Food & Fitness After 50
- Share this post:
Whether you’ve recently hit age 50, are about to (I have 20 months to go!) or celebrated the milestone decades ago, a new book, Food & Fitness After 50: Eat Well, Move Well, and Be Well by Christine Rosenbloom, PhD, RD and Bob Murray, PhD is a great resource. It translates scientific research into simple, actionable steps to control food choices and fitness strategies for adults in their 50s, 60s, 70s and beyond.
The book explores:
*Healthy dietary patterns and the food choices necessary for adults over 50 to find the right balance of nutrients
*Exercise needed to preserve strength, build muscle, enhance endurance and maintain balance
*Tips for maintaining a healthy body weight, achieving fitness goals and dealing with stress, illness and injury.
Each chapter includes:
*A summary of key messages
*Stories of real people who overcame challenges to achieve healthy goals
*Self-assessments to help readers make better food and fitness decisions
*Commonly asked questions about health and nutrition topics for older adults
*Advice from nutrition and exercise experts over 50
*Tips from the authors on how they eat healthfully and stay physically active
Dr. Rosenbloom was kind enough to answer some questions about her book and what readers can expect to glean from it via email. Here’s what she had to say about this comprehensive, indispensable resource.
What was the impetus for writing this book?
When I was a college professor at Georgia State University I was also the sports dietitian for the athletic association, so I always loved providing nutrition information for active people. But, my graduate training was in gerontology and I taught a course on health and aging for many years. I always said when I retired from university teaching, I would bring my two favorite topics together in Food & Fitness After 50. So, the idea was born many years ago!
How did you and your co-author, Dr. Bob Murray, collaborate/divide and conquer to complete the book?
The idea to write the book was mine, but I knew to be even more credible I had to have an exercise scientist write the fitness chapters. I knew Dr. Bob Murray when he was the Director of the Gatorade Sports Science Institute and knew he was the perfect collaborator. We worked on the book proposal together, and wrote a 40-page outline that became the basis of the book… a working template of sorts. We wanted to have parallel structure in every chapter and similar elements (assessment, case studies, etc.). We also wanted to move away from academic writing to have a book that anyone could dive into any chapter and find what they were looking for; the book doesn’t have to be read cover to cover to get the information you seek. Bob wrote the hydration chapter and the three fitness chapters.
How long did it take to write the book from start to finish?
Two years from when we got our proposal approved and contracts signed. And, we were ahead of schedule, but the publisher had a development plan that they stuck to, even though we could have had to book out in a year and half.
Why did you choose 50+ as your target audience? How are people 50 and older differ from younger people in terms of their food and fitness needs and challenges?
The population is aging and Bob and I are in the target demographic! Every system in the body starts to change, usually not for the better, in mid-life, but many people ignore the changes, Then, when they get older they don’t know where to start or, worse, think it is too late to do anything about it. Our overarching message is that it is never too late to eat well, move well, and be well. Elisa, you certainly encourage physical activity every day with your inspiring social media efforts and we all need that encouragement, inspiration, and motivation.
Older adults are just as confused by the conflicting messages they read in the media or hear from well-meaning friends. We wanted to write a book that cut through the clutter by providing evidence-based information that was doable.
What was your biggest challenge when it came to writing your book?
Everyone is looking for a gimmick e.g. foods that will prevent wrinkles and erase age spots, or two-minute exercise routines that will build muscle, improve endurance, agility, and balance. The biggest challenge was to provide good information without making it gimmicky! As my co-author says, the gimmick about our book is that there is no gimmick! It is also a challenge to keep up with the emerging science; we wanted to incorporate the latest research, but as anyone knows who writes a book or a scientific article, there is always something you could add.
And, lastly, as a 30-year college professor, I wanted to include so much more in the book, but alas, no one wants to read a textbook.
What are three changes people 50 and older can do to improve their nutrient intake and fitness?
So many little things! When it comes to nutrient intake, I suggest they try to eat nutrient-rich foods at every meal and snack. It can be as simple as tossing a handful of spinach into scrambled eggs or adding leftover salad to a wrap sandwich. One of the biggest things older adults should to is up their protein intake to 25-30 grams at every meal to keep muscle from wasting away. For many it is a challenge to get that much protein at breakfast, but it is important to do it. Adding a slice of cheese to toast, drinking a glass of kefir, or eating a bowl of oatmeal with added peanut butter can start your day off with needed protein.
For those who have been sedentary, start moving more every day, all day. Many older adults get free or reduced gym or YMCA membership with their Medicare supplemental insurance, but don’t take advantage of it. Walking is great exercise, as is hiking or gardening. The key is to find something you like to do and then just do it! And, for muscle building, start lifting soup cans or milk cartons and then progress to hand weights or exercise bands.
What do you hope people get out of reading your book?
I hope they understand that food and fitness is not out of anyone’s reach or ability. I also hope they stop fearing food and learn to enjoy it, and also learn to love their body. I see so many people trying to make eating complicated and prescriptive; it needn’t be either one. And, I hope they realize that so much of what they read or hear about nutrition is just plain wrong! Hopefully, our book will help them learn to read beyond the headlines, learn that anyone can be a “nutritionist” and give (bad) advice, and learn to sit less and move more.
What advice about maintaining healthy food and fitness habits do you have for people who are sidelined by injury or illness or by caring for others?
The last chapter of the book is all about injury and illness; Bob and I share our personal stories of illness and injury to show that despite health problems you can make adaptations or find new activities. For me, I gave up running (my favorite exercise) when I had a hip replacement, but I now cycle, walk, and take aerobic dance and yoga classes.
We (especially women) tend to put others first, but being a good care taker means taking care of your self, too. So, it’s vital for all of us to make health a priority.
Disclosure: No goods or services were received in exchange for this post.
Leave a Reply
Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked