When you turn 50, you usually feel like you’re 35. Everything’s easy. But life is changing: top sporting performances at this age were a long time ago. But you can’t do without sport, says fitness coach Jörn Giersberg. You just have to do it right. He explains what needs to be done.
50 is the new 30. Men used to be old from that day, but today they are hip. Grey strands? They look sexy. Career? Everything relaxed. Life expectancy? Still enough time. In 2016, for example, comedian Michael Mittermeier, tennis star Stefan Edberg, actor Christoph Maria Herbst and boxer Mike Tyson will be celebrating their 50th birthday.
“From the age of 50, weight training is much more important than cardio training”.
But those who still want to train at the level of 25 have not understood the lesson of life. Everything has its time – including training. Because the training adrenaline is dwindling as is performance. “Starting from 50 Kraftsport is much more important than Cardiotraining , stresses personal coach and Fitness Coach Jrn Giersberg (www.figurtrainer.de).
The Mittvierziger often works with celebrities and TV stars, as an expert he is often a guest on TV shows. He says: “Training is compulsory at this age”. It depends however on training the correct one: From the 30. year old the body begins to diminish muscle mass. At 50, it reduces by about ten percent per decade of life.” But with targeted, regular training sessions, this value can be significantly reduced.
“Now it is no longer a matter of shaping the six-pack or shaping muscle packs, but of reducing muscle loss in the long term and stabilizing body weight. Men have to accept or, even better, accept the changes in the body.” In addition, physical strength is the most important thing to be able to retrieve performance.
The moderate pace is what counts
He therefore advises against overly ambitious running training: “Too much cardio in principle hinders muscle building or even reduces muscle mass,” he warns. Stretches of about 20 to 40 minutes are the right thing to do at this age at a moderate pace. In addition, one should significantly reduce the intensive stress on the joints during sprinting, very long jogging distances, squash or martial arts.
The reason: “The body no longer regenerates so quickly, and one-sided, wear-inducing stress is exactly the wrong thing to do. It takes much longer than at 20 until stressed tissue recovers or regenerates from injury.” His tip: “Walking is better than jogging, swimming is better than sprinting”. But it depends on how intensively you have trained in the years before: “The question always arises from which point you start”.
Weight training instead of muscle training – for the fitness expert from Oberhausen this is the fine difference between working with a 50-year-old and a 20-year-old. He no longer trains with his clients for special muscles, but with large muscle groups if possible. In this way he wants to avoid overloading and give the still possible muscle build-up a kick. “Pull-ups, push-ups and bench presses are now exactly the right thing. But with more weight and fewer repetitions.”
Breathing and weight
“When you’re 25, you start bench pressing with 60 to 80 kilograms, when you’re 50, 40 to 60 kilograms is the right thing. You need more time to get to 100 percent.” The breaks between sets are also longer.
The problem: If you train until you’re completely flat, you’ll need much longer to recover at 50 than before. First, you have to admit this to yourself and second, you have to include it in your training plan. It is now better to train more often with less intensity than to put the pedal to the metal once a week.
He warns that you have to pay special attention to press breathing: “If you want to achieve too much and don’t breathe properly, it’s dangerous for your heart. Because the blood pressure rises drastically in these seconds. It’s important to breathe out calmly and consciously when under stress! If you can’t do that anymore, reduce the stress.”
Off to the sauna
At 50, correct warming up in any sport is just as important as active regeneration afterwards, in order not to destroy the positive effect with wear and tear. This means that after training you don’t just have to hang out on the sofa, but also go to the sauna, whirlpool or simply take a walk. Jörn Giersberg calls the pleasant part of the exercise “conscious relaxation”.
When you’re 50, you know your body
But 50 has one decisive advantage: Those who have done a lot of sport over the past few years know their body, their weaknesses and how to deal with pain. “It’s no longer a question of training wildly like as a teenager. You look for the right rhythm, the right exercises and the right combination to stay motivated. You find alternatives that fit. If you have pain, you train carefully around it. That works well. Your own experience helps a lot.”
Preventing one-sided training
And if it is a cliché, tennis is not the right sport for 50-year-olds for Giersberg. “It produces an intensive, one-sided load and thus joint wear. The weak half of the body is not challenged, the other is intensively trained. You have to take countermeasures and compensate the one-sidedness.” He recommends: “Do weight training for the entire upper body and both arms – or go swimming regularly.
Professional recommends swimming
For the fitness professional Giersberg the way into the water is the right one anyway: “The optimal combination for fitness over 50 is strength sports with swimming – or strength sports with rowing. One trains thereby perseverance, strength and mobility, connects load and discharge – and all that without joint wear with intensive, round movements. In addition he has three further tips for fitness: “Eat moderately, eat healthily and avoid excess during sport”.
A plea for the break
People who pause, lose, are often called among athletes. Wrong. No best time without rest, no performance without breaks. Achim-achilles.de calls five good reasons, why pausing with the sport is healthy and even the Fitness improves.
Breaks make fit
For each training or learning stimulus applies: Only the connection with recovery breaks makes better, faster, stronger, more persevering. Those who challenge their bodies add microtraumas to their muscles, tendons and ligaments – and these heal best in peace, writes Doc Matthias Marquardt in his “Laufbibel”.
Who denies its body this peace, drills itself by over-training into the cellar. Pain and injuries are the result. Fitness takes time, says sports scientist Joachim Auer: “The body initially needs around six to eight weeks to adapt to the new training. So: breaks are not a break from training, but part of training.
Sleeping strengthens the muscles
According to the renowned sleep researcher Jürgen Zulley, sleep should be almost as important as training for successful athletes. “It strengthens muscle strength, improves our reaction speed and optimises our movement sequences. Sleeping also improves our health in general”.
Even if in the western world sleeping is rather assigned to lazybones, the impression of sleeping is deceiving. “We consume just as much energy during sleep as we do during waking hours,” says Zulley. The body seals up the bulkheads, so to speak, and takes time to clean up and repair. And that’s what you should give it. Even at noon. Otherwise the house will break down at some point.