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Lowering exercise intensity with age, what has worked for you?

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  • MikePfirrmanMikePfirrman Member Posts: 2,815 Member Member Posts: 2,815 Member
    I'll be 56 in around 6 weeks and I deal with this stuff a lot. But I always do as much intensity as my body will handle. Some years, it's great, others not so great.

    My back, like yours, has been challenging for around a year and a half. So I thought I could just keep powering through the same stuff and it hasn't worked out.

    I'm relooking now at all I do. Instead of 6 days a week of 1 hour cardio along with light weight sessions 2 or 3X a week, I'm doing much less cardio and more strengthening/stretching for the back. Much more planks, core work, spending more time stretching, superman yoga poses. I hate yoga but I'm even doing some more yoga.

    I think if you're unmotivated and feel injured, it's tough. Sometimes it's not about just backing down but reevaluating what you're doing and if it's right for you.

    I ran for five years and got up to doing 7/8 mile hard trail runs. But I'd stay inflamed for up to 3 hours after my runs on pavement/asphalt. Then I took up indoor rowing and biking and felt much better. I actually upped my intensity while getting rid of the inflammation. Adjustments can get you back on track.
  • Dogmom1978Dogmom1978 Member Posts: 1,587 Member Member Posts: 1,587 Member
    jaroby wrote: »
    Dogmom1978 wrote: »
    jaroby wrote: »
    dewd2 wrote: »
    At what age does this forced lowering start? I'm 51 and still trying (and doing) newer and harder things.

    Your body slows down but you don't have to (assuming your circumstances allow of course - family is first always).
    GL458 wrote: »
    Why do you want to reduce the intensity at 32? Like previous posters, I understand time constraints with three kids but when I first looked at your post I thought you must be much older. I'm 63, female and a runner. I haven't really thought about reducing the intensity although the intensity may be reduced somewhat without my actually noticing it. I run about 40 miles a week. Is it intensity or time spent exercising that you actually want to change?

    Ha! I thought that my post title might cause people to consider me older than 32, and I didn’t know if I could change it without starting an entirely new thread. :smiley:

    So, I like to push myself *hard* while working out and I didn’t want to write a novel when explaining my dilemma, but lately I just feel achy all over after a higher intensity cardio workout, it’s a different soreness than doms. My joins feel achy and my back feels off. It’s been a few months of this, I’m certain I’m not pregnant, and when I reduce the intensity and focus on low impact exercises I don’t have the all over achy pain after a hard workout. Lifting weights doesn’t produce the achy feeling.

    The above situation coupled with a specific low back tightness/pain which I’m currently seeking physical therapy for to help me identify the “why” and “how to fix” has made me consider that my current routine might not be sustainable for as long as I had hoped. I truly had hoped to just keep going and pushing myself hard for years to come!

    When I need to change things up like this it’s really helpful for me to learn about others experiences and gather ideas to see what can be adapted to my situation, so I decided to make a post and I can see I need to clarify so thanks for bearing with me :smile:

    The other aspect of this is that when I’m able to workout later in the day I don’t have as many problems, but I’m a homeschool mom so for the foreseeable future I need to make things work in the early am or run a pretty high risk of a workout not happening. There will come a time when the kids are older that I can be more flexible with my desired routine, but for now this is what I’ve got :smiley:

    Thank you so much for your replies!

    Considering the back pain, that might be from your form. Not exactly sure what exercises you do, but rounding your back during a deadlift for example can result in serious back injury.

    I don’t know that the intensity is necessarily what is causing your issues. If time constraints are causing you to slow down fine, but saying at 32 that the exercise is too intense because of back pain sounds like you are doing something incorrectly, not that exercising itself combined with age is the issue.

    Thanks for this :smile: I know that form can sometimes be an issue, but I’ve taken several measures to make sure that this isn’t the case for this specific back problem. I have a mirror for real time reference, I’ve gradually worked my way up from body weight to weighted moves and many of these moves were taught to me in a coached environment back in highschool plus I’ve had 2 personal trainer friends review my form. I grew up with both of my parents lifting down in our basement so although I’m not an expert by any means, I also know I’m not a novice and have had a few professionals review for confirmation.

