As someone who will turn the big 5-0 in just a few short months, I am fully aware of the mixed emotions that number can bring. But while it is a “milestone” birthday, 50 looks a lot different today than it has in generations past.
Today’s 50-year-old is more fabulous than frumpy. She is more likely to prefer stilettos to sensible shoes and triathlons over trifocals. Don’t believe me? Just look at the fit, fierce, and 50-year-old J-Lo!
The reality is, our bodies were designed to age, and things like slower metabolism, hormonal changes, and decreasing bone density can present challenges when it comes to getting or maintaining a fit physique. That doesn’t mean it can’t be done—it just means you may have to work a little harder.
Here are a few tips for staying fit over 50 that will not only keep you looking your best, but they’ll also have you feeling great too—and that’s what it’s all about!
Look for low impact. As we get older, the less wear and tear we can put on our bodies, the better. That doesn’t mean you should forgo a high-intensity workout, though. Try activities like indoor cycling, brisk walking, or swimming to get your heart rate up and tone your muscles without adding unnecessary stress and strain to your joints.
Local fitness centers and pools offer a wide variety of water workouts and activities, so don’t hesitate to check out the options and get started. If you can get a friend to go with you, it would be even more fun, or you can take the opportunity to try to meet some new people that will join you on your fitness journey.
Show up for strength training. Unfortunately, many women shy away from strength training because they are afraid of “bulking” or are intimidated by the weight room at the gym. But strength training is even more critical as we age to help prevent the loss of bone density and muscle mass.
Not sure how to begin? Join a group strength training class or hire a personal trainer to help you with proper form. You can also download one of the thousands of strength training apps out there, grab some light dumbbells, and work out in the privacy of your living room using your smartphone or tablet.
And no, you won’t bulk, but you will see a stronger, more shapely physique, and, more importantly, you will be able to perform daily functional movements like carrying groceries or picking up grandchildren with ease.
Consider your core. People tend to think of core and abs as interchangeable, but the truth is that your core encompasses everything from abs to lower back, hips, and pelvis. It is at the center of most of our daily movements, and when it is weak, you risk falls, back injuries, and other issues. A strong core helps with balance, posture, and lower back ailments, and overall stability. A plank is one of the most effective exercises for working your core, and it can be done anytime, anywhere—no gym required. Keep in mind that not all core strengthening exercises are created equal and that some can do more harm than good. Pay attention to your body and find workouts that strengthen your core without straining your back.
Our 5-Minute Barre series on YouTube can also help! Watch below and subscribe to our YouTube channel for more fitness videos.
Find some flexibility. Our range of motion can decrease as we age due to deterioration in the muscles and joints, which in turn can increase our risk of injury. Stretching, lengthening, and strengthening the muscles should be a regular part of your fitness routine. Try incorporating yoga or Pilates into your schedule to keep your body fit and flexible. Make sure you always stretch both before and after a workout as well. The warm-up and cool-down stages of a workout are steps that are skipped far too often and can make a huge difference in how you feel after a good fitness session.
Quality of life is critical as we get older, and keeping our bodies healthy and active plays a large part in keeping us injury-free and feeling good. Staying fit is a key aspect of aging well and living a life that we’ll enjoy, and there are a wealth of choices out there that will show results while keeping it fun. Don’t hesitate to encourage those around you to join you on your fitness journey either, because having a friend along can keep you focused on making progress every day and can improve their health as well. So get moving and stay active because the best years are yet to come!