Baby boomers account for the fastest growing segment in the fitness industry, today. Membership sign up’s to health clubs have increased 346% from 2003 – 2015 for this segment of the population! What is attracting this type of growth? Let’s take a deeper look into “fitness after 50.”
For some they have entered the “me” time of life where the kids are grown up enough to somewhat take care of themselves, their careers are on auto pilot, and they want to live life to the fullest. Some might find that a little bit of exercise is a great stress reliever, and others are interested in fitness trends that are raving across the nation.
Whatever the reason may be it’s never too late or too soon to start a regular physical fitness regimen. Here are some tips for getting fit and discovering how great you can feel once you have hit the half of a century mark.
Tips and Tricks to Fitness After 50
1. Your Age Is Just A Number
It’s a common belief among fitness experts that we really have two ages. We have our chronological age which is our actual birth year age and then we have our physical age. A 50-year-old with less than 8% body fat that competes in cycling events on the weekends and exercises between 8 & 10 hours a week has a much younger physical age than 50.
Conversely, someone who weighs 250 lbs, stands 5’ 10 inches tall, smokes and never exercises probably has a physical age much higher than 50. Given that, there is good news and bad news. The bad news is that we can not change our chronological age. The good news is that we can change our physical age and it starts the first day you commit to getting healthy.
When starting a physical fitness routine it’s important to be honest with yourself about your physical age. Going out and training like you are 30 years old again can lead to injury and create setbacks. Starting out too slow may delay any progress that you see which can cause you to become unmotivated.
It’s important to check in with a health professional before starting any physical fitness plan. Also, look for fitness instructors who give you a proper evaluation before recommending any physical activity.
2. Set Reasonable Goals That Are Attainable
When I was 30 and working out, it was all about getting a great looking body. Some of us post 50 can reach those results; however, most of us can not and we shouldn’t focus on it. Genetics play a big role in that but so does motivation, diet, and drive. A different way to approach exercise over 50 is to think about it as creating a healthy lifestyle, a better lifestyle. It’s great to set weight goals or a fitness goal like running a 10k, and you should set goals! But it should be less about that.
Begin exercising based on your current physical condition, not where you want to be. Starting off walking two miles is a great gauge to tell you where you are at physically. Keep track of how long it takes you, how sore you are when finished, and ask yourself are you breathing heavy?
Additionally, never forget to stretch! Stretching does wonders for your body and muscles. Avoid tight, cramped muscles and built up tension by stretching before and after a workout. You can also benefit from taking breaks during the day or at work to just stand up and stretch!
Keep in mind, this is a great time to try a new activity! Physical exercise is not limited to running or weights. Pick up tennis, start hiking on Saturday mornings, walk the golf course instead of riding in a cart. These are all great choices to get your heart pumping, get your blood flowing and get you moving.
Fitness after 50 is a fulfilling marathon, not a sprint! Whether you have been active your whole life or just starting down the path it’s important to have the proper mindset after 50 in order to enjoy the process and keep going for the next 30 years of your life and beyond!
3. Back To The Basics
The great thing about exercise is that about every 5 years the whole industry evolves! There have been so many studies done that folks today are getting the absolute best training advice that has ever existed. Not to mention a handful of health and exercise ideas, tips and activities are shared across the web every minute. You can find specific workouts geared towards every type of fitness goal in a matter of minutes. Starting an exercise regimen at 50 or older has never been easier! Here are some popular ways to get up and get moving in today’s age.
A. Cardio – Go out for a light jog or walk. It’s a community out there, say hello to others who are also exercising, who knows maybe you can even make some new friends?
B. Yoga – As we age our flexibility goes out the window. Yoga will help you stretch those muscles you forgot were there and will give your posture a boost.
C. Core Training – Today the trend is core training. A strong core is the foundation of the body. It’s your armor. From your abdominal obliques down to your glutes, these are areas to focus on strengthening. Exercises using resistant bands and your own body weight is all you need to begin.
D. Balance – Hand in hand with core training comes balance. Using a kettle ball to do single leg raises is a great exercise to start with. Rotating from the core to throw a ball against a wall is another easy exercise to improve your balance and get your core firing.
4. Go Heavy When You Are Ready
I have some friends who are freakishly strong even well past 50. Typically these are the guys or gals that have been active their whole lives. Once you have been in a good solid routine of physical activity for a couple months, start looking at doing more complex, full body strength and conditioning exercises.
Think of Rocky training for his biggest fight against the Russian. Split some wood, carry a log on a walk for 1 mile, grab some sandbags and move them around your yard for 15 minutes. The great thing about being in shape is that you can turn chores into workouts and kill two birds with one stone! Get creative and have fun with exercise.
5. You Are What You Eat
After 50, your body really wants to put on weight. Your metabolism is slowing down, and weight shifts downward due to gravity. Cutting out processed food is your biggest friend in this battle. Go back to the basics when it comes to your diet and focus on foods that will give you the energy to last all day!
Drinking as much water as you can especially on days you are exercising is important to good overall health. Get as much sleep as you need and listen to your body when it comes to how hard to push.
Fitness after 50 also means taking care of your brain. Read a book, take a class on a subject you are interested in or start doing crossword puzzles. Mental fitness will help you in your workouts by staying focused and bringing clarity to your goals. And, most importantly, remember to have fun! Fitness is not a chore, it’s a great way to relax, and feel good. Workout with friends or loved ones, get creative, enjoy a good laugh and make the most of it!
There has never been a better time to get fit! Once you start you will find camaraderie all around you to keep you going. One generation ago people hoped to make it to 65 to collect social security. Now, 50-year-olds want to live like 35-year-olds and they can if they start a physically active routine and stick to it.
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