It’s never too late to start exercising. Maybe it hasn’t been a priority of yours, but eventually, a lack of movement will catch up with you. Regular activity is necessary to stay healthy and prevent common age-related maladies like heart disease, high blood pressure, obesity, and diabetes. It also encourages healthy muscles, joints, and bones.
We get it; if you’ve never exercised before, it can be hard to start. But studies have shown that just starting a workout routine later in life has a range of benefits, like boosting heart health. Here’s how you can begin introducing regular exercise into your life after 50.
Find your motivation
First things first; why do you want to start working out? Maybe your doctor prescribed more activity, or you’re hoping to trim down a bit, or you just want more energy to keep up with your grandkids. Finding your reason for being more active will help to keep you focused on it as a goal. Eventually, it will become a part of your lifestyle, and after noticing how good staying active makes you feel, it will be much easier to.
Keep it regular
It’s called a routine for a reason. To see any benefit from exercise for the 50+ crowd, doctors recommend at least 30 minutes of moderate to vigorous aerobic activity, such as brisk walking and muscle strengthening exercises, at least two days each week. Tempted to skip workouts? Try finding a way to hold yourself accountable, whether that means meeting a friend for weekly walks, pre-registering for group classes (meaning you’re losing money if you don’t go), or scheduling sessions with your gym’s personal trainer.
The truth is, your body just can’t recover as quickly as you age, so if you are trying to start a workout routine for the first time, focus on low-intensity exercises that won’t leave you overly sore (or worse, injured). Try some at-home strength workouts to get going, then slowly work up to light weightlifting at the gym, yoga or fitness classes, or more high-intensity training. Try to leave at least 48 hours between training the same muscle group to allow recovery time. And most importantly, listen to your body. If something doesn’t feel right, don’t over-do it. By the way, a comfortable activewear is a must-have gear for gym, running, yoga and more.
Try out a variety of activities
Experiment a little with different types of workouts and find what feels right for you. Join a gym and try out the different fitness classes they have to offer. Eventually, you may find one that sticks. Or ditch the gym and go for a bike ride, take a hike, do a drop-in Zumba, class or swim some laps at the local pool. Experts say it’s good to focus on a combination of strength training, cardiovascular training, and balance training, so trying out different types of exercise will benefit you overall.
You don’t have to go to the gym to workout
Plenty of activities can get you moving and keep you healthy. Gardening, walking the dog, playing with your grandkids, or going on a hike or bike ride are all great ways to burn some calories, and can be peppered into your day naturally and enjoyably. Exercise doesn’t have to be a chore!
Incorporate some strength-training and flexibility exercises
While light daily activity and getting 10,000 steps a day is extremely beneficial to your health, it’s also important to work in strength, balance, and flexibility training to your exercise routine. Without some kind of strength-building exercises, your muscles will start to atrophy and lose mass as you get older, increasing your risk of injury. Try light weight-lifting, or yoga for balance and flexibility. And make sure to stretch after every workout!
Please consult with your physician before beginning an exercise routine.
Sinclair Broadcast Group is committed to the health and well-being of our viewers, which is why we initiated Sinclair Cares. Every month we’ll bring you information about the “Cause of the Month,” including topical information, education, awareness, and prevention. September is Healthy Aging Month.