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Six tips for staying fit at 50

The Daily Telegraph recently reported on 'the rise of the fittysomethings', a phenomena whereby men hit their physical stride after turning 50 years of age.

The story was prompted by the appearance of ex-footballer Dennis Wise on the TV show I'm a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here. The Telegraph noted Wise's "unfeasibly youthful frame" for a man in his 50s.

As part of their article, The Telegraph contacted Dr Mike Dilkes, who was the resident ENT surgeon for Chelsea Football Club during Wise's playing days.

“There are a number of things that men can do to stay youthful after 50 but, firstly, look at your dad,” says Dr Dilkes. “If he still looks young, then you have a good chance of retaining your youthful look. Levels of collagen and elastin in skin vary according to genes. The same applies to hair. If your father has a good head of hair, you probably will, too.”

For those unlucky enough not to have won the genetic lottery, the good news is there are a number of cheats.

“Never go in the sun without any block at all,” Dr Dilkes advises. “A tan is fine but always wear a medium-factor protection to stop collagen damage. Some sun is great, but don’t burn. And then, of course, you can go for active management of ageing with things like Botox, which increasing numbers of men are having, and it really does work. I’m also keen on prescribing certain types of acid peels to keep the skin smooth.”

Visit the Telegraph site to read Mike Dilkes' advise for 50-somethings, while below we list the key recommendations to stay fit after fifty:

Face the music and dance Men in their fifties should prioritise posture and flexibility over going hell for leather in the gym; at this time of life, long spells on the treadmill can quickly lead to worn joints. Instead, try yoga, pilates, martial arts – or even barre and dance classes.

Keep up cardio To preserve heart health, NHS Direct recommends men in their 50s perform five 30-minute cardio sessions per week. Swimming is a great way to strengthen your heart and muscles without stressing your joints.

Maintain muscle mass In your 50s, muscle mass wastes more quickly, with up to 35 per cent disappearing between the ages of 50 and 80. Resistance training – with free weights or doing press-ups – can hold back the process. Training the whole body with moderate weights at least twice a week will help maintain muscular strength as well as improve joint stability and keep your bones strong.

Hit the free weights This is no time to shy away from weights because you think you’re susceptible to injury: be careful, but don’t take it easy. Weight training can help fend off a decline in testosterone and ensure a healthy libido.

Saddle up According to studies from Philadelphia’s Arcadia University, cycling for just 25 minutes a day, three times a week, significantly improved the pain relief and performance in walking tests of those suffering from osteoarthritis of the knees.

Stay mobile Walking outdoors help keeps stress levels down, and incorporating squats and lunges during a stroll around the park will improve your cardio, strength and general mobility, while keeping your vitamin D levels (vital for bone strength) topped up.


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