Guest contributor Matt Feshbach is an avid traveler and entrepreneur with a passion for personal health fitness.
As a kid I played tennis competitively, and I loved basketball and played well but not competitively. I even taught tennis very competently to some amazing people on the “Peninsula” (Palo Alto, Woodside and Atherton) but blew out my knees in 1982 just as I was entering the investment business. (How convenient!)
I could still run with orthotics and started lifting weights, but the latter was a seemingly big mistake as fat and muscle seem to be inextricably linked on my body.
Passing the ages of 40 and 50, I found that my health and fitness regimen needed a bit of a makeover. I have always been interested in maintaining personal health, but it became clear that fitness after 50 would not be achievable with the same tactics I was using in my early life.
Making Fitness Enjoyable
Swimming has become my favorite endurance exercise these days. When I started swimming many years ago, it was pretty bad… “super slow” doesn’t even begin to describe it. My first swim win was a weekend workshop on fish-like swimming techniques delivered by Terry Laughlin of Total Immersion Swimming. The idea of swimming on one’s side like a fish and gliding through the water vs. swimming flat and using force made swimming a real pleasure.
The best example of total immersion swimming is Shinji Takeuchi’s YouTube video “The Most Graceful Freestyle.” It has over 4 million views and is the number one swim video on YouTube.
Over the years, I have focused on endurance and finding great pools or beautiful waters such as in the Caribbean – imagine Bonaire, Aruba and other islands. (Occasionally, I swim a bit further out than I should but I never admit it to my wife, Kathy!)
In 2011, when I began to go to the Bahamas to research Okyanos, the cardiac cell therapy provider I founded, I started swimming in Nassau. The water in the Bahamas is the clearest ocean water in the world according to what I have read. This is because the waters are shallow. In fact the derivation of Bahamas is “Baha Mar,” which means shallow waters. Swimming there is quite extraordinary.
More Low Impact Fitness After 50
1. Swimming & Water Aerobics
Even at a moderate pace, 45 minutes of swimming burns over 300 calories. Adding extra moves and resistance exercises in a water aerobics class is a creative way to step up your swimming without straining your joints or overheating you.
Yoga can be very challenging, especially if you haven’t done it before. Start out slow and you’ll gradually coax your muscles to lengthen. An hour of beginners’ yoga burns roughly 100 calories.
You can burn roughly 200 calories (depending on your pace) during a 45- minute walk. Find a walking partner, get a dog and enjoy the scenery!
This exercise form is great for posture, flexibility and core strength. Using a a machine called a Reformer, a qualified instructor can help you enjoy all the benefits Pilates has to offer. An hour of beginners’ Pilates burns about 120 calories.
5. Aerobics: Zumba, Stair Stepper, Elliptical, Rower, Bicycle, etc.
Depending on what kind of aerobics you do, this is a great low-impact exercise category that really allows you to reap rewards while gently coaxing your heart rate into a heart healthy range. A 45-minute Zumba class can burn up to 350 calories.
As always, keep your healthcare provider in the loop on what level of exertion is best for you. It’s important to find a balance between what challenges you, what keeps you fit and what you enjoy.