As you get older, you will experience some changes in your body. You may notice you get tired more easily or you may have difficulties sleeping. You may need reading glasses or even become more sensitive to certain foods you once enjoyed.
Your body is constantly evolving and working to support you through your current stage of life. Sometimes it can feel like we’re a slave to our body’s reactions, but there are ways we can take control again and get to know ourselves again.
Here are a few physical and mental changes you need to make when you’re working out in your 50’s and beyond.
Getting active is one of the best ways to create positive changes in our bodies. It can decrease aches and pains, build muscle strength, and relieve stress.
Strength train to feel your inner strength
Gone are the days where we believe that cardio is the only way to get fit. Shift your focus from joint-crushing treadmill jogs to strength training your muscles.
During your 50’s and beyond, building muscle and staying strong is everything. Because you lose muscle naturally as you age, consistently working out and building both your muscles and strength will slow this process down and prevent many injuries. For example, exercising your arm muscles will assist you in lifting your grandkids.
How many days should you exercise per week? In order to maximize the health benefits that come with exercising, the Heart Association recommends exercising at moderate intensity for 4-5 days per week for 30 minutes each training session.
At Movimento, we focus on 30-minute strength sessions with added cardio and stretching to help you hit that target of the activity. The movements and exercises in our gym can translate into so many other activities you can do outside the gym so you can work towards the Heart Association’s recommendations.
Strength at the core
As we age, back pain can cause us serious issues if we’re not careful. It may feel like working our core muscles is impossible with an achy back. However, strengthening your core muscles—which consist of your abs and lower back—will help stabilize your spine, preventing injuries and reducing back pain.
Read more: Improve Your Strength to Avoid Crippling Falls
You can strengthen these areas by doing more abs specific or core-focused workouts. These exercises include forearm planks, sit-ups, and crunches.
Stretch to grow
So you’ve hit the gym or done a great at-home workout. We’re so proud of you! You’re all done! Right?
It’s extremely important to stretch them out so the muscles don’t stiffen to the point of immobility. As you get older, changes to your tendons and ligaments can result in less flexibility and a more limited range of motion. Stretching can improve this range of motion and allow you to take on more for your next workout.
That being said, to continue exercising safely in your 50’s and beyond it is important to not move outside of your comfortable range of motion. For example, some people may be okay squatting below their knees while others simply do not have that type of mobility in their hips. If you have limited mobility in your hips and you try such an exercise, you could be risking an injury by trying to move past your body’s range of motion.
In order to increase your mobility and range of motion, and decrease your risk of injury, you will need to stretch whether it is before or after your workout. Stretching after your workouts help your body cool down and these slow and gentle movements also assist your heart to slow down gradually rather than suddenly stopping which may cause you to faint or lightheaded.
If muscle or joint stiffness prevents you from stretching or working certain muscle groups, ask us about our customized programs that can increase mobility and flexibility—our goal is to make working out work for you!
Chat with us today about a training program that works for you!
Shift your motivation
When you’re thinking about wanting to get fit and become more active later in your life, you need to consider your “Why.” Why do you want to get more active? What is the purpose behind becoming a better, stronger, more active, and healthier version of yourself? If it’s not for your personal benefit, can you think of others that will benefit from you being healthier and living longer?
Most importantly, don’t let shame be your number one motivator. This shame can be related to fitness level or body type or even because you haven’t been consistent over the years and you feel out of place. Don’t let this negative emotion be your motivator.
The key thing to remember is that there is no reason to feel bad about where you are at this moment. It is never too late to start getting active. If you need to change or modify a few exercises because you may not have the strength that you used to, that doesn’t make you worthy of shame. Modifications in exercise are there for that purpose—to help you no matter what changes your body has made in the last few years.
Focus on the benefit
You might feel some soreness after your first workout back in a while, but don’t let that deter you. Change your thinking by relating that soreness to the benefits you’ll get from being consistent with your workouts. Your sore legs mean they’re building to support a stronger version of you. Your sore arms mean you’re working to lift others in the same way you can lift yourself up.
Incredible things happen when you workout. Not only will working out make you feel better, but it will also prevent many diseases associated with aging such as Alzheimer’s, dementia, cancer, heart disease, fall prevention— it may even stop you from looking older.
Change the way you think about food
Shift the mindset away from “eating bad food means you’re a bad person.”
Instead, think of food as the fuel you need to keep living. Yes, some fuels take you farther than others, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t eat or feel guilty for eating.
Proper nutrition is important at any age especially as you age and when you start to work out. Make sure to eat something nutritious after you exercise too even if it is just a little snack as it helps replenish the nutrients and energy expended during your workout.
Some of the “diet tips” you used to follow in younger days could be a bad idea to follow now that science has evolved. Stick to the basics! Get enough quality proteins, quality carbohydrates, and healthy fats, along with a variety of foods with the vitamins and minerals you need.
Need some help with nutrition? We help our clients both in the gym and in the kitchen by providing nutrition accountability and healthy recipes.
Check out our Empty Nester’s Guide to Cooking for more tips and tricks to get your nutrition back on track.
We know these changes won’t happen overnight. Getting active and making lifestyle changes is a daily practice. Regardless of our past, our age, what our bodies look and feel like, and who we are, we have the power to make positive changes in our life.
“Every morning we are born again. What we do today is what matters most.” ― Buddha
If you’re ready, we’re here for you. Book a chat with one of our trainers to find out how we can help you make these positive changes in your life.
Book a call with us today!