I suffered some bad injuries 40 years ago and have been toldI will need knee and hip replacements eventually. What would be a good fitness régime to help postpone the surgery for as long as possible? At 61, despite staying active and playing golf, my leg muscles are losing bulk.
It’s time to join the gym and start doing targeted workouts alongside the golf. It sounds as though your old injuries have left you vulnerable to osteoarthritis, so your first priority will be to build up strong muscular support and protection for your hip and knee joints. Beyond this, a boost to your heart and lung fitness will improve your energy levels. And if you intend to maintain your golf handicap for another 25 years, you should add in some work to keep your pelvis, hips, back and shoulders supple and strong.
It is normal to lose muscle strength and power as we age. However it is also quite possible to reverse loss of muscle bulk and dramatically cheat the ageing process if you take a disciplined approach to working out. I am suggesting the gym because you need to do weight-training, targeting certain muscle groups, and the machines and other equipment in the gym will make this easier to do. If you’re new to gyms, you’ll be given at least one “induction” session: make sure you ask at the outset whether your instructor is qualified to train older adults. They must hold a REPS Level 3 certificate. Don’t be too polite to ask for an alternative instructor if you are at all unhappy.
Your gym programme needs to concentrate on exercises for your buttocks, hips, front and back of thighs, including some specific “leg extension” exercises to build up your knee muscles. Several weights machines tackle these areas, but you may also find yourself doing squats (with or without weights) and lunges, both of which are excellent for all the relevant muscles.
Include cardiovascular training in your workout, building up to 20 minutes per session. Your best bet may be the treadmill, set for a brisk uphill “power walk”. After a few months another tough but useful option could be the stepper. Aim to do three gym sessions a week (leaving 48 hours between each visit).
Don’t overlook the need to combat the increasing stiffness that comes with ageing. Again, if you have joint problems, you are likely to feel achy and stiff, especially in the mornings. Mobility and stretching should be slotted into your daily routine along with brushing your teeth. You have an added incentive to do this, as your golf demands that you keep your back strong and supple. Ask your instructor to set you pelvic, shoulder and back mobility and stretching exercises, plus conditioning for all your stomach muscles.