August 30

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How to Get Fit and Exercise Over 50 – Tips and Tricks to Lead a Healthy Life


Nutrition and physical activity are vital for senior fitness. Research shows regular exercise for older people significantly improves their health and overall quality of life. Furthermore, leading an active lifestyle supports brain function, boosting your mental health. However, if you have been inactive for a long time, suffer from chronic illness or obesity, check in with your doctor before proceeding.

It’s never too late to get moving and prioritize fitness over 50. Regardless of your physical ability and age, there are several simple activities you can do to improve your strength, flexibility, and balance. In this guide, we’ll cover the best exercises for senior citizens and how to avoid getting hurt in the process. 

The Health Benefits of Seniors Staying Active

After a certain age, the slow physical decline is very common and can lead to a more sedentary life. However, getting active and introducing exercise has several wellness and mental health benefits. Did you know, a recent study revealed that the secret behind living a happier and longer life is regular physical activity?  

Physical Health Benefits 

Exercise for older people is vital due to the several health benefits it results in. However, irregular exercise can lead to several physical health problems, including reduced muscle and bone strength, balance, flexibility, and cardiovascular function. 

What’s more is that staying active improves blood pressure, bone density, and immunity. Consequently, this significantly reduces the chances of developing serious illnesses like diabetes, osteoporosis, Alzheimer’s disease, and even certain cancers. Strength training for seniors also eases painful symptoms such as those caused by arthritis.

As you become older, your metabolism slows down, and weight gain can become a new challenge. However, exercise encourages mobility and posture by improving your strength. This way, you’ll keep the extra pounds off, burn more calories and also build muscle mass for a fitter you. Furthermore, you’ll be able to live an independent life without the need for extra assistance. 

Mental Health Benefits

Optimum wellness always includes having a healthy and strong mind. Exercise for older people is essential to fight common mental health conditions, including anxiety and depression. This is because physical activity triggers the release of happy hormones, also known as dopamine. Consequently, this encourages a positive attitude towards life and an overall boost of happiness. 

Your mental health also affects energy levels when you’re not motivated or feeling your best. Fatigues are as common as you age, and sitting around encourages it further while making you feel even worst. To get into a better state of mind, simple physical activities for older people, such as taking a walk around the block for some fresh air, can boost your energy. 

Exercise also regulates the release of other hormones, including serotonin and norepinephrine. These chemicals balance mood and stress, so you remain calm and relaxed. Moreover, physical activity improves the quality of your sleep through better energy expenditure. This way, you’re bound to sleep deeper, for longer.

The mental health benefits of senior workouts regain their independence. Various studies suggest that a healthy mind also leads to increased independence due to a boost in staying active. Also, exercise improves balance that reduces the risk of falls and injury. Therefore, keeping fit is a crucial factor in staying healthy as you age. 

    Get the latest exercise types, equipment reviews, fitness tips and exclusive offers to help you on your fitness journey.

    What if You Feel Discouraged or Hate to Exercise? 

    Introducing a regular fitness regime to your lifestyle can be a challenge at any age. People hate exercise for all sorts of reasons, but most commonly, it’s because of a fear of aches and getting injured. In addition, seniors may feel weak or too frail to exercise at their age. However, what if these obstacles are better reasons to get active? 

    The rewards of leading an active life are endless. Exercise programs for seniors aim to reduce the strain of going to a gym or doing extensive workouts. Age is just a number is, and the benefits of getting fit at 60 are just as great as when you were younger. However, you’re not alone if you hate exercising. You can incorporate little distractions like listening to music or watching a video while working out. 

    Alternatively, you can switch up daily activities like chatting with friends or playing with your dog to include more movement. Finding a partner to exercise with helps keep you on track while spending time with a loved one. You don’t have to do high-intensity workouts to improve your health. Instead, evaluate your daily routine and find ways to get more active with each task. 

    How to Create a Balanced Exercise Regime 

    Enjoying your exercise is essential; therefore, mixing up different activities helps keep things interesting. On average, 2.5 hours of physical activity for older adults per week is recommended. These activities should be based on the four components that ensure fitness: balance, cardio, flexibility, and strength or power training. 

