OK, just because you're getting older does not give you permission to slack on exercise and diet.
I promised you some benchmarks of what the average male (and female) can do in certain exercises by the time they hit the age of 50.
The information and numbers for each exercise varies by research(er) but they are all pretty close and will give you a range to shoot for.
The exercise program you develop for yourself needs to be centered around several key activities including but not limited to muscle and fitness development (push-ups, sit-ups and chin ups), core strength exercise (planks) and low impact aerobic/cardio (running and swimming).
How you choose to build a program and attack the "fluffy, droopy" blues is up to you. I highly recommend consulting your doctor before starting and program. I am not a doctor nor do I play one on television. As I have said before, I am merely the delivery boy trying to bring a meal full of good information to one place.
Remember…you need to move to improve. You only get traction if you take action. If you don't like what you got, then push to look hot. If you do what you’ve always done, you’ll get what you’ve always gotten. You get the point.
The 6 exercises I have compiled benchmarks for are: Push-ups, Chin-ups, Sit-ups, Planking Running and Swimming.
Before we begin I wanted to drop some other numbers on you that you need to watch closely in monitoring your health. People pay a lot of attention to the numbers on their scale, but there many other critical numbers to which people should pay increased attention.
Thanks to everyone's TV favorite Dr. Oz for this information.
Dr. Oz said people should also know their blood pressure, levels of cholesterol (HDL and LDL) and of TSH, the hormone secreted by the thyroid, waist size, and vitamin D blood level.
Here are the optimum levels of the numbers you should know:
Blood pressure: 115/75
Waist size: Less than half your height
HDL level: Greater than 45
LDL level: Less than 100
TSH: Less than 2.5 mIU/L
Fasting blood sugar: Less than 95
Vitamin D blood level: More than 50 ng/l
Pretty interesting stuff, huh!!!
Two more things we need to focus on as part of our quest for health and long life are:
Ideal Body Weight
According to the National Institutes of Health, a man's ideal body weight is established by taking the first 5 feet of a man's height, which is valued at 106 lbs. and then adding 6 lbs. to this number for each inch over 5 feet. Multiply this base value by 10 percent, and then subtract this number from the base value to establish the low end of the normal weight range for those men with a smaller body frame. Multiply the base value times 10 percent and add the result to the base value to establish the high end of the normal weight range for those men who are of a larger body frame.
For example, a man who is 6 feet tall has a normal weight range of 160 to 196 lbs. A man who is 5-feet, 11-inches tall has a normal weight range of 155 to 189 lbs. The low end of either weight ranges accounts for men with smaller body frames, while the high end of the weight ranges accounts for men with larger body frames.
Body Mass Index
Men can also use body mass index, or BMI, to determine if they fall within a healthy weight range for their height. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention explains that body mass index is calculated by squaring your height in inches, (multiplying your height by your height), and then dividing this number into your weight in pounds. This value is then multiplied by 703 to establish BMI. A healthy range for men is anywhere between 18.5 and 24.9.
For example, a man who is 6 feet tall and weighs 160 lbs. has a BMI of 21.6, which is considered normal for his height. A man who is 6 feet tall and weighs 178 lbs. has a BMI of 24.1, which is also considered normal for his height. A man who's 5 feet 11 inches tall and weighs 155 lbs. has a BMI of 21.6. Like the other two examples, this is normal for his height.
Now let's get to the breakdown of the exercises starting with push-ups considered by many the ultimate machismo display of physique and muscularity.
30-year-old woman should be able to nail 45 bent-leg push-ups, while a man the same age should be capable of 35 standard push-ups. Take away five push-ups for every decade thereafter.
