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Staying fit past 60

india Updated: Aug 29, 2009 01:17 IST
Clinton Grobbelaar

We’re a couple aged 69 and 61 years. We started an exercise regimen 2 years ago after being diagnosed with stress-induced ischaemia (heart disease). We exercise six days a week and include 5 minutes of skipping and 5-10 minutes of jogging. Is it safe for us to skip and jog? I’ve read that this isn’t recommended for senior citizens. I had a knee ligament tear earlier but have since improved my flexibility. We want to be fit and independent.

Vanita Kumta

It’s great that both of you are so active. Keep it up! The key to good health, no matter what age you are, is regular exercise. As for your knee ligament injury, if your current exercise routine isn’t aggravating it, then you can continue with that exercise. But if your knee swells up or hurts at any stage, seek medical attention.

Medical advice to most senior citizens would be to avoid running and skipping because of the jarring effects on the joints. However, proper advice can only be given on meeting you in person. Brisk walking is what most senior citizens are advised but if you have no aches or joint swelling during or after skipping or jogging, you can continue as long as you both are enjoying it.

I am a 50-year-old vegetarian man. I’ve been jogging for the past year and can jog 18 km in 3 hours. I want to increase my speed. Do I have to jog daily? What is difference between running and jogging?

Jagdish Chopda

For a 50-year-old, jogging three hours at a stretch is quite a feat, specially after just a year of practice. To increase you speed, you don’t have to run everyday. In fact, it’s just the opposite. Running daily and for long distances will slow you down. The following routine will help.

Monday: 90-minute run at medium intensity.

Tuesday: 45-minute run at a fairly high intensity.

Wednesday: 30-minute hill run. You can run up a hill and then walk down or just run hard on a hilly terrain.

Thursday: Rest day. Enjoy total rest or light cycling or leisurely walk.

Friday: 2-3 hour jog at a slow pace.

Saturday: 60 minute fartleck session (alternating between slow running for 5 minutes and fast running for 5 minutes for the entire run).

Sunday: Either rest day or the same as Monday.

Following this programme will make you stronger and faster so when you next tackle a longer run you will be quicker. Try this for six weeks and watch your progress. Thereafter you can change the programme around a bit. Never get bored, since your body senses it and becomes stale and then you just plod along and can’t increase speed.

Running and jogging, they are the same thing; the former a faster version of jogging. Being a vegetarian is no problem; just make sure you eat enough protein to keep muscle strength up. Enjoy being fit.

These queries were answered by Clinton Grobbelaar, managing director of Elite Athlete Performance.