This summer I hit the big 5-3, and have been quite faithful to my exercise regime. Staying fit over 50 doesn’t have to be a struggle, if you want to continue a healthy lifestyle.
Working Out After 50
When I was in my 20s, I looked at exercise as an escape and became quite a bit obessed with it, going to the gym 5 days a week and taking back to back step classes, in addition to weight training.
Fast forward to when I hit 40, developed pudendal neuralgia, and then Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, my life would take a different turn . I would have to cut out some of the things I used to do for fitness, as my body needed pain management and the ability to function in life. Biking was something that my husband and I did, and that wouldn’t be able to happen when I was sick and stayed in bed. For years, the goal was to get diagnosed and find out what I could do to manage the pain and have a more functional life.
After 10 years, I was able to get my pain managed, find out what I could do and begin again. So, at 50, I did get back into fitness and weight lifting.
I wrote before how as a kid, I was active in sports, whether it was organized or with my brothers. I have always loved to be active.
At 50, staying active takes on a different meaning than when you are 20.
You want to work out to look good, but more importantly, to help to:
avoid disease – “Exercise helps stop, delay, and sometimes improve serious illnesses like heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, stroke, Alzheimer’s disease, arthritis, and osteoporosis.” * source web MD
maintain or build muscle mass- You lose muscle mass as you get older, so lifting weights can help with building muscle. This in turn can help a slowing metabolism as we get older.
boosts your mood- Endorphins – If you are physically active you will be less prone to depression due to this mood boosting hormone. I know I feel better after I work out! Just think! There were a ton of people walking outside during Covid, it was a mood booster we needed!
protect bones- After 50, women can develop osteoperosis or Osteopenia, or bone loss. Exercise can slow bone loss and “lowers the risk of fractures” that may happen after menopause.
better quality of life- As I get older, I want to continue to be independent, and moving is key to be able to do daily living tasks. Let’s face it, exercise also gives you more energy!
lower the risk of cancers-“exercise during and after menopause can help maintain or lose weight which may protect from certain cancers.”
How I keep Fit After 50
Fortunately, after 12 years with EDS, I am functioning better than I once was. When this began, the exercise I was limited to, was taking my pups to the end of the street corner and back. Not much!
Now that my pain is more manageable, I am back to a routine that I enjoy. I mentioned I have always loved fitness and being active, but when I first was diagnosed, working out was not on my mind. Not being in severe pain was. I came to a point where getting dishes out of the cupboard seemed difficult, or walking up the stairs. I needed to build up my strength again.
The year BC ( Before Covid) , I bought a treadmill for the house and started to create a home gym with kettlebells, resistance bands, dumbbells, medicine balls, and ab ball.
The key for anyone, is to find activities that you enjoy! It shouldn’t be drudgery! I run/walk on the incline treadmill using a HIIT type workout ( High intensity interval training) for 45 min and change it up every few days. After, I will use bands, medicine ball, and weights to strength train.
Two days a week I go to a water aerobics class at the gym and use the machines. I enjoy this workout routine, but also supplement with outdoor activities I enjoy like walking, hiking, and now paddle boarding. I am also looking to get back to biking with my hubby.
The diversity in the routine is key so you don’t get bored! Find activities you enjoy!
Popular Science Magazine has found that swimming is a great exercise, not only for the body, but for the mind!
“Regular swimming has been shown to improve memory, cognitive function, immune response, and mood. Swimming may also help repair damage from stress and forge new neural connections in the brain.”
I would be remiss if I didn’t talk about what I eat. I do believe that eating healthy results in craving healthier foods. I do have to follow a Gastroperesis plan, which means not too much fiber, and chewing my food well. Since my system digests food slowly, I do get full quicker. I eat proteins, grains, fruits and vegetables, and love dairy. I have yogurt each day and am fond of cheese ( especially with wine!) .
I believe in moderation and not excluding food groups, but if I want something sweet, to have a bit of it to satisfy! I have been maintaining 122 pounds at 5 foot 9 for years by working out and eating well.
I’m wearing the camo medium sports bra and Danskin leggings I listed below.
Feeling Good-Looking Good
When you feel good, it is projected on the outside. Doesn’t it help to have nice workout clothes?
I added new sports bras to my workout collection. This camo medium support bra from All in Motion s wonderful, very comfortable with mesh and moisture wicking fabric. ( I have put it to the test! I sweat like crazy- or is it “glow” ?)
Another sports bra from All in Motion in all black.
I buy leggings from Marshalls . I have these Danskin capri leggings in a small, and they are quite comfortable. They are not on the Marshall’s site, so I have found them here.
Mat Exercises with weights/Resistance. Here are some of mine. These are a few examples.
- I use 2 therabands around my upper legs ( heavy and medium) and do a bridge. ( 3 sets of 15)
- Keeping the therabands around my legs, I lay on my side with legs together. Do “the clam” ( glutes and hips) ( 3 set 15)
- Planks- do 3 sets, 30 sec each. Rest 20 sec in between.
- tricep dip – use a chair or in my case, ( step) and put legs in front of you. dip down with your body, getting the tricep muscle.
- medicine ball- I use a 12 lb medicine ball. situp with medicine ball, then twist left, then right side of body with ball.
- Using an open resistance band ( without a loop) grab onto it right and left. On your back, lift legs a few inches off ground holding the band . You should feel this in lower abdomen.
- resistance bands with handles- I use the heavy band with the handles to do bicep curls and shoulder raises.
- “skull crushers” I use a 20 lb kettlebell as I lay on my back and bring the “bell” down to my head and up. 3 sets 10.
- squats with 20 lb kettlebell- as you squat down, swing kettlebell in a controlled manner in front of you.
- squats with resistance bands. Put a resistance band around both legs, squat with arms in front as you come down.
Set Small Goals
The last thing you want is to be overwhelmed when you start a routine. I have been wanting to increase my endurance, as well as my speed on the treadmill. It took months before I could increase the treadmill to 45 minutes and I have been able to jog at a 4.5 pace up from 4 when I started.
I had a goal to be able to stand on the paddleboard in Avalon. My core is strong, as I do much for it, so it was a plus!
Make the goals small and realistic! It will feel great when you succeed!
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Tell me in the comments, how you stay fit after 50.“
Have a wonderful weekend!