How to Stay Fit After Fifty

As we age staying fit becomes more difficult…Now tell me something I don’t know.  Any of us who are aging need to know how to stay fit after fifty.

The benefits of exercise are important to everyone but those over the age of fifty can have some particular needs.  Those of us in that age bracket tend to be arthritic, less limber, could have fibromyalgia, bad knees, bad hips or other ailment that makes exercise harder. These ailments aren’t reserved for the over fifty crowd but can be found more often there.

The thing with not staying after as we get older is that we lose more than we gain.  Muscles grow weak, blood flow diminishes, and other things start to fail.  Staying active, even moderately so, will help us stay stronger not just physically but mentally too. Staying active also helps us deal with stress, depression, and sleep better.

Staying physically active and exercising are two different things.  Staying active can be something like going for a walk, walking the dog, gardening, swimming, or something else that keeps the body moving.  Exercise is something that serves a definite purpose and is planned.  Weight training, aerobics, tai chi, or something like that would be considered exercise. Combining these two can give you some ideas on how to stay fit after fifty.

Strength training is important because it will help you become stronger and a stronger body will help you keep your blood sugar in line and your weight too.  Remember to start slow with light weights.  Starting too heavy could cause injuries and set you back rather than improve your situation.  Use slow steady movements and don’t jerk.  Breathe normally and don’t hold your breath.  Breathe out as you relax a move.  Being exhausted, having extremely sore joints, or sore muscle pulls aren’t normal.  If these occur take a couple of days off and re-examine how you are lifting the weights or how heavy the weights are.  Consulting a trainer will help you use the correct form.

Having good balance protects older individuals from falls.  Use a table or chair to help you when you start.  As your balance improves you can hold on with one hand and then on finger tip.  Eventually you might be able to do them without holding on at all.  This exercise will help strengthen the side muscles of your hips and legs.

  • Stand straight, directly behind table or chair, feet slightly apart.
  • Hold table or chair for balance.
  • Slowly lift one leg to side, 6 to 12 inches out to the side.
  • Keep your back and both legs straight.
  • Don’t point your toes downward; keep them facing forward during this exercise. Hold this position.
  • Slowly lower leg. Repeat with other leg.
  • Keep back and knees straight throughout exercise.
  • Alternate legs until you repeat exercise 8 to 15 times with each leg.
  • Rest and then repeat another 8 to 15 times with each leg.

Stretching will help you stay limber and more mobile and flexible.  Before you stretch you should warm up by taking a short walk to warm up the muscles.  Here are some exercises that will work well for seniors.

Doing endurance exercises will help keep your heart strong.  Things like walking, raking leaves, swimming, biking will keep your heart rate and breathing elevated.

How to stay fit after fifty doesn’t just apply to those who are able to do the above exercises.  Individuals who are less able can also do exercises from a chair.  People with severe arthritis, fibromyalgia, or just having a bad day can benefit from moving in a chair.  This link will show you some chair exercises.

Seniors don’t have to lead sedentary lives.  Besides regular exercise we can go bowling, golfing, dancing, play shuffleboard, and participate in other activities in our communities.  There are several ways we can learn how to stay fit after fifty.

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