential rise in obesity, diabetes, CHD and neurological disorders like Alzheimer’s and dementia. The best way to loose weight is diet as is better health. The biggest single cause of modern disease is chronic high insulin levels driven by high blood sugar levels driven by  high carbohydrate consumption.

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#15 2018-07-30 04:23:36

hhh
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Re: Getting fit at 56

titan wrote:

There is growing evidence from science that the low fat/salt mantra along with eat less move more is not science based but more driven by big agri,food and pharma's commercial interests. This official advice has been around for 30+ years and mirrors the exponential rise in obesity, diabetes, CHD and neurological disorders like Alzheimer’s and dementia. The best way to loose weight is diet as is better health. The biggest single cause of modern disease is chronic high insulin levels driven by high blood sugar levels driven by  high carbohydrate consumption.

That's a confusing post, but I'd agree with "eat less carbs".

Note, I haven't mentioned fat, other than processed fat like margarine. Fat consumption does not equal body fat.

But seriously, if your activity level is high enough, you can eat pretty much anything you want to. The trick is to have a different attitude about food. Check out the diet Michael Phelps was on for his Olympic swims.

Personally, without any real evidence, I'd recommend aerobic exercise, stretching, and rest over any dietary concerns other than over eating and over-salting. I bet I could remake that Morgan Spurlock McDonalds documentary, Supersize Me, and use the same diet but do a cross-country fixie ride during it and come up with a dramatically different result.

-edit- What did he do, 30 days? In a year I'll try 45 days with the addition of bananas and coconut milk and report back. I'm in Charleston, SC, I'll shoot for Providence, RI. That's a little over 1,000 miles.

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#16 2018-07-30 04:39:00

hhh
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Re: Getting fit at 56

I want to make this a personal goal, but I'll need a better diet than McDonalds. I'll come up with a menu.

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#17 2018-07-30 07:38:13

dhalgren
Member
Registered: 2015-10-01
Posts: 81

Re: Getting fit at 56

62,light exerise and dog walking... I can almost walk a kilometre now, and that took some effort following doggie. As for food, no special diet. Every diet seems to work out to be wrong, sooner or later, so I eat what I want. Stir fry Chinese style, glorious steak with a good lining of fat, ice cream and chocolate galore. Mmmm, might have to go to the shop now!

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#18 2018-07-30 09:40:00

titan
Member
Registered: 2015-10-02
Posts: 60

Re: Getting fit at 56

hhh wrote:

But seriously, if your activity level is high enough, you can eat pretty much anything you want to. The trick is to have a different attitude about food. Check out the diet Michael Phelps was on for his Olympic swims.

Personally, without any real evidence, I'd recommend aerobic exercise, stretching, and rest over any dietary concerns other than over eating and over-salting.

Health and fitness are often lumped together but they are completely separate. Good health is far more desirable than being fit and that comes primarily from diet. Quite often Calories seem to be the main concern but nutrition should be. 500 Cal from cake is not the same nutritionally as 500 Cal from meat. 65% of Americans are obese with slightly less diabetic or pre diabetic as the saying goes you can't outrun a bad diet.

For most people with restricted time for exercise, body weight pull ups and push ups give the biggest bang for  buck, no equipment needed no gym membership. Doing the exercises to failure will cause the body to produce more mitochondria the cells that actually burn fuel.

Walking is probably better for aerobic improvement than cycling for most people unless you live in the mountains or go out with Lance.

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#19 2018-07-30 20:17:44

Bearded_Blunder
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Re: Getting fit at 56

titan wrote:

65% of Americans are obese with slightly less diabetic or pre diabetic as the saying goes you can't outrun a bad diet.

Most Americans don't do the exercise required to even try outrunning a bad diet, so you can't actually draw that conclusion.


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#20 2018-07-30 20:30:40

titan
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Registered: 2015-10-02
Posts: 60

Re: Getting fit at 56

Exercise is not a requirement for good health.

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#21 2018-07-30 20:55:41

Bearded_Blunder
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Re: Getting fit at 56

Indeed, but it is a requirement to burn off excess calories.. this is simple physics, if you don't trust doctors, ask an engineer.


Blessed is he who expecteth nothing, for he shall not be disappointed...
If there's an obscure or silly way to break it, but you don't know what.. Just ask me

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#22 2018-07-31 02:29:27

hhh
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Registered: 2015-09-17
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Re: Getting fit at 56

titan wrote:

Exercise is not a requirement for good health.

