Exercise After 50 – More important to health than ever

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This article will not be talking about exercise in your 20’s, 30’s or 40’s because the betting is if you are reading this you are already staring at 50 something.

You go through life thinking you are invincible then suddenly, often out of the blue, your body starts to let you down. Aches and pains develop in muscles and joints you didn’t know you had. You start to grow hair were you don’t want it and loose it were you do. Your eye’s and teeth play up, shopping bags seem heavier, you get out of breath just mowing the lawn and the weight seems to pile on even when you drink a glass of water. The final indication you are getting old is the noise you always make when you get up out of a chair- sounds familiar.

OK it isn’t fair but turning 50 or even 60 isn’t an excuse for not exercising. Of course you need to be realistic, your body will not be able to do what it did when it was 20 but just small amounts of regular exercise can make huge differences in how you feel and act. Study after study has shown that regular exercise can thwart a number of factors that go along with aging (stress, balance issues, osteoporosis, heart disease, diabetes and obesity, to name a few) so exercising later in life is more important than ever as now it’s more a matter of survival or at the very least an in increase in the quality of life.

So were do you start? If you haven’t exercised before or for a long period of time then see your GP and get a check up. After that you need to look at the three main areas of fitness-strength, cardiovascular and flexibility.

A weight training program and some cardiovascular activity is highly recommended.
Experts recommend that 50 year olds should strive for 3-4 cardio sessions a week (20-30 minutes each) and a half hour of weight training twice a week.

You don’t have to push it to the limit. Listen to your body and don’t over do it. Train gently and increase your intensity slowly but be consistent as this is the most important aspect of any exercise programme. When lifting weights use lightweights and focus more on slow and controlled movements. For flexibility try yoga or pilates.

Don’t let aches be an excuse for not training but training should cease if you feel any sharp or consistent pain.

Whatever age you are you need to push yourself physically but being older and wiser you will be able to give it a little more thought on how you do so. But be assured the sense of exhilaration, joy and accomplishment you will feel from doing it will be amazing.

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