Staying Fit After Fifty
When You’re Over 50 Fitness Helps You Feel Young
Now that you’re over 50 fitness being healthy may be rising to the top of your priority list. If you’ve consistently followed a well balanced fitness program through the years you’ve probably arrived at this stage of life in pretty good shape. If not you may already be noticing some not so great changes.
Your posture may be a little slumped. Going up a flight of stairs could leave you breathless. Maybe your joints are stiff and achy and you can’t hop out of bed in the morning.
Before you blame it all on age let me ask you this…Are you nurturing your body in ways that will allow you to enjoy the rest of your life? Is your lifestyle preparing you to enjoy your golden years or fill them with doctor visits?
Studies have repeatedly shown that many difficulties associated with aging are linked to inactivity. That’s good news. It means for a woman over 50 fitness has a lot to offer.
Regular physical activity may help lessen those bothersome menopausal symptoms . It lowers your risk of osteoporosis, heart disease and diabetes. And while you’ll never be 20 again, it’s possible to feel and function up to 20 years younger just by following a regular exercise program.
In a nutshell if you want to look and feel great, stay independant and enjoy life, it’s time to get active.
Taking a wise approach to exercise is best. So lets begin by taking a look at what may be happening within you and then what you can do about it…
Over 50 Fitness Is Effected By Age-Related Changes
How fit you are at any age is measured by the 5 components of physical fitness: posture, flexibility, balance, strength and endurance. Changes occur in each of these domains over time – more so if you lead a sedentary life.
Years of sitting at a desk or computer, lifting children, carrying a purse can create changes in your postural alignment. Any poor pattern of movement if done frequently enough will do it. Your head shifts forward, your shoulders begin to round, the curves of your spine change and your hips and knees don’t straighten well.
The loss of muscle mass that accompanies menopause,(if you aren’t active) can increase these postural distortions.
Collagen, a fibrous connective tissue, is part of your skin, msucle tendons, bone, ligaments and cartilage. As you age or become sedentary your collagen fibers tend to stick together instead of gliding smoothly over each other. Your muscles, tendons, ligaments and joints become less elastic and you lose flexibility .
Decreasing estrogen levels around the time of peri-menopause and menopause can lead to decreased muscle mass. Less muscle mass – less strength.
The circulatory, digestive and neurological systems slow with age. This decrease in input and nutrients to the muscles is also though to play a part in loss of strength.
Postural changes, loss of flexibility, weakening of muscles and less blood flow to the brain all put your body at a disadvantage when it has to respond to a balance challenge.
Getting up on a step stool, playing with your grandkids or going dancing may put you at risk for a fall.
Endurance is your ability to perform an activity for a long period of time. When you are weaker and/or tighter it takes more energy to move. End result – you tire more quickly.
We also lose elasticity in our lungs, airways and blood vessels as we age adding to our loss of endurance.
Sounds lovely doesn’t it?
Not to worry. There is an antidote to the changes years of sedentary living bring – exercise.
No matter what your age or current condition, you can improve all 5 components of physical fitness. Exercises, especially the ones that focus on your particular needs, can have you seeing results in just a few weeks.
Over 50 Fitness Tips
A well balanced fitness program includes aerobic exercise, strengthening, stretching, balance activities and postural alignment exercises. How much of each and what intensity depends on your current condition and how fit you want or need to become…
First begin by deciding what you want. Take some time and realy think about how important you health and wellbeing is to you. Surround yourself with pictures and thoughts of wellness and what it means to you. Create a vision for yourself.
Next assess yourself in each of the 5 domains of fitness. Only when you know your starting point can you develop a safe, effective program that meets your needs.
Learn about the areas that you need and want to focus on based on the results of your fitness tests.
Using your fitness vision and the results of your fitness tests, set some action-based fitness goals.
Make sure you learn correct form with the activites you choose in order to avoid injury. If you’re not a self – starter or you have a chronic illness or condition, get professional help in building your program.
Start slowly and progress gradually.
Along the way keep educated yourself and learn how to stay motivated. Remember exercise only works if it’s done regularly.
One More Over 50 Fitness Tip
Just move. When you’re over 50 fitness doesn’t mean just formal exercise. Every little bit helps. Here are some ideas…
- Walk the dog if you have one. You’ll both benefit.
- Take the furthest parking spot and get a few more steps in.
- Every chance you get take the stairs instead of the elevator.
- Put some walking shoes in your car so you are ready whenever oportunity calls.
- Stop using the remote, start using your legs.
- Get up and move during commercials.
Lets face it the list is endless.