It is not particularly hard to be active when you’re younger – but if you get out of the habit or you never made it a habit in the first place, the first steps can be a challenge when you get older. Many people make the excuse that they are too tired or too old to start an exercise routine but anyone can benefit from a fitness regime at whatever age – it’s never too late to start. Here’s what you should be doing to make exercise part of your life after 50.
- What types of exercise should I do?
You should aim to exercise different parts of the body in order to get a complete workout and benefit all aspects of your health. There are four main types of exercise that are essential at any age, but especially important when you reach the age of 50.
- Cardiovascular. Cardiovascular or aerobic exercise is the type of exercise that works large groups of muscles and also increases your heart rate. It is important because regular cardiovascular exercise after the age of 50 helps you avoid obesity, heart disease and other conditions like diabetes. It also allows you to lead a more active life because you won’t get tired and out of breath completing everyday tasks.
- Strength training. With this exercise you use weights, resistance equipment, or weights machines to build the strength in your muscles through repetitive movements. Strength training is important as you get older because it improves your balance and your coordination as well as giving you more strength to complete everyday activities.
- Flexibility and stretching. In addition to weights and cardio, you shouldn’t neglect stretching as this helps you stay mobile and flexible as you get older.
- Balance training. Avoid falls as you grow older and keep active by working on your balance.
- What activities are best for me?
Cardiovascular activities include walking and running, swimming, cycling, hiking, tennis, skating, and dancing – any of these activities are good for your heart and your fitness. If you have problems with your joints or your knees, choose an activity that doesn’t place so much direct stress on the joints; swimming, for example, or riding the stationary bike. Stretching classes or yoga and Pilates are good for flexibility and are not hard on your joints. For balance work, try tai chi or a fitness class where you have to coordinate your movements to music.