    One of the friends I’ve mentioned who has reviewed my form will sometimes refer her clients to a posture restoration therapist in the area because of her personal experience with this type of pt plus the results she’s seen in clients. After talking through the specifics of the issue I’m having we both agree that it seems to stem from lifting with things out of alignment (even with externally visible proper form). When I stretch and help my hips and supporting muscles be properly aligned (not always a given even if do the stretches) I don’t have this specific back issue that I mentioned seeking pt for.

    I appreciate the comment though!! Again, it’s so hard to provide all the context necessary when asking for advice like this so I totally don’t blame you for bringing it up!!

    I thought of it because my husband corrected my form on deadlifts to keep me from getting hurt.

    Also, my back hurts in general from a really terrible mattress, but a new one is coming soon!!!

    As previous posters have said also, stress plays a role as do changes in sleep etc.

    Fix the other things mentioned and you should have no need to reduce the intensity of your workouts. 😊
  • cgvet37cgvet37 Member Posts: 1,189 Member Member Posts: 1,189 Member
    I'm 42 and am training harder than I have in a long time, minus my time in the Military.
  • quiksylver296quiksylver296 Member Posts: 28,073 Member Member Posts: 28,073 Member
    cgvet37 wrote: »
    I'm 42 and am training harder than I have in a long time, minus my time in the Military.

    Same, but 45 and not military but police academy. So, really, not same, but I am training harder. :laugh:
    edited September 2020
  • sgt1372sgt1372 Member Posts: 3,932 Member Member Posts: 3,932 Member
    I'm 70 and in excellent health and physical condition.

    However, I have various injuries that I sustained while doing "too much" when I was younger, which include: a broken rt clavicle and rt ankle (motorcycling); a 3 torn kft knee ligaments and a torn rt rotator cuff (skiing); a torn lft rotator cuff; and, rt elbow medial collateral and rt sacroilac joint ligament damage (lifting).

    So, I just don't do "too much" any more.

    I stopped skiing and motorcycling (by choice about 10 & 5 yrs ago, respectively); do not attempt to lift max wts anymore (only about 70% of max); and only do "low & slow" intensity C2 rowing, Crossfit type exercises and short/long distance hiking that still requires some "effort" but not so much that it risks injury or exhaustion.
    edited September 2020
  • Machka9Machka9 Member Posts: 19,696 Member Member Posts: 19,696 Member
    After racing bicycles in my early 30s, I moved into audax/randonneuring ... long, long distance cycling.
  • lorrpblorrpb Member Posts: 11,465 Member Member Posts: 11,465 Member
    I feel that Consistency is the most important thing. Doing “something” is almost always better than doing “nothing”. It’s better for me both mentally and physically.
  • AnnPT77AnnPT77 Member, Premium Posts: 21,853 Member Member, Premium Posts: 21,853 Member
    jaroby wrote: »
    I know I wasn’t able to specifically respond to each reply in this thread, but I read them all and am so grateful for all the input!

    I wanted to give an update because as it was noted, age was likely not the cause of me feeling like I needed to lessen the intensity of my exercise.

    It turns out getting enough sleep, getting back to drinking the amount of water that helps me feel good, and taking more time to stretch and work on mobility have just about taken care of the “all over achy/slow recovery” problem. :smiley:

    Yippee!!!!!

    On another note, I had the appointment with the Posture Restoration Therapist today. I could cry tears of JOY. Turns out I’ve been walking around with my back a bit arched, my ribs bowed up towards the front, and my left hip more prominently forward than the right. I’ve also got an anterior pelvic tilt (which is silly because it’s something I’m aware of and have tried to fix :neutral: ) I tend to place more weight on the balls of my feet rather than my heels and trying to squat with my hips all internally wonky like that + carrying myself through the day like this has been the cause of my low back pain.

    So, the goal is to reset the way I hold myself unconsciously throughout the day. Posture Restoration Therapy.

    Even after one single visit complete with instructions on how to hold myself correctly the lower back pain is significantly reduced and I can’t help but think “How on EARTH have I been carrying myself around like this day after day!?”

    So if this has ever been a thing you’ve considered, I *highly* recommend it!

