In your 50s, 60s or even 70s, it’s not too late to put yourself forward and make your health a priority.
How to start a health and fitness journey at an old age? Rather than focusing on goals that seem unattainable or untenable to you, you are better off focusing on lifestyle activities that will keep you active and exploring – and having fun.
Connie Smith, director of healthy lifestyles at Florida’s First Coast YMCA, says to try something new.
“Try something different that you’ve never done before, each month, and it will keep you going,” says Smith.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the American Heart Association recommend that adults of all ages get 150 minutes of exercise per week (
But don’t let the large numbers overwhelm you before you start. If you start small and find out what you like, you’ll find that there is an exercise for you that doesn’t even sound like an exercise.
Here are some ideas to get you started.
Don’t be intimidated into shedding some weight. Strength training, strength training, or resistance training – however you want to refer to it – are essential for optimal health.
Older people particularly benefit from a reduced risk of injury and falls, greater ease in daily tasks and improved mood, mobility and mental function, all thanks to the ‘strength training (3).
“It helps with living,” said Jermaine Solomon, personal trainer and owner of Maximum Effort Fitness & Performance Training.
He trains clients both in a retirement community and in his own gym and often incorporates weights into their fitness programs. “When you sit down and stand up, but hold weights while you’re doing it, it goes a long way,” Solomon said.
You can also simply work out with your own body weight. Smith said, “If you’re looking to lose just a little weight, body weight is really great for the joints.” Using a variety of weights in a variety of exercises allows you to make this part of your fitness journey and keep it unique.
Jumping into the pool for a game of watersports is another way to start your fitness routine. In addition to being a cardiovascular exercise, swimming allows for strength training thanks to the resistance of the water (
If you’d rather do something more fun in the pool rather than swim, try water aerobics. It gives you the benefits of group swimming and fitness at the same time.
Smith said: “Water aerobics is just fabulous for this age group.” The resistance of the water and the cushion it provides for reduced impact on the joints allows you to gain strength in a way that minimizes aches and pains.
Zumba is a great activity for those who love to dance. Combining dance moves with aerobic training, Zumba is a way to exercise without feeling like you’re exercising.
“You don’t think about the fact that you are exercising,” Solomon said. “Some people dread the word exercise and so that feeling really makes it a whole lot better.”
When it comes to training to strengthen your body and clear your mind, there is no better activity than yoga. It can be done alone or in groups, indoors or outdoors, with puppies, babies or even goats.
Yoga ticks the box when it comes to resistance training because you move and maintain your body weight through asanas. It also helps with balance and mobility with age (5, 6).
Smith said she recommends yoga for people in their 50s and 60s who are struggling to reset their lives.
“You can start with chair yoga if you don’t want to get on the floor,” she said. Whichever way you feel most comfortable getting started, give it a try. Smith added, “Yoga gives you that mental balance that comes with some of the things that happen in life… yoga has a lot to do with giving back to yourself.
Running is one of those exercises that you love or hate. However, for those who love it, there is no reason to stop as they get older. While running doesn’t have a low impact and can stress the knees and other joints, Solomon said you might want to switch to a treadmill to reduce the impact.
But if you like the mental clarity you gain from being outdoors and exercising in the great outdoors, hiking may be better for you.
You’ll burn more calories than walking alone, and the benefits of being outdoors include improved mood, self-esteem, and emotional response, as well as decreased fatigue during exercise. exercise (
Cycling can be done indoors or outdoors. Smith notes: “An all-age spin class is not only fabulous from a cardio standpoint, but also from a mental health perspective… you’re in that dark room and you can just let life go for it. 45 minutes to an hour. ”
If a traditional biking or spinning class isn’t for you, try a recumbent bike. Many now have a screen attached, allowing you to watch Netflix or stream other content. Solomon says you aren’t so focused on watching TV that you forget you’re supposed to be exercising.
Horseback riding makes you sweat, engages your joints, muscles and core, and allows you to be outdoors and commune with animals and nature. Again, you might even forget you’re exercising while on the back of a horse, feeling the breeze as you ride.
For people who want to prepare for horseback riding, Smith suggests consulting a personal trainer first. “If you do things like horseback riding, you have to know how to ride a horse. So, we’re going to be doing things like hip openers and strengthening you so that you can get on the horse.
If participating in trendy fitness exercises isn’t your thing, maybe you’d rather work towards a goal on your to-do list. Smith said she trained people in their 50s and 60s to walk the Great Wall of China, scuba dive the Great Barrier Reef or even climb Mount Kilimanjaro in Africa.
For these ready-made fitness activities, you have a definitive goal that you are trying to achieve. Smith says finding the right exercises to achieve that goal will help keep you motivated to reach that goal.
When training for a mountain hike, for example, she recommends taking fitness classes that focus on breathing work and using the Jacob’s Ladder device to get used to climbing.
“Jacob’s ladder is actually a sliding ladder, so you hang on with your feet and hands and sort of climb. This is one way of allowing you to simulate rock climbing.
Whether you’re exercising to maintain your health or taking certain accomplishments off your to-do list, it’s never too late to prioritize your health and fitness.
Solomon says to remember that the reason we exercise is so much more than physical benefits – it’s about keeping your heart healthy. “If you stop [moving] each day your heart might start to slow down, and it’s much harder to start over, rather than keep it going and keep it going. ”
Finding a way to move that makes you feel good will go a long way. Either way, Smith said that at this age you need to apply the Nike phrase to your fitness: “Just do it. “
Nikesha Elise Williams is a short story producer and two-time award-winning author. She was born and raised in Chicago, Illinois, and attended Florida State University, where she earned a Bachelor of Science in Communication: Mass Media Studies and Creative Writing in English with Honors. Nikesha’s first novel, “Four Women,” received the 2018 Florida Authors and Publishers Association President’s Award in the Contemporary / Adult Literary Fiction category. “Four Women” was also recognized by the National Association of Black Journalists as an outstanding literary work. Nikesha is a full-time writer and writing coach and has worked freelance for several publications including VOX, Very Smart Brothas and Shadow and Act. Nikesha lives in Jacksonville, Florida, but you can still find her online at email@example.com, Facebook.com/NikeshaElise or @Nikesha_Elise on Twitter and Instagram.