40 year old women 40
40 year old man 30
50 year old women 35
50 year old man 25
60 year old women 30
60 year old man 20
According to Top End Sports, an average male should be able to complete in one minute:
30 to 39 year old male 13 to 24 push ups
40 to 49 year old male 10 to 22 push-ups
50 to 59 year old male 8 to 19 push ups
60 + year old male 6 to 16 push-ups
Like I said the benchmarks vary……
According to the Washington Post, what follows is the amount of pushups that must be done in 12 minutes by various age groups to be labeled as being in SUPERIOR condition:
40 to 49 year old male 40 push-ups
50 to 59 year old male 39 push ups
60+ year old male 28 push ups
In order to be considered in EXCELLENT condition
40 to 49 year old male 30 push-ups
50 to 59 year old male 35 push-ups
60+ year old male 23 push-ups
And how about us guys in GOOD to FAIR condition:
40 to 49 year old male 24 to 18 push-ups
50 to 59 year old male 19 to 13 push ups
60+ year old male 18 to 10 push-ups
According to a study by the New York Times, ( showing fair play among major metropolitan area research) on average, a 40-year-old man should be able to do 27 push-ups, a 50 year old man should be able to do 22 and a 60-year-old man should be able to do 17.
The Canadian Physical Activity, Fitness and Lifestyle Approach (giving a nod to our brothers up north eh!) says 30 push-ups for 30- to 39-year-olds and 25 for 40- to 49-year-olds is considered excellent fitness (Ehhhh!!). If you are in your 50s, the number is 21, and it is 18 if you are between 60 and 69.
And not to forget Dr. Oz
Depending on your age, you also should be able to do a specific number of push-ups in one minute. Here is a guide:
Men between 50 and 59 years old should be able to do 15 to 19 push-ups.
Women of the same age should be able to do seven to 10 push-ups
Men between 60 and 69 years old should be able to do 10 to 14 push-up
Women of the same age should be able to do five to 10 push-ups and 10 to 14 sit-ups.
Depending on your age, you also should be able to do a specific number of sit-ups.
Sit Ups (Curl Ups)
Starting off this time with the guidelines from Dr. Oz:
Men between 50 and 59 years old should be able to do 20 to 24 sit-ups.
Women of the same age should be able to do 15 to 19 sit-ups.
Men between 60 and 69 years old should be able to do 15 to 19 sit-ups.
Women of the same age should be able to do five to 10 to 14 sit-ups.
The US Naval Fitness test considers a candidate doing sit-ups in his 50's as follows:
Good 37 sit-ups in a 45 minute period
Excellent 71 sit-ups in a 45 minute period
Outstanding 78 sit-ups in a 45 minute period
They definitely have tougher standards than the good Dr. Oz.
The Washington Post research considers the following benchmarks for 1-Minute Sit-Ups:
Number of sit-ups by age group
1-Minute Sit up Test (Men)
The research on chin-ups is less extensive and the results are less concrete mainly because the difficulty of the exercise and the lower amount of reps that can be done. Most of us have memories of doing chin-ups for P.E. or gym class when we were in school – and most of these memories are not good. However, they absolutely were good for us!
Fortunately, this simple exercise has benefit even if you can only do one chin-up! The key with chin-ups is to just get started and then continue doing them regularly. Do not overdo it, especially at first, and seek to slowly increase your reps over time. Also, try doing more than one “set” each time you exercise. For instance, if you can comfortably do two chin-ups then do repetitive sets of two extending the reps to three when you can?
According to the website Livestrong.com:
Males over the age of 18 are expected to perform 8 repetitions of pull-ups to be classified as in "borderline shape" according to the President's Council. The average number of pull-ups a male can do begins to decline around the 31 to 50 age bracket.
Military pull-up averages and standards depend on branch of service and level of fitness required for the specific assigned duty. Enlistees into the United States Marine Corp must be able to perform at least 3 pull-ups; however, a score of 50 percent is met with a total of 10 pull-ups completed.
There are many other websites and researchers who state that anywhere from 1 to 5 chin ups is average for a man in his 50's. If you get a chance to read some blogs and forums from any of the health websites you will find that many responders are truthful about their abilities to do chin ups and most state explicitly that they can just barely do 1.