    Balance

    Posture exercises for seniors improve mobility and reduce the risk of injury. It’s common to fall or trip over as you grow older because eyesight and balance weaken. However, the ability to get through everyday activities while staying safe can be reinforced with exercise. Furthermore, the severity of injuries like broken bones is less if you stay active.

    But if falling isn’t a concern for you, balance also improves the quality of walking. Exercises like walking, tai chi, yoga, and posture training improve balance and boost your confidence. In addition, balance exercises increase flexibility and lower the chances of developing severe health conditions.

    Cardio 

    Cardiovascular exercise for older people ensures your heart and lungs stay healthy. You can find yourself out of breath easily when doing cardio workouts. However, this is usually your body’s way of letting you know your heart is pumping effectively. Also, cardio exercises lessen how short of breath you get over time. 

    Cardio workouts promote endurance and make daily tasks like errands, cleaning, walking, and running down the stairs easier. This way, you can lead an independent life without getting tired quickly and requiring help. Cardio exercises include running, swimming, cycling, tennis, and even dancing so you can make it fun.

    Strength or Power Training 

    Strength and power training are usually combined to build muscles and increase overall power. Strength exercises for seniors use repeated movements with added resistance or weight to prevent bone and muscle loss. You can use dumbbells, free weights, or even your body weight for strength training. 

    On the other hand, power training increases stamina and reaction times, so you are always on your toes. For example, if you are losing balance or about to fall, you would react faster and likely prevent injury. Together, strength and power training also encourages balance and helps you look after yourself more effectively. 

    Flexibility 

    Underrated, flexibility is a core component of fitness that keeps joints healthy, lubricated, and moving freely. Exercises like stretches to help you grow a range of motion make you less prone to hurting yourself. Furthermore, increased flexibility reduces how much energy your body uses to complete tasks. 

    Effective stretching and yoga are excellent ways to become more flexible. Simple activities like driving, looking over your shoulder, or even bending over become hassle-free. It is crucial to include stretching as part of your warm-up before exercising so your muscles are prepared. 

    Recommended Exercises for Older Adults 

    It’s okay to be confused as to where to begin exercising. Fitness over 50 can be challenging, especially if you’ve taken a break. However, there are several simple exercises you can try to get accustomed to working out again. You’ll also increase your fitness levels as you challenge through each exercise. 

    Before starting a new regime, consult your physician to determine which exercises are best for you and which supplements you should take to avoid suffering post-workout fatigue. Exercise for older people includes activities such as:  

    Water Aerobics 

    Water aerobics for seniors includes exercises such as arm curls, push-ups, leg lifts, jogging, and flutter kicking. These exercises are particularly common amongst elders as they put less stress on your joints and muscles. Furthermore, aerobics is an excellent way of strength training without the need for extra resistance.

    If you have chronic joint pain, osteoporosis, or arthritis, exercising underwater is recommended for you as it doesn’t cause any pain. In addition, without any additional weights, these fun exercises can significantly improve all fitness areas, including strength and balance. 

    Resistance Training 

    Weight training for seniors sometimes aggravates underlying conditions such as backaches. Therefore, resistance bands are a great way to challenge your workout without additional tension on your body. A resistance band is made of a stretchy piece of rubber and is very easy to use.

    The bands are also inexpensive, making them a great choice for at-home or beginner exercises. You can try movements like bicep curls, triceps, or leg presses and a lateral raise using a resistance band. These exercises strengthen core muscles, consequently resulting in better posture, balance, and movement.   

    Weight Training

    Using dumbbells as part of strength exercises for seniors is a great way to strengthen individual muscles groups. If performed under supervision, without adding stress to muscles, they are among the best resources available to increase muscle mass and maintain a healthy weight. 

    Furthermore, dumbbell strength training has been shown to reduce symptoms caused by chronic conditions. These include osteoporosis, back pain, diabetes, and even obesity. In addition, the health benefits of dumbbell exercises include boosted metabolism and enhanced flexibility. Some workouts you can try include front raises, overhead presses, bicep curls, and tricep extensions. 

