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Staying active over 50 may include playing your favorite sport.
Fitness

Move it or lose it: Staying Active Over 50

The saying “move it or lose it” has been around forever…in general and in our lifetimes. I’ve thought of it as a joke. For example: When you are in line and someone says “move it or lose it” because you’re not paying attention as the line moves forward. I’ve thought of it as an inspiration when I was competing. You have to keep moving and staying in top form or you’ll lose your place on the team or your ranking for your event.

At 50, move it or lose it has a whole new meaning

We risk losing more than our competitive edge now. We risk missing out on the fun things in life. We risk losing our minds hypothetically and in actuality. First of all, you’re not just going to lose it — you’re going to be miserable trying to do little things that were easy in the past, like walking from place to place on vacation or even just carrying your own groceries.

This is not to say don’t start now. It’s to say start now and keep going. Stay with it.

If you miss a day or two or even a week or a month, go and get back on the train. Just go slow and don’t get discouraged.

Lots of people ask me about the activities I do. The main question is whether they can start now. Being active is like any other choice. You decide. You do it a little at a time and see what you like. There are so many choices now for women in their prime. The benefit of starting now is that you probably have more of your own time. Either you’ve raised your children and have less responsibility with them, or you’ve acquired plenty of vacation days with your career or retired or a combo.

Staying active over 50 could include finding someone to be active with.

I suggest looking at Meetup and finding activities that pique your interest. Use the activities posted for suggestions to try yourself or attend the group outings for the activity. Find others interested in doing some of the same things. So much information is available through social media and the internet you just need to type in your interests and a plethora of information comes up for how-tos and where-tos. Just set a schedule like you would for work or managing the family and set a goal.

>READ: MORNING EXERCISE TIPS: DOS AND DON’TS THAT MIGHT SURPRISE YOU

Retaining bone density is an important thing to consider

You will lose it if you don’t do weight-bearing exercise on a regular basis. The older we get, the more common this problem becomes. We need to do things that require stressing our muscles to stimulate bone strength. We all need to do weight-bearing exercise, which can include walking, hiking, lifting weights or even exercises that involve our body weight such as squats, lunges or push-ups. If the thought of conventional exercise makes you uncomfortable think creatively and use everyday chores to keep your bones healthy.

Gardening is actually a great way to stay active over 50.

Gardening and housework done for set periods of time can help meet bone density requirements. Don’t forget, taking care of grandkids counts. This requires lots of weight lifting and walking and sometimes running. Pay attention to how you approach this activity and see how much you are doing. Sometimes you don’t realize how active you already are. Or you don’t realize how a change in habits can make a normal activity more fruitful. A little more of a chore or a little walking or actual playing with the grandkids can go a long way. Aim for 30 minutes a day.

Pick a sport back up

If in the past you’ve enjoyed sports such as tennis, swimming or bowling there is no time like the present to get back into your sport. Make sure you keep at it so that you maintain your agility and the cardio fitness necessary to enjoy the sport. When we were young, we could take a break for the summer or winter and then come back and jump in with some soreness. But at this age you’re risking more than soreness by taking an extended break — you’re risking your mobility. You’re risking losing your ability to stay in the game.

Bicycling is a great way to stay active. To lessen your chance of falling, consider a recumbent bike or tricycle.

Most things aren’t as easy as riding a bike. In fact, you’ll find riding a bike isn’t that easy if you haven’t been on one for a decade or more. Staying up on two wheels takes balance and coordination which requires practice. Don’t let these things discourage you from exploring the world of cycling. There are so many choices in bike types now that you have other ways to cycle. Check out your local bike store or go online to see all of the new ways to get out on the trail or street.

Part of the equation of moving it is the fear factor that starts to creep in as we age.

We are old enough to know things that we didn’t in our youth. When we were younger, we didn’t worry about getting hurt. Now we think about it sometimes too much.

If you haven’t been active in a while, you tend to concentrate on why you can’t do something rather than why you can.

It’s better to stay with it. The more you do it, the less you think about it. I always remind myself of the fact that people get hurt all the time doing everyday things like stepping off a curb or slipping on something or even getting out of the car wrong. If I am going to get hurt, I’d rather have an interesting reason.

>READ: KEEP MOVING: 21 TIPS FOR STAYING ACTIVE AFTER 50

Which brings up the best reason to stay active — it helps keep you mentally alert.

Studies have proven that mature adults who exercise their “little grey cells” are less prone to degenerative mental disorders such as Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia. Being active helps your mind. It gives you a better time to think AND it gives you a break from thinking too much. In this case, move it or lose it means stop being active and you start to lose your mind one way or the other!

Having trouble getting motivated to move it? Put on your walking shoes. Or your tennis skirt. Or whatever will signal your brain that you want to move. Set alarms. Reward yourself when you follow through. Promise a friend you’ll meet them. Tell your grandkids you want to play more and let them remind you. Declare your intention on social media or to someone who will help keep you accountable. Decide Wednesdays are gardening days. Often times if you just get started and stick with it long enough to become a habit, you’ll start feeling good enough you’ll really want to move physically as well as mentally.

>READ: WOMEN EVERYWHERE ARE FINDING TIME FOR A DAILY WORKOUT ROUTINE

>WATCH: VIDEO: LOWER BODY EXERCISE WITHOUT LUNGES OR SQUATS FOR PRIME WOMEN

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