Being healthy and fit is important in all stages of life, but as you grow older, being active becomes even more significant for good health. Regular exercise increases physical strength and mobility, improves sleep, and also enhances the mood. After the age of 40, adults can lose as much as 5% of muscle mass during each subsequent decade of life. Also, hormone production is depleted, the metabolism slows down, and bone loss increases. These bodily changes can lead to heart disease, osteoporosis, weight gain, diabetes, high blood pressure, and increase the likelihood of injury.
If you’re in your 50s or older and notice a decrease in flexibility, joint pain or stiffness, or reduced strength, exercise will prove beneficial. Staying active and getting fit does not need to involve strenuous workouts that result in sweaty clothes or days of soreness, and ideally it won’t involve activities that you dislike.
In fact, the key to turning fitness into a habit is done by incorporating something you enjoy. Consider activities that you’ve liked in the past and combine several different ones to ensure you keep your workout activities interesting and exercise all body parts. It can consist of lifting weights, yoga, joining a gym, dancing, playing golf, or enjoying routine walks in your favorite places.
Below are four primary reasons to develop healthy fitness habits:
As we age, we become more susceptible to falls and injuries, due to lack of stability. Through incorporating exercises that improve the posture and balance, you will feel better and more self-confident while being active. Exercises that help improve balance include Tai Chi and yoga.
Repetitive motion and resistance helps build muscle and increase strength. This type of training can be done with the use of free weights, weight machines, elastic bands, stability balls, as well as resistance exercises such as lunges or sit ups. Strength training will enhance daily activities including walking, opening containers in the kitchen, lifting and carrying groceries, and getting in and out of a car.
Any exercise that increases the heart rate is considered cardio exercise. This can include walking, stair climbing, bicycling, dancing, or playing tennis. In regards to your daily activities, cardio exercise will help alleviate fatigue and improve your endurance so you can continue to enjoy the independence of running errands, doing house chores, and moving around without tiring easily.
Stretching is one of the most important parts of your fitness routine because it helps prevent injury, soreness, and pulled muscles. Yoga exercise offers many beneficial stretching moves while also increasing strength and improving posture. Stretching also increases mobility and flexibility to help you stay limber. Maintaining good flexibility will help you continue to enjoy physical activities including washing and styling your own hair, bending to tie your shoes or work in the garden, and having full range of motion will enable you to drive safely, looking behind when necessary.
Fitