7 Fitness Tips for the Over-50 Crowd

Over-50-couple-exercisingBeing on the plus side of 50 doesn’t mean you have to stop exercising. Nor does it mean you can’t start exercising.

What it does mean is that you might want to be a little more careful than the average 20-year-old about the kinds of activities you choose and the intensity level of your exercise. Here are some tips that should help you make informed choices when considering your fitness options after you pass the half-century mark.

1. See your doctor first. If you haven’t been physically active before, or recently, it’s important to visit your doctor and get medical clearance before embarking on a fitness program of any kind. Also, your doctor will help you understand the exercise limitations, if any, caused by any medical conditions you might have.

2. Start slowly. Be especially cautious if you’ve been inactive for several years. It’s tempting to begin intensely – lifting weights until your muscles ache, or running until blisters begin to form. But the over-50 body is susceptible to injuries – worse than aches or blisters – and a damaged joint or torn muscle could derail your fitness plans for a long, long Older-couple-walking-dogtime as you recover more slowly than when you were 20 or 30.

3. Get a dog. If you’re not into sports or repetitious exercise routines, just walking a dog might be the perfect option for you. The advantage of owning a dog – from a fitness perspective – is that it forces you to take a walk once or twice a day. Winter or summer, rain or shine, dogs need to be walked – there’s no way to avoid it. The result is that you end up doing a small or – depending on the size and activity level of your dog – moderate amount of activity every single day.

4. Take up an age-appropriate sport. Another option if you hate repetitive exercise routines is playing a sport. It’s probably not advisable to try football or ice hockey, but some sports to consider include golf, tennis, shuffleboard, croquet, badminton, and even horseshoes.

Older-people-in-water-aerobics-class5. Do something in a swimming pool. Water is a great exercise medium for the over-50 body because it reduces the stress and strain on joints. Swimming is a wonderful fitness activity, but it’s not the only option. Many pools have exercise classes for middle-aged or elderly people, such as water aerobics.

6. Get a fitness buddy. Sticking with a fitness schedule is often a challenge, and having a buddy to exercise with helps you remain faithful to a regular schedule. Also, having a buddy increases the potential safety level of activities that you would otherwise do alone.

7. Write and post your fitness schedule. Whatever you do – with the possible exception of dog-walking – you should post a schedule and check off after you’ve completed each session. This will provide you with a visual reminder of what you plan to do and what you’ve already accomplished for additional motivation.

-John Dunnery


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