    Chair Yoga

    Another super simple exercise, chair yoga, is one of the easiest low-impact exercises for seniors. You can experiment with different stretch positions and twisting poses while seated, making it suitable for disabled people.

    In addition, chair yoga and stretching exercises for over 50 reduce mental health symptoms like depression and stress by encouraging healthy breathing. The combination of these poses and exercises also promotes better sleep and improves flexibility and balance. Furthermore, there are different levels of difficulty, so you can adapt it to suit your fitness level. 

    Pilates

    Pilates exercise for older people is another low-impact regimen. However, it is slightly more challenging than yoga. With the help of mats and accessories such as a ball, pilates has been shown to improve core strength, breathing, and balance while building strength. 

    Furthermore, movements like side circles, step-ups, and food slides increase flexibility in senior citizens. Instead of trying high-impact exercises and stressing your body, pilates is an excellent way to strength train. 

    Body Weight Workouts 

    Many older people live with muscle loss, but it can be severe in some cases. The lack of muscle mass leads to hormone and metabolism problems, amongst other serious health issues. However, bodyweight workouts are an easy way to fight the damage caused by muscle atrophy in seniors. 

    Furthermore, you only need a mat and some comfortable clothes to get started. Try movements like squats, side-lying circles, lying hip bridges, and step-ups. You can also add a chair or a step-up stool to ease the effort required to do each exercise. Many gyms and community centers offer bodyweight classes where you can meet other people while getting fit. 

    Walking 

    Most health-conscious aim to walk around 10,000 steps a day. However, for senior citizens, simple tasks like walking a greater distance can be difficult. This makes it one of the most accessible and least stressful ways to challenge yourself to get fit. 

    Find a path you enjoy or walk the block instead of using public transport; it really is that easy to encourage yourself to get more active. Walking daily has also been shown to increase longevity, boost overall health while simultaneously bulking up your muscles. The health benefits of brisk daily walking also include the lowered chance of stroke, heart disease, and colon cancer. 

    Exercises Seniors Should Avoid

    Some forms of mainstream regimes or exercise for older people are not suitable. This is because the main of these programs is to help younger adults lose weight or gain bulky muscles quickly. However, the rushed approach can often result in muscle loss, posture problems, aches, and balance issues in elders. 

    Seniors need to remember their physical condition and underlying health concerns when exercising. Squats, crunches, long-distance running, deadlifts, rock climbing, and exercises involving heavyweights are not recommended if you are over the age of 50. Furthermore, high-impact activities such as interval training and upright rowing should be avoided as they are too demanding. 

    It’s important to push yourself, but remember your limits when exercising. Overdoing yourself can result in more severe health problems and cause severe strain on muscles. Consequently, instead of improving your health, it may cause further damage. 

    Getting Started Safely

    Before exercising, always speak to a doctor or health professional if there are activities you should avoid. Chronic health conditions and concerns should always be considered above all. For example, if you have diabetes, you may have to adjust your diet, meal, and medication timing to fit in with your exercise routine. In addition, exercise for older people can put unwanted strain on your body. 

    In addition, remember to listen to what your body is trying to tell you and stop exercising if it gets overwhelming. If you have been sedentary for a while, increase the intensity of your workouts slowly so that you don’t experience any discomfort or pain. Remember, focus on your body, breathing, and schedule so you can enjoy your fitness journey. 

    Tips for Staying Motivated 

    Getting discouraged and straying away from the path you’ve set for yourself can happen. However, to keep yourself motivated, set smaller, short-term goals when planning to exercise for older people. Use a journal to keep a record of your progress, as this encourages accountability. Furthermore, logging helps highlight your accomplishments, so you know how far you’ve come. 

    If you feel lonely, ask a friend or loved one to join you so you can encourage each other to exercise. But most importantly, always reward yourself for finishing workouts or even for trying your best. These little tips can keep you motivated during exercise and when faced with sudden challenges in other parts of life.