Fitness after 50 is even more important. After you turn 50, changes in your body, such as hormone fluctuations, affect your health in a variety of ways. Still, it’s also crucial to know that, unless you’ve been an athlete your entire life, you do need to be mindful about which exercises and activities you engage in. Finding something you want to do on a regular basis that doesn’t feel like exercise is a great motivator. Here are 7 fun workout trends you can own, plus one you might do well to pass on.
1. Tai Chi
Tai chi is a form of martial arts. It was developed in ancient China as a form of defense. But modern people often practice tai chi as a form of exercise. The movements are slow and beautiful, and tai chi can be practiced anywhere there is sufficient space. You might find people practicing tai chi in parks or at the beach as well as in gyms. Tai chi is perfect for women over 50 because it is impossible to exert yourself beyond the extent of your capabilities. The nature of the movements enables you to be perfectly aware of your body and its physical abilities.
2. Hula Hooping
Hula hooping, or just hula for short, is a trending exercise that women over 50 are embracing. You probably remember the child’s play thing, the hula hoop. Hula is just a way of exercising that takes advantage of the movement needed to keep that hula hoop going around and around. Hula hooping is not only a fun workout, it’s a great way to build core strength, which is something that women over 50 especially need. Once you get going—and you will, with practice—hula can even be rewarding on a mental level. It can supposedly bring mental peace and awareness on a level that’s akin to meditation.
3. Hula or Belly Dancing
Now, hula dancing is completely different than hula hooping. Hula dancing is what you see in Hawaii, especially during luaus. Hula dancing and belly dancing are sometimes taught at gyms, but you may have to call around to find a class near you. Both hula dancing and belly dancing are great at working your waist line, as well as strengthening your legs and upper arms. There are very specific movements to hula dancing, since the hand and arm movements are a form of sign language and they tell a story. However, if you just want to practice hula dancing at home without learning all the signs and symbols, there are exercise videos you can follow on your TV. Belly dancing is similar to hula dancing, but with an emphasis on hip movements. Again, follow-along videos are widely available so you can learn at home before breaking out your belly dancing moves in public!
4. Ballroom Dancing
Ever since the show “Dancing With the Stars” began, ballroom dancing has enjoyed a popular revival. As so many can attest to, ballroom dancing is a fun, social and highly effective method of getting in shape. You don’t have to be a celebrity to ballroom dance. You don’t even need prior experience. Ballroom dance instruction is available in most towns through independent establishments. Ballroom dancing offers all over body conditioning, with an emphasis on building leg and core muscles.
Kickboxing sounds like it would be a terrible idea for a woman over 50, but it’s actually not like it sounds. First of all, you aren’t really kicking anyone else. You’re simply “punching” the air with your legs. Kickboxing can be done in your living room in front of the TV, outside or in a gym. It doesn’t require any equipment. You don’t even need to wear shoes if you want to practice kickboxing at home. There are very specific movements involved in this sport/exercise, so it’s recommended you watch training videos until you get the hang of it. Kickboxing builds up core strength as well as arm and leg strength. It’s a fun workout for women over 50 because you really can go as slow as you want and still reap the same benefits. You can kick in slow motion or slice the air like a martial arts expert; it’s up to you and whatever level you’re comfortable with.
As a no-stress, no impact sport, swimming is always a great exercise option. It offers aerobic benefits as well as muscle building through resistance. You can get even more out of your swim time by adding light pool weights to your ankles or holding small pool weights in your hands, as you move in the water. The most challenging part of taking up swimming is finding a pool to swim in. You either have to have your own private pool or a community pool or a gym membership. Once you do find a pool, practice swimming as much as you can. You don’t even need to have the moves of an Olympic swimmer to reap the benefits. Even if you just tread water with pool weights for several minutes, you’ll get most of the same benefits as if you swam laps.
If you like to be out on the water but don’t necessarily want to be in the water, you might like to try paddleboarding. Paddleboarding looks incredibly hard, but it’s surprisingly easy to get started. The paddleboard itself is fairly wide and it almost balances itself. No prior surfing experience necessary! Paddleboarding is excellent for strengthening core muscle groups, but you’ll also feel this fun workout in your arms and legs. It’s essential to use the right length of paddle according to your height as well as use the right stroking technique, so be sure to consult with an experienced paddleboarder before your first outing.
The most important part of exercising after 50 is finding something that you love doing. If you constantly have to fight with yourself to go exercise, that’s no fun. Eventually, you’ll lose that argument. So try one or more of these fitness trends and see which one feels right.
Now, for one fitness trend you should pass on.
Yes, you read that right. Young women are paying to be trained in the ring. It’s said to be a great way to relieve stress and tension, and it probably is. But it’s also a great way for women over 50 to get seriously hurt. You don’t need to engage in one of the most violent sports in order to get in or stay in shape. Boxing can cause serious harm, especially when you’re sparring with a real person – not just a heavy bag.
So there you have it. Seven fitness trends you should try and at least one you should ignore. Whatever you do, don’t spend too much time thinking about it. As the ad says, just do it!