Wellness Blog

Be Like Gordie: Being Active & Then Some Well Past 60

Posted by Ian D. Ravensdale

May 12, 2017 at 10:55 AM

Some of you may have never heard of Mr. Hockey. Even if that’s true, you’ll almost certainly think similarly that if he was in fact Mr. ‘Hockey’, then he must have come from Canada. Well, Gordie Howe most certainly did come from the country that is - and always will be - the world’s premier ice hockey powerhouse. He hailed from the hockey hotbed of Saskatchewan, and what made him especially noteworthy in addition to his immense skill was the fact that he played his final game of professional hockey in 1980 at the age of 52.

Now most of us who are recreational athletes will be plenty aware of the incredible difference in the levels of competitiveness and the physical demands on the body that go along with playing pro as compared to being the weeknight / weekend warriors we are. So it’s really not a stretch to say that Gordie Howe playing pro at 51 wouldn’t be unlike us playing recreationally at age 65 or more!

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The point here is that it can be done, and that applies to each and every one of you that loves a particular sport or strenuous physical activity that the vast majority of people tend to ‘give up’ years or even decades earlier because – as they typically put it – ‘I’m too old for it now.’

Well, you’re not. Take care of yourself, exercise regularly, eat right, and take a few choice natural supplements and you can be your own Gordie Howe and enjoy competitive sports or physically demanding hobbies well into your 60s and beyond! There are ways to maintain athleticism into old age, and ways to stay active as a senior citizen. Supplementing smartly with highest-quality natural supplements like those offered by Progressive along with lifestyle and activity choices is a great place to start. 

Let’s discuss them, and keep in mind these are general guidelines designed for individuals with no preceding or exacerbating medical conditions. Always use caution, and consult with a physician.

1. Keep Reminding Your Heart You’re Not Quite Done

Much of the complaints older athletic sports-enthusiasts have comes from muscular aches and pains that are much more pronounced than they were decades ago. But this isn’t because the muscles themselves aren’t structurally what they once were. Don’t think that for a minute.

What is the issue is that a decline in the frequency of vigorous exercise results in a decline in the heart’s aerobic capacity. This is the means by which it delivers a sufficient supply of oxygen to the muscles, and any type of drastic decrease in this type of activity after roughly the age of 45 can lead to aerobic / anaerobic capacity declines of up to 50%.

So while you’re body might be telling you that you don’t really ‘feel like it’, the fact of the matter is unless you overrule that inclination fairly regularly you’re going to ‘feel like it’ less and less over time until eventually it’s just too physically taxing to even consider it. Preventing oxidative stress and free radical damage plays a significant role in maintaining the efficiency of all body function, cardio included, and Phytoberry Powder is an excellent supplement for antioxidant support.

2. Go Hard on Your Bones, They Love It!

The common belief is that older athletes are at an increased risk of injury when participating in intense sports or activities. The exact opposite is true, however, so long as that sport or activity is – again – undertaken regularly. A 2014 study published in The Physician and Sports Medicine journal found that regular movement – and notably the repetition of ones common to specific sports or activities – strengthens the bone densities of those bones. Same goes for ligaments and tendons and all other manner of soft tissue that allow joints to bend.

The age old expression ‘use it, or lose it’ is very apropos here, isn’t it? And you know what else is standard? Supplementing with calcium to maintain bone strength in older people. Complete Calcium for Men or Complete Calcium for Women will cover all your supplement needs in this regard 

3. Put in the Time, Even if it’s Not the Time

Not trying to be cryptic here at all. Just suggesting that if you want to – for example (and let’s try a baseball analogy now) – get from home base to first in less than 7 seconds, you’ve got to work on getting to home base in less than 7 seconds even if there’s no one who’s going to be trying to throw you out.

Here it is quite simply. Depending on what your sport or activity of choice entails as far as certain requisite / desirable performance metrics, you should aim for 150 minutes a week of moderate-intensity activity or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity activity related to those metrics, both in the interest of actual being able to meet the performance goal(s) you attach to them AND being able to do so without risking overexertion in doing it. While we're on the topic of pushing your limits, keep in mind that not all multivitamins are created equally and certain ones feature specific ingredients in specific quantities to give you more of what you need to go hard. Progressive Multivitamins for Active Men is one of the better ones around, and a great choice as your daily multivite if you're an especially active man

So, to get back to our example (and we’ll assume you’re not playing in the show) you need to do 60’ sprints over and over again, while limiting rest in between intervals to maximize anaerobic potential. And go ahead – slide in there once or twice!

4. Be Less Frequent With Whole-Body ‘General’ Workouts

This one may be something of a surprise, but many kinesiologists state that as you move into your 50s in particular you might be better suited for focusing your intense workouts to be more sport or activity-specific – and undertaken regularly – while you make your general health and wellness workouts less regular and less intense.

There’s no getting around the fact that you are going to have age-related limits on your physical expenditure levels, and pushing it TOO far can lead to injury or debilitation. The reason that the equation above is suggested is that A) you likely get much more satisfaction out of your sport or activity of choice than you do from working out generally, and B) Burning calories is burning calories – no matter how you burn them.

You’ll keep your weight down and heart healthy while still building the core muscle strength and effective muscle memory to keep playing well into your old age – and that has physical and mental health benefits that are long-term preferable for a good many men and women.

5. Stay Flexible with Yoga or a Similar Practice

Yoga really is absolutely gold for maintaining flexibility in people of any age. And it’s not only physical flexibility, it’s mental flexibility too and that’s also very important in having the right perspective – both about aging and understanding who you are in the realm of competitiveness and not getting carried away with being ‘results oriented’, particularly if it’s a team sport.

More to the point at hand though, the risk as you age is that an unbalanced and inflexible body is perfectly capable of engaging in strenuous physical activity but it will often compensate for repeated physical challenges by directing confrontational energies away from less limber parts of the body to more naturally loose and flexible ones. Once or twice that’s okay, but if it happens repeatedly that’s when ‘compensation’ problems arise.

For example, one very common spot for this with men as they age is in the hips. If, for example, your left hip opens more fluidly than your right hip, your body will compensate for that stiffness by channeling energies into the left hip where there more efficiently accommodated and dispersed. Over time, however, your right hip becomes stiffer and stiffer and before long you start lacking push-off power, the ability to be stable in a wide-stance, or pivot effectively off of your right leg.

Once this begins to take effect, it’s harder to reduce the immobility and get back to balance, although it certainly can be done. But why not just avoid this inconvenience altogether and stay flexible and ready to play at your best right from the get-go with yoga.

And a very obligatory note – yoga is absolutely great for athletes of ANY age and couldn’t come more highly recommended. Like we said, it’s golden!

As we often say here, these tips are just the ‘tip’ of the iceberg as regards all the ways you can maintain your ability to play sports well as you get older, but hopefully they’re helpful for you and inspire you to be the ‘Mr. Hockey’ of your neck of the woods. No matter what’s your sport or activity of choice.

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Topics: Fitness, Body, Joint Pain, training

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