Joint care for athletes over fifty

If you can maintain your athleticism into middle age, you will find a host of benefits waiting for you. Even for those with joint or musculoskeletal problems such as rheumatoid arthritis or osteoporosis, modern medical advice is to exercise as much as possible.

However, to maintain joint health over fifty, you must do everything in moderation. You can't hit it hard like you could in your twenties and thirties anymore.

Often, beginning intense exercise systems in middle age can harm joints. Perhaps the pros outweigh the cons, but joint health still needs to be considered. Hip, back and knee pain can be crippling in later life without proper care.

For this reason, consider dialling down intensity. Turn your back on high intensity forms of training like boxing and weightlifting in favour of gentler kinds like swimming, yoga and tai chi, at least some of the time.

Other than this, if you are able to go hard, use back and knee supports where necessary. They will support your joints, keep them warm (thus reducing pain) and reduce your risk of injury. Focus training on exercises with a full range of motion that take your joints through full movement patterns. This will improve joint strength and will keep them loose and limber.

Finally, take some form of omega 3 supplement. Cod liver oil or something similar will help to keep your joints lubricated and healthy, no matter what you throw at them.

How to form good fitness habits #4- start with a good breakfast

Training and nutrition are different sides of the same coin. One will be limited without the other. Nutrient type and timing will change how you feel throughout the day, will have a drastic impact on your training, and will either aid or hamper recovery quite profoundly.

A good, solid breakfast is often crucial. If you train in the morning- unless you are specifically wanting to train in a fasted state- get up a little earlier and have something to eat an hour or so beforehand. The glucose you ingest will help you to power through your workout, improving performance and endurance, whilst the fat and protein will help you to recover more ably.

Some good breakfast foods to bear in mind include:

  • Whole-grain, low sugar cereals like oatmeal
  • Bread
  • Low-fat milk
  • Juice and/or fruit
  • Yogurt

If you don't have time to do this, get something light in on the way to the gym. A sports drink or protein shake blended with fruit will be perfect.

It's also worth grabbing a coffee before training. Limited caffeine intake will overcome morning sluggishness, will likely improve your mindset, and will ultimately spur you on to work harder.