SUBSCRIBE | NEWSLETTERS | MAPS | VIDEOS | BLOGS | MARKETPLACE | CONTESTS
TRY BACKPACKER FREE!
SUBSCRIBE NOW and get
2 Free Issues and 3 Free Gifts!
Full Name:
Address 1:
Address 2:
City:
State:
Zip Code:
Email: (required)
If I like it and decide to continue, I'll pay just $12.00, and receive a full one-year subscription (9 issues in all), a 73% savings off the newsstand price! If for any reason I decide not to continue, I'll write "cancel" on the invoice and owe nothing.
Your subscription includes 3 FREE downloadable booklets.
Or click here to pay now and get 2 extra issues
Offer valid in US only.

Also on Backpacker.com


Enter Zip Code

Backpacker Magazine – May 2009

Fitness Special—Hike Forever: Age 35-50

Get ready for the long fitness haul with these skills, workouts, and essential info.

by: Casey Lyons


 

 

The Body

Fit hikers in this age range routinely overtake huffing and puffing twentysomethings on big days. That's because endurance performance reaches its absolute peak in the late 30s. Long-distance runners and most mountaineers achieve their greatest physical potential during this range–but not because of some physiologic overdrive. In fact, muscle strength and VO2max are both on the decline. It's because muscles are working together with maximum efficiency, says Steve Reichman, assistant professor at Texas A&M's Department of Health and Kinesiology.

A: Heart Maximum heart rate drops as a result of stiffening tissue, hampering your ability to crush steep inclines. The Fix: Increase stroke volume (the amount of blood pumped through your body with each heart contraction) and efficiency with endurance training. The American College of Sports Medicine recommends upping your exercise to at least 150 minutes per week at 65 to 85 percent of your target heart rate.

B: Muscles Fast-twitch muscle fiber–the type used in sprinting and power moves–decreases between 4 and 10 percent per decade beginning at age 40 in sedentary adults. But slow-twitch muscle–the type used in endurance training–remains strong. The fix: Build power for butt-busting ascents with hill workouts, advises Lynn Millar. Fast climbs up short, steep hills (anaerobic), followed by slow descents (aerobic) force those fast-twitch muscles to work on the way up, while measured descents will hit slow-twitch muscles. Try them in sets of five.

C: VO2Max The maximum amount of oxygen the body uses during strenuous exercise trends downward at a rate of 5 to 15 percent per decade after age 25, says Trent Hargens, Ph.D. The fix: Studies show regular cardiovascular exercise can limit the decline in your VO2 max. Achieve this by building muscle and stressing your cardiovascular system with aerobic exercise (see Muscles).

D: Joints/cartilage/back Height decreases about 1 centimeter per decade after age 40, a result of decreased body water and the compression of the gel-like fluid between vertebrae. The Fix: Kelly recommends reducing accumulated stress with inversion therapy–hanging upside down on a pull-up bar for 15-20 minutes, 3-5 times per week.

E: Bones Bone density reaches stasis as osteoclasts (which trigger bone resorption into the body) catch up to osteoblasts (which create bone). This puts bone density in a holding pattern, but poor nutrition can lead to osteopenia, a precursor to osteoporosis. The fix: Take 1,000 milligrams of calcium per day, drink plenty of D-fortified milk, and eat salmon, tuna, and mackerel, all packed with vitamin D.



Subscribe to Backpacker magazine
Sign up for our free weekly e-newsletter
Name:
Address 1:
Address 2:
City:
State:
Zip:
Email (req):
Reader Rating: -

READERS COMMENTS

Phyllis-displaced mountain lover
Jun 12, 2009

Don't forget to acclimate too. I live in Iowa and I give myself 2 days before I hit the Tetons. Definitely helps the shortness of breath us almost 50 somethings experience when hitting the trail. For training, I hit the Cybex machine in the gym for 30 minutes at 10% grade and a resistance of 35. Keep your strides between 120 and 130.

I'd rather not say
Jun 11, 2009

Oh my goodness! That picture is me! I used to be the younger guy.

ADD A COMMENT

Your rating:
Your Name:

Comment:

My Profile Join Now

Most recent threads

Health and Fitness
2014 fitness updates
Posted On: Aug 22, 2014
Submitted By: RebeccaD
Rocky Mountains
Who Has Plans in the Winds This Year?
Posted On: Aug 22, 2014
Submitted By: OldBill

Go
View all Gear
Find a retailer

Special sections - Expert handbooks for key trails, techniques and gear

Check out Montana in Warren Miller's Ticket to Ride
Warren Miller athletes charge hard and reflect on Big Sky country, their love for this space and the immense energy allotted to the people who reside in Montana.

Boost Your Apps
Add powerful tools and exclusive maps to your BACKPACKER apps through our partnership with Trimble Outdoors.

Carry the Best Maps
With BACKPACKER PRO Maps, get life-list destinations and local trips on adventure-ready waterproof myTopo paper.

FREE Rocky Mountain Trip Planner
Sign up for a free Rocky Mountain National Park trip planning kit from our sister site MyRockyMountainPark.com.

>
Get 2 FREE Trial Issues and 3 FREE GIFTS
Survival Skills 101 • Eat Better
The Best Trails in America
YES! Please send me my FREE trial issues of Backpacker
and my 3 FREE downloadable booklets.
Full Name:
City:
Address 1:
Zip Code:
State:
Address 2:
Email (required):
Free trial offer valid for US subscribers only. Canadian subscriptions | International subscriptions