Yes! It is possible – important, even – to be in the best shape you can be in at 50. It may not be like your level of fitness at 30 or 40, but in many ways, it can be better. Even if you weren’t fit in your 30s and 40s, you can discover a healthy lifestyle and quality of life through regular exercise and a healthy eating plan.
The first thing to do: don’t compare who and where you are now to who you were then, or compare yourself to anyone else. Know where you’re starting by consulting with your healthcare provider on the best fitness plan for you; this will definitely involve some cardio, resistance and strength training, and even yoga or stretching to help with body control and balance as we age. The second thing to do: get creative. You don’t need a gym to get a workout; a good 30 minutes of activity in your garden can be great exercise.
Prioritizing health and fitness is the big goal here. At any age, when our health is prioritized, every other part of our lives benefits, from relationships to work to our own self-esteem. And let’s not forget another important body part to exercise: our mind. The mind-body connection is one that becomes even more significant as we age. Mental health is just as important as our physical health, and there is more than enough research out there to draw a fundamental connection between exercise and mental health.
Make 50 your best decade yet with these five ways to build and maintain fitness.
5 Ways To Get And Stay Fit At 50
- Eat well. Lean proteins, fruits and vegetables, and fiber are the foods you will need to help with physical and mental wellness. Meet up with friends for a cooking class to learn healthy new recipes, or have a “supper club” where everyone brings something healthy to share.
- Plan well. Make fitness a priority. Plan your workouts so that you don’t miss a day. Ideally, you will exercise for 30 minutes a day, 5 days per week. And make fitness a social affair; meet up with friends so that you are accountable to one another.
- Cardio. Cardio. Cardio. Walking, bike riding (or take a spin class), and swimming are great ways to get your cardio. Walking is pretty accessible; all you need are a good pair of shoes! Another great way to get a workout: gardening. Think of all the weeding, raking, and, seeding, digging, mulching, and watering. If you can spend 20-30 minutes tending your garden, you will have a beautiful garden and a good workout.
- Strength train. Building muscle is super important at the stage of life, as muscle degeneration is inevitable, but you can protect your bones and joints, improve balance and overall strength, by adding weights and resistance training to your regular fitness routine, 2-3 days a week.
- Flexibility. Regular stretching will help protect our muscles, bones, and joints. Try yoga, even pilates to maintain core strength, body control, and joint flexibility. These are often social classes too, so plan to meet up with friends for a yoga class, then maybe a quick bite after.
Fitness looks great at any age! If you’re just getting started, it’s important to exercise a little patience with yourself. Make your health a priority and pace yourself in order to avoid a sidelining injury. Do consult and maintain a dialogue with your doctor on an eating and exercise program that is right for you. And have fun with it! When you make fitness a priority, incorporate good food, friends, and a little fun, you can truly take advantage and make 50 your best decade yet.