It's hard to believe the plank could provide such a great workout—until you try it. Numerous strength coaches recommend conquering the plank before attempting any heavy weight exercise.
The planking exercise is a kind of exercise that is designed to strengthen the core of the body. The core refers to the body minus the arms and the legs. Planking exercises are classified as isometric exercises, which mean that they are done in static positions that don’t involve a dynamic range of motion. The simplest example of a plank is the front plank. In the front plank, the body is held in the normal push-up position, and the entire body weight is born but the forearms elbows and toes. Planking exercises are usually tough because they require holding the body in a difficult position for very long periods of time.
Now bend your elbows 90 degrees and rest your weight on your forearms. Your elbows should be directly beneath your shoulders, and your body should form a straight line from your head to your feet. Hold the position for as long as you can. Your goal should be to hold it for two minutes.
Plank exercises not only work your abdominals, they work your entire core. By forcing your body to stabilize itself in one position, planks work both your abdominal muscles as well as your back muscles, and as busy people we love the multitasking elements of planks.
A significant advantage of planks in terms of developing better looking abs is that they work the transverse abdominus that holds in the rectus abdominus. Planking helps develop strength in the core, shoulders, arms, and gluteus making it a great prerequisite for lifting heavy weights or playing intense sports. Even though you aren't moving or lifting weight, you have to constantly squeeze your abs to hold the position—most people can't last 30 seconds on their first attempt.
The graphic above gives a time benchmark for the average male. I feel earning the "Stud" status at 1 minute or "Popeye" status at 2 minutes is a little too easy. Although, when I first began planking, I began shaking (literally) at the 30 second mark, I quickly found myself above the 1 minute mark and now comfortably (I still shake and slobber) can do 3 reps of 2 minutes each. I find having aggressive music on in the background helps me take my concentration off how much time has passed. I also recommend doing this exercise (basically all exercises if you are on your own equipment – it gets to be a microbiological nightmare in a public gym) shirtless so you can insure a good straight plank by watching your core muscle area.
Running and Swimming
While there is really no formal benchmarking for how long or how far an adult male in his 50's should run or swim there are some excellent recommendations from not only the armed forces websites but some physical fitness guru sites as well.
As far as running the Naval Fitness test shows the following barometers of average performance for a male in his 50's:
Rating Run 1.5 Miles Swim 500 Yards
Good 15:15 12:15
Excellent 12:30 9:30
Outstanding 10:45 8:15
To finish, I wanted to touch on one last topic for our healthy lifestyle program: Caloric Intake.
Over 50 Years Old Males over the age of 50 require progressively fewer calories as they age. At age 50, the USDA recommendation is 2,200 calories for sedentary men and 2,400 calories per day for moderately active men who exercise most days of the week. Between the ages of 60 and 70 years old, the recommendation decreases to 2,000 and 2,200 calories per day, respectively. According to the CDC's findings, men between the ages of 50 and 59 consume more than 2,500 calories per day on average -- far higher than recommended.
The Equation - Caloric Intake
There are separate equations for males and females, and these equations are intended to predict the resting energy expenditure for healthy adults. This excludes children, adolescents and people suffering from an illness.
Take your weight and multiply it by 9.99 and that equals A
Take your height in inches and multiply it by 6.25 and that equals B
Take your age and multiply it by 4.92 and that equals C
A + B – C + 5 = How many (good healthy and hopefully organic) calories your body needs in an average day
Use the same formula but subtract 161 instead of adding 5
A + B – C - 161 = How many (good healthy and hopefully organic) calories your body needs in an average day
I want to wish you the most sincere Good Luck in starting and persevering in your workout program. It can't be said enough times that being healthy is the key to a longer, more enjoyable and more prolific life. Make it a priority. A great philosopher once said "The first rule to winning the game is to stay in it."
We will change gears starting the next few blogs and touch on some other vital "Survival" tactics for being in your 50's and maybe have some fun as I promised. Please stay tuned and Thanks for joining me!!!