Staying fit is an important factor to leading a healthy life. Many women over 50 enjoy adding fitness to their weekly or daily routines. But for even the most dedicated, fitness mistakes happen. Luckily, with a little commitment, research, and practice, you can correct them and be on your way to top fitness shape.
Top Fitness Mistakes
Fitness mistakes vary according to the person and the activity they’re doing. However, common fitness mistakes for women over 50 involve the bones and muscles. They include:
- Not strengthening the muscles;
- Relying on machines at the gym rather than body strength;
- Not taking in the right nutrients;
- Dehydrating rather than hydrating;
- Not staying dedicated to a fitness routine.
#1: Strength Training
As we grow older, we lose muscle mass and bone density. That makes these parts of the body easier to injure, even while working out. Therefore, it is important to target those areas through strength training exercises whenever possible.
But often when we think of strengthening our muscles, lifting heavy weights comes to mind. Actually, our body weight may be all we need to get the job done. According to Steve Gonser, PT DPT, a physical therapist and founder of RunSmartOnline, “By avoiding machines [and using body weights or free weights instead] … women over 50 can avoid isolating muscle groups and switch to strengthening multiple muscles at the same time. This not only improves strength but can also help burn more calories and improve bone health.”
Erica Bazzell, CPT and owner of Power of 3 Wellness, adds: “Strength training will help to combat osteopenia and osteoporosis in women. Bodyweight exercises to build strength — like squats, lunges, and pushups — can be a great place to start.”
We’ve heard many times that we should focus on a balanced diet of fruits and vegetables to make sure we’re getting the right nutrients every day. However, often after a workout, we turn to calorie-dense, sugary or fatty snacks and meals to reward our efforts. That choice hurts us even though it might help us feel good in the moment.
Another fitness mistake lies in not knowing what to eat or how much before and after our workouts. Bazzell says, “Women over 50 often don’t know where to start when choosing a … nutrition plan, so they tend to pick whatever is accessible to them — whatever they can find that somewhat appeals to them. This usually doesn’t take into account what women over 50 actually need in order to become or remain healthy.”
So what do we actually need? According to the National Institute on Aging, “Eating foods that are rich in calcium and vitamin D” helps strengthen our bones. Examples of these types of foods include cheese, milk, soybeans, tofu, fish, and leafy green vegetables. Other vitamins great to weave into your diet include vitamin E, vitamin K, and vitamin B-12.
The latest Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2015–2020 does not state a specific daily amount of water for humans to drink. However, health and nutrition professionals agree water is essential to a fitter, better life. It regulates body temperature, protects important organs, and helps remove harmful products from the body.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend that people drink when they’re thirsty and at mealtime. These tips might seem easy to do, but actually, many people end up creating a big fitness mistake by not following them correctly.
That is because most of us regularly consume sugary drinks like soft drinks, juice, or flavored water. The sugar in those drinks can deplete the body of nutrients and lead to dehydration. Therefore, consider adding more water to your diet instead. After all, your body craves it and reaps major benefits from it — plus, it’s calorie free.
Like any new relationship, starting a fitness routine takes time, patience, and commitment before seeing results. Brian Goldsmith, a former personal trainer and current Team USA Triathlete, recommends that in order to stay true to a routine: “Write down your goals and put them somewhere visible where you see them every day. Personal accountability is essential to achieving personal growth.”
Personal trainer Joelle Mathews suggests changing up a workout routine to add variety: “It’s important to change up our exercise program not only as we age but to keep our body guessing. Our body is way smarter than we are and will plateau if we don’t change things up. Adding something new once in a while can change body composition, sharpen your mind, and keep things fun.”
Correcting Your Fitness Mistakes
If you’re guilty of making these common fitness mistakes, break the habit now. Get a personal trainer, talk to a nutritionist, or invest in home workout equipment to get you active in the right way! A workout or accountability buddy can also help you meet your goals. No matter what route you choose, know you don’t have to do it alone.
Now that we’ve covered common fitness mistakes, let’s chat about cellulite. Here’s a four-step workout that will help you reduce its appearance.