This is false. At best, it's a half-truth. You're flabby but healthy?

Woohoo!!! Look at that blubber fly!

---------

https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-life … t-20048389

https://www.cdc.gov/physicalactivity/ba … /index.htm

https://www.scientificamerican.com/arti … ally-make/

Dude, don't mess with Iceland...

http://icelandmag.is/article/icelanders … an-average

Hold up, did you also disrespect the effectiveness of the bicycle as a means to gaining physical fitness? Screw your Lance Armstrong reference and hold my beer while I get a little Eddy Merckxx on your ass.

The second highest proportion in Europe was in Norway, where 56.8% exercise for more than 2.5 hours, followed by the other Nordic countries, Finland (54.1%), Denmark (53.4%) and Sweden (53.1%). The figures include cycling as a form of transportation to and from work.

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#23 2018-07-31 02:32:43

hhh
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Registered: 2015-09-17
Posts: 7,683
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Re: Getting fit at 56

https://www.bmj.com/content/357/bmj.j1456

https://www.forbes.com/sites/kevinmurna … 55eeaa3e62


Pros vs. Cons of cycling...

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2920084/

@titan, please do not derail this thread any more. You want to argue about my rebuttals? Feel free to open a new thread or Private Message me.

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#24 2018-07-31 03:40:52

MALsPa
Member
From: albuquerque
Registered: 2016-06-20
Posts: 109

Re: Getting fit at 56

I'm no expert on all of this but it does seem to me that exercise and diet are both very important for overall health. I don't do any serious bike riding or serious hiking, and lately I haven't been working out like I used to. Quite simply, I either walk or ride my bike to the places I need to get to (well, I ride the bus sometimes, too). And as I kinda mentioned earlier, I'm on my feet all day at work, lots of physical activity there. I'd rather put it this way: physical activity and diet (instead of saying "exercise and diet").

Also, I've gotten into this thing where I try to "do some work" instead of "working out." Kill two birds with one stone, you know. Then I don't have to take time out of my day to "exercise" because I'm already getting the exercise. Anyway, this is my routine these days, and it's been working for me. Maybe this isn't the ideal approach but it doesn't seem to be such a bad one.

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#25 2018-07-31 07:28:59

johnraff
nullglob
From: Nagoya, Japan
Registered: 2015-09-09
Posts: 5,306
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Re: Getting fit at 56

I'm 68, and certainly don't claim to be "fit" in any physical sense, except that all my body parts still work, and I quite enjoy walking for 2 or 3 hours - but don't do it all that much. At 185cm and 70Kg I tend to look a bit skinny, except have this bulging beer belly. It would be nice to get that down a bit, just for appearance, and being able to wear those old jeans again, but as Bronto said, maybe not easy.

I don't like sports or "exercise" for its own sake too much, but MALsPa's concept of physical activity makes sense. (Agree with Titan that "fitness" tends to get built up into something different.) Living in Japan might have helped - diet and more public transport, which means more walking.

Throwing these out FWIW, some of them taken from accepted doctrine, some just my personal preferences:

Food: don't get hung up on diets, but try to eat a good mixture of all kinds of things, and enjoy it all! That said, hhh's Japanese/Mediterranean approach: fresh vegetables, fish, tofu, cheese, shrimps, beans, seaweed, and meat in moderation. I like spicy food, but probably simple flavouring is better. EG a stirfry with some vegetable like eggplant as the star and ~150g thin sliced meat backing it up, a bit of salt and pepper or soy sauce, garlic maybe...
Avoid cans. Keep them for emergencies. Get to enjoy vegetables - it will happen.

See if you can get food from the area where you live. I know this is pretty hard these days, but check if there are any farmers' markets nearby. Here in Japan the veg. there are usually cheap, though maybe less pretty than what's in the supermarkets.

Chew your food thoroughly before you swallow it. This is good for you in many different ways. Check it out.

Don't skip breakfast, and leave a couple of hours after dinner before you go to bed. Sleeping with a full stomach is a recipe for diabetes apparently.

Sleep: peoples' needs vary - I always tried to get 8 hours, but these days 7 might be enough. Lack of sleep is another hidden route to obesity I seem to remember hearing.

Walk: buying fresh food will force you to get out to the shops more often anyway.


John
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