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Getting on (in years) with fitness
For me, it was outdoors cardio most days supplemented by 3 gym visits for strength training and chatting, an important part of exercise, that was totally disrupted. I had to find a new norm. Which I have managed to do but I came across some serious motivational problems.
In our mid-years, we know we have to maintain a good level of fitness – it is well documented. Healthy eating, sleeping well, doing brain exercises, blah blah blah is all a part of it of course, but keeping active is at the core of a better and longer quality of life.
And now, if we weren’t fully aware of it before, we will all be good citizens and lessen the burden on our medical services.
It’s generally thought these days that for anyone “getting on” in years a mix of cardio, strength and balance-related physical activity is the best way to maintain a good level of fitness.
All three types of activities can be mixed and mashed. In fact, they can all be incorporated into one session.
Although not recommended for beginners and less fit people, a HIIT (high intensity interval training) workout can include all three disciplines and last just 30 to 40 mins which will include warm, cool down and stretching. Each of the elements can be moderated, however.
For many, this might seem ideal but it can be pretty hardcore and lead to stress on the joints especially to us in the over 50s club.
When it comes to fitness machines, look for ones that offer exercises that don’t strain the joints too much.
I found this out recently whilst doing a HIIT session and I think it was the jumping lunges that did my knee in.
I’m wary of anything now that involves my feet leaving terra firma or with the word jump in it for a while. I would be tempted to say don’t try this at home but be a little wary if knees are suspect as it’s it’s harder than it looks.
Take a large step forward and bend both knees to about 90 degrees with the back knee just above the floor. Jump up as high as you can, switching leg position in air and landing in the same position, but with the opposite foot in front. Ouch! Go for 45 secs, active rest 15 secs. Part of the routine.
An easier way to split the activities is to do something fun, and enjoyable for the cardio section. I love to run but a lot of people don’t and many find jogging outdoors an ordeal.
If it’s something you enjoy doing, like hiking or simply brisk walking then do that. As long it enables an elevation in the heart rate it will be beneficial.
Then the balance and strength training can be a combined activity and can even be done without any specific equipment using your own body weight as the resistance.
Fitting time in for exercise
Over 50s can be a time of relative freedom with kids growing up and maybe flown, less financial pressure. But there are always other things that need to be done before squeezing into the spandex and getting physical.
Fitting in with family commitments and having the support of the people around you is important. Finding someone like-minded helps a lot. And anything, exercise-related, that can be done with the family might be a motivational plus for all members.
10 motivational tips to get on the move regularly
- If just starting out, start off lightly – don’t push too early. You won’t be so keen next time.
- With indoor sessions, have a designated area that is free from clutter or where you can easily make space.
- Keep the times regular and keep that part of the day free. Don’t fret if you miss a session but try to make it up the following week or get one in beforehand and bank it.
- Warming up beforehand will get not only your body but your mind into gear. Cool down and stretch afterward as you start mentally rewarding yourself.
- If doing morning sessions – I like to get it done with the day free ahead – have a quiet evening the night before, abstemious on the alcohol and heavy on the sleep – you’ll be so much more ready for it.
- Find a fitness friend and make a date.
- Kill two (or more) birds with one stone. Going to the store for milk? Walk there instead of driving. Make it part of your routine.
- Whatever the plan is, plan ahead. Make time and priority for exercise which is a self-help behavior that should be an important part of life.
- Keep a diary of what, when and how. How intense and how much it hurt and perhaps how good you felt after. I’m very slack when it comes to record-keeping although I kept a running diary for 7 years which is actually great to look back on or am I just a sad sack?
- Reward yourself. With a hearty meal or some such treat.
Fitness Blender has hundreds of free, full-length workout videos, (over 500 at the last count). Apart from the affordable and effective workout programs, there are meal plans, and helpful health, nutrition and fitness information.
They also have paid programs, both fitness and eating plans but during this time, they are offering a 70% discount on four of their most popular programs.
One of the free programs is below which I do regularly. It’s a super workout as it includes both cardio and strength, warm-up and a cool down. It’s something I often give up on unless I have a trainer giving encouragement.
As Kelli demonstrates in this and a lot of the videos, modifications can be made for low impact alternative sessions. And there is no equipment necessary.
Simple moves for part of a workout routine
|Jump rope (skipping)|
What makes boxers so fit? It helps to skip using a jump rope and apart from the height required it’s great for small spaces.
Jump ropes are an excellent way to get the heart pumping for a cardio session or warm-up.
Stair climbing (step-ups)
No stairs no problem. Use a platform to step up and down or find a quiet set of steps. Did you know? Stair climbing burns more calories per minute than jogging and can reduce cardio risk by more than 30%? The intensity can range from the sublime, trudging up and down stairs to the ridiculous, the Empire State Building stair race.
An all over body warm up or just to get the blood running on a slow morning. Lift those knees as high as possible whilst swinging the arms. Either in a marching style or jumping as you lift each knee – hard.
|Jumping jacks (star jumps)|
As you jump your legs splay and arms raise from sides forming a star. Concentrate on form. You can also step one way back to the middle and then the other way for a low impacts session.
Everbody loves burpees – not! It’s strange how such an easy looking move can be so tough. Again form is important, work on that rather than speed, at first. This one includes a press-up for extra pain.
Alternate raising one knee then the other. Variations can include – feet on a fit ball for more intensity and balance – raise the knees outside or across the body. Try 40 secs of effort.
Legs & glutes…
Arms & knee raise
Lunges (standing) (walking)
Squats (chair) get up squats
Glute bridge (hip raise)
Wall sits (sit breaks)
Side-lying leg raise
Arms & upper body
Abs & Stomach
Superman (Back raise)
Plank (variations) (downward dog)(forearm)
We hope you enjoyed this all too brief foray into home exercise routines. And also that the motivational tips will go some way into helping you keep to a regular pattern of feel-good exercise workouts.
A good and appropriately intense workout will not only set you up for the day but done 3 or more times a week, should keep you in good stead as the years roll by.
Add a splash of eating unprocessed whole food with a solid 8 hours of quality sleep and you may well get addicted to looking and feeling good. Happy healthy fit midlife and beyond. Let us know if this was helpful.