How You Can Keep Up With Someone Half Your Age :) - Diligent Fitness

How You Can Keep Up With Someone Half Your Age :)

23rd June 2016 by Kieran Igwe Exercise 0 comments

Okay, so you know you’re not 20 yrs old anymore. But you’d still like to show those young’uns a thing or two when you’re out on the bike or up in the mountains.

Over the last 10 years the most common concerns I’ve heard as a personal trainer:

  1. “I don’t like getting left behind, or feeling like I’m holding the group back”
  2. “I miss out on a day of walking because my knees can’t handle the strain”
  3. “I don’t feel fit enough to keep up with my partner (or group) on the bike”
  4. “I struggle with knee/hip pain when I’m walking down hills”

There is a way forward! And the best news is it won’t take hours of training to help you improve. Read on for the complete approach to getting fit enough to keep up with someone half your age.

Personal Trainer Horsforth

Stop aches and pains holding you back

You’ve picked up some knocks along the way. And we need to make sure these don’t come back to bite you on the butt later in your training. So we’re going to do a few things to maintain your flexibility and improve your joint health:

  1. Foam rolling
  2. Stretching & mobility drills
  3. Core stability
  4. Increase Omega 3 (reduces inflammation in the joints)
personal trainer horsforth

Our favourite Hip Flexor Stretch for better flexibility

Build a Baseline of Strength

Your muscles are like shock absorbers. One of the things they do is protect your joints from wear and tear. So we need to strengthen your muscles to make them more resistant to stress.

Resistance training is the way forward. Exercises like split squat, step ups and lunges all build up the muscles around your knees so they’re better at absorbing shock and producing force.

For a good starting point – click on the image below to download the free exercise guide – ‘Top 5 Exercises For Walkers’:

Increase your VO2 Max

When you’re working ‘aerobically’ (using oxygen) you can pretty much go on indefinitely. Think walking along the flat at a steady pace.

But as soon as the physical demand exceeds your ability to use oxygen as fuel you switch to a different fuel source. One that can’t be replenished as you go along. (That’s why you might need to stop on a half way up a steep hill).

Ever been running, cycling or climbing a mountain, run out of breath and need to stop because your muscles just can’t keep going?

You just hit the point that your body can can’t continue using oxygen as its primary fuel source. And you’re getting close to reaching what’s known as your VO2 Max.

“VO2 Max – the maximum rate at which the heart, lungs, and muscles can effectively use oxygen during exercise”

One of the goals of training is to push up your V02 Max. And a combination of aerobic exercises and High Intensity Interval Training is the best way to improve this.

How to improve your aerobic fitness

Spending time out doing the activities you’d like to be fitter for is the best way to increase your fitness for sure. But it’s not always practical to get out for a day on the bike or to spend hours out in the hills.

So exposing yourself in small doses of more intense exercise to replicate the fatigue is an effective (and time efficient!) way to improve your fitness.

Increase your anaerobic threshold

There are going to be times where you need to be able to work anaerobically (without oxygen) too. Like maintaining a pace while you take on that steep hill that lasts about a minute.

Your anaerobic threshold is the point at which ‘lactic acid’ starts to rise uncontrollably in the muscles – because your body can’t get rid of it as quickly as you’re producing it.

Scientists believe it’s lactic acid (along with a few other waste products) that are responsible for the all too familiar burning sensation you feel when you’re working hard for a long period of time (thanks lactic acid).
In training we want to expose your body to that uncomfortable ‘burn’ sensation to get your body used to it. It’ll encourage the body to change, and improve your physiology to be able to cope at higher intensities for longer periods of time (less stopping half way up hills).

Develop Explosive Power

Power is your ability to express whatever strength you have at speed. For example, if you were trying to lift a heavy log you might want to move it as quickly as possible (because the slower you go the heavier it feels right?)

As we age power drops rapidly. And we start to lose the ability to move quickly as our power output declines. Unless we train to maintain it!

Training-wise a 20 something might be okay with olympic lifting (the best method for developing power). But if like me you need to be more cautious about throwing weights around there are more suitable methods.
For developing power I’d recommend high velocity, low impact moves like:

  1. Kettlebell swings
  2. Box Jumps
  3. Med Ball Slams
  4. Explosive Sled Push
kettlebell swing: start

kettlebell swing to develop explosive power (start)

kettlebell swing: finish

kettlebell swing to develop explosive power (finish)

Note: Developing power is something that comes after months of building a solid base of strength. If you haven’t been strength training for at least 3-6 months I’d probably give the power training a miss for now.

Get Some Good Recovery

Sure, training helps you improve. But it’s the rest between workouts where all magic happens.

During your workouts (and immediately after) you’re actually worse off than when you started. You know that feeling when you’ve just finished a long hike or ride – you’re definitely NOT feeling at your fittest. But give it 24-48 hours and you’re back to feeling good to go.

That’s because your body has recovered from the day’s demands. And you probably got a little extra to use next time.

Because being challenged is what stimulates your body to get stronger, fitter or faster (depending on whether you did strength training, aerobic training or power/speed training).

So good recovery looks like:

  1. 7-8 hours Sleep (most physical regeneration and repair takes place while you’re out for the count)
  2. Protein and BCAA’s – damage caused by challenging your muscles requires certain ‘building blocks’ to be available so it can repair and rebuild.
  3. Antioxidants – plenty of studies support the role antioxidants play in anti-ageing by minimizing oxidative stress caused by just being alive. Good sources include blueberries, cranberries, blackberries and strawberries.
Antioxidant rich berries

Antioxidant rich berries


So there you have it. Want to keep up with someone half your age?

  1. Take aches and pains off the table
  2. Build a baseline of strength
  3. Do some aerobic training to increase your VO2 Max
  4. Include intervals to up your anearobic threshold
  5. Develop power with explosive exercise
  6. Support your body’s recovery by getting some shut eye and meeting your nutritional needs

Want some help implementing a programme covering all the above? Hit the button below to request more info and we’ll be in touch to for a quick chat about you and what you’d like to achieve:

Request More Info

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