Fit After Fifty: Exercises & Workouts we Love
In an ideal world, exercise and fitness are a priority throughout our lives, and something that has become habit. As we get older, fitness takes on even greater importance, as making the aging process as smooth and pain/injury-free as possible becomes top priority.
According to the CDC, falls are the number one cause of hip fractures and traumatic brain injuries for seniors. Older adults are more prone to injuries and typically face harder recoveries, as well. Adopting a regular exercise program can hep immensely, especially one that focuses on coordination, balance, and strength.
Of course, the type of exercise and intensity will look different for each person, depending on your fitness level, medical history and injuries (this goes for people of all ages, in fact). There are also some key supplements to consider that can support your body with the specific nutrients it needs to stay fit, and stay healthy.
New to Exercise? No Problem! Consider This…
Pay Attention to Posture
Be sure to keep your core muscles engaged and your posture aligned. This means focusing on keeping your head over your shoulders (as opposed to jutting forward or leaning back), your shoulders over your hips, and hips over your feet. This works wonders for improving stability.
Wear Good Shoes
Investing in a decent pair of shoes is worth your while, as they will help to reduce your risk of tripping and falling. Opt for leather soled shoes if possible, as rubber soles can be less stable and more slippery.
Ask for Help if You Need It
Especially if you are new to exercise (or to a certain type of exercise, like weight training), ask for assistance from a fitness professional. Gyms will always have personal trainers on hand to answer questions and correct form, or you can even ask a friend or relative to accompany you on walks, hikes, etc. This also makes exercise more fun.
Don’t Forget Nutrition
Nutrition plays a key role in bone health, particularly being sure to eat foods high in vitamin D and magnesium. Get plenty of dark, leafy greens (kale, chard, spinach, etc, although check with your doctor if you’re taking a blood-thinning medication), high-quality protein and healthy fats.
The Best Types of Exercises
Walking is a basic movement that really can’t be beat, especially for older adults. Going for daily walks can make a huge difference in avoiding injury and staying fit.
Walking makes for a great cardio option, weight training is also extremely important for multiple reasons. Resistance training can prevent muscle loss associated with aging and improve bone density and strength. It can also go a long way in supporting an upright posture and preventing injury and falls with daily activities.
Yoga can be tailored to any age and physical ability, and is an excellent tool for improving flexibility, strength, balance and stress. Many folks over 50 claim that yoga has helped them immensely with physical fitness and overall wellbeing.
Specific Resistance Exercises to Include
Partial or Full Squat
A full squat might be hard for those over 50 (and those under 50, for that matter), but a partial squat can actually offer most of the same benefits. Squatting is one of the all-time best exercises for hip flexibility and mobility, and also strengthens the quads and hip flexors. It can make daily movements like climbing stairs, walking and sitting much easier.
A basic shoulder press should definitely be part of your strength training routine, as it is so important for common, daily movements. Without adequate shoulder strength and mobility, your risk of shoulder injury greatly increases. Start with a low weight on this one (5 lbs or less might be plenty), and make sure you get your form corrected if you have any doubts.
Check out this video for further instruction.
Last but certainly not least, be sure to include several postural exercises in your routine, and switch them up. Improving posture is essential for maintaining an upright position. Not to mention, if you (like many) have worked at a computer for years on end, your posture likely needs some serious work.
Check out this great sequence of exercises to get started.
You might consider including a multivitamin for seniors or certain key vision-supporting supplements into your daily routine, as these can be extremely helpful in maintaining the nutrient status that your body needs to age with grace and safely stay active.
Remember, whether you are new to fitness or have exercised your entire life, getting in physical activity each and every day as you get older is sure to improve your quality of life and prevent injury. Make sure your exercise program causes no major pain, and consult with a professional if needed. Your health is definitely worth it.
Always consult a doctor before starting a new exercise or diet program.
Rachel Fiske is a Holistic Nutrition Consultant and graduated from Bauman College of Holistic Nutrition in Berkeley, California. She is also a Certified Personal Trainer through the National Academy of Sports Medicine. Rachel focuses on issues of weight management, GI problems, hormonal imbalances, fatigue and more via a whole foods diet and lifestyle changes.