For those of you who have been working out for years, especially if under the watchful guidance of a certified fitness coach or trainer, good for you! Keep up the good work – with perhaps some modifications.
Staying fit after 50 and active as you grow older can pay off in helping prevent the onset of many degenerative diseases, such as heart disease or joint ailments. Endurance exercises for cardio and lungs, strength training for muscles, balancing exercises for helping reduce the chance of falls and flexibility training should all be included in your fitness regimen. Swimming can be extremely helpful in re-introducing movement in older adults looking for a low impact workout.
Stay Fit After 50
Regardless of how well you eat, or how healthy your lifestyle and living habits may be, the fact is you’re getting older. Thyroids slow down, making keeping the calories off even more challenging as metabolisms feel like they’re coming to a screeching halt. For women, especially, the loss of hormones after menopause may make weight gain even more difficult to prevent, even with exercise and diet.
Another aspect of being fit after 50 is to be sure that you’re eating healthy foods and not snacking on empty calories. It’s best to keep fast food and other diet saboteurs off the menu entirely. And of course, exercise; as we all know, diet alone can’t do the job. You have to include regular moderate exercise into your daily routine.
If you are new to gyms or exercise in general, congratulations on making the decision to take charge of your health. According to some studies, working with a trainer or fitness coach may help you do a better job of staying motivated to continue your exercise regimen. (Be sure to first have a doctor check you over for any possible hidden health issues that may impact your ability to exercise or perform certain exercises.)
When considering whether to join a gym or fitness center, be sure to check out the credentials of its personnel. What should you look for in a trainer or fitness coach? Experience, of course, as well as what type of certification, such as those provided by the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM), which can be a good indicator that your instructor has had professional training. Be sure, too, that your instructor is experienced in working with older students so that you aren’t pushed into overdoing it and risking injury (or worse.)
If your goal is to be fit after 50 but you’re currently an exercise newbie, you will probably want to begin with gentler, more low-impact exercise, at least at the beginning, if your body isn’t used to moving or if there have been recent medical issues that preclude more vigorous exercise.
One good approach for those who need a more gradual introduction to movement is tai chi and yoga. Tai chi, especially, is a good way for older students to mindfully and slowly move in a low-impact manner to help muscle tone, coordination and retain flexibility. Yoga, a system which combines focused breathing with physical postures and relaxation techniques, can be helpful for those with back pain or other conditions that preclude traditional exercise.