    Good show. Really excellent: So happy for you!
  • SnifterPugSnifterPug Member Posts: 724 Member Member Posts: 724 Member
    Excellent. Thanks for coming back to update us.
  • Theoldguy1Theoldguy1 Member Posts: 2,112 Member Member Posts: 2,112 Member
    jaroby wrote: »
    I know I wasn’t able to specifically respond to each reply in this thread, but I read them all and am so grateful for all the input!

    I wanted to give an update because as it was noted, age was likely not the cause of me feeling like I needed to lessen the intensity of my exercise.

    It turns out getting enough sleep, getting back to drinking the amount of water that helps me feel good, and taking more time to stretch and work on mobility have just about taken care of the “all over achy/slow recovery” problem. :smiley:

    Yippee!!!!!

    On another note, I had the appointment with the Posture Restoration Therapist today. I could cry tears of JOY. Turns out I’ve been walking around with my back a bit arched, my ribs bowed up towards the front, and my left hip more prominently forward than the right. I’ve also got an anterior pelvic tilt (which is silly because it’s something I’m aware of and have tried to fix :neutral: ) I tend to place more weight on the balls of my feet rather than my heels and trying to squat with my hips all internally wonky like that + carrying myself through the day like this has been the cause of my low back pain.

    So, the goal is to reset the way I hold myself unconsciously throughout the day. Posture Restoration Therapy.

    Even after one single visit complete with instructions on how to hold myself correctly the lower back pain is significantly reduced and I can’t help but think “How on EARTH have I been carrying myself around like this day after day!?”

    So if this has ever been a thing you’ve considered, I *highly* recommend it!

    Is your therapist trained through the Postural Restoration Institute (PRI)? I have worked with a Doctor of PT that has also been through their program and incorporates many of their techniques. Bonus, he's also a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist. His therapy room is part of a gym he a a partner in so we can go out to the floor and he can check form.

    I've made fantastic progress working with this person. Best of luck to you.
  • jarobyjaroby Member Posts: 152 Member Member Posts: 152 Member
    @AnnPT77
    @SnifterPug
    Thank you for sharing in my excitement! :smiley::smiley:

    @Theoldguy1
    Yes! My therapist is trained through the PRI! So glad you’ve had great progress with this type of PT. Best of continued luck for you as well!
  • sgt1372sgt1372 Member Posts: 3,932 Member Member Posts: 3,932 Member
    Assuming that you are in good health and have no significant medical problems or disabilities, I don't think that 32 is an age at which you need to worry about reducing the "intensity" of your workouts.

    Ask again in 28 yrs when you turn 60.

    So, says this 70 yr old man who doesn't do any workout w/any degree of "intensity" any more.

    Lo and slow to avoid injury is my motto doing any type of exercise now.
    edited November 2020
  • Ikeeptrying2Ikeeptrying2 Member Posts: 156 Member Member Posts: 156 Member
    I'm mid-50's. Some of my intensity and endurance has reduced since I began training 6 years ago.

    My focus is now to train hard, but to also train smart.

  • dmkoenigdmkoenig Member Posts: 295 Member Member Posts: 295 Member
    Joe Friel is the father of aerobic training - he's written seminal books like Runners Training Bible, Triathletes Training Bible, etc. He's well into his 70's now and a few years ago he wrote a book called Fast after 50 which is based on the latest science on aging and exercise. The number of athletes over 50 is growing and new performance records are continually being set. Two major takeaways from the book: (1) in order to maintain/improve fitness, high intensity training needs to be part of your program, including weight training. People who just do a lot of low intensity aerobic work over time lose fitness over time. Not saying it's not good for you, just in terms of maintaining threshold performance (as measured by VO2 Max). (2) As you age, you need longer periods of rest and recovery, which includes sleep. Friel is a big proponent of periodized workouts where you have weeks of higher load followed by a week of recovery. For younger athletes it's often 3 weeks of build followed by 1 week easy. For 50+ athletes it's more like 2 weeks build followed by 1 week recovery. The other elements that become really important are stretching and flexibility. So I would encourage keeping some level of intensity in your program if you want maximize your vitality. Best of luck in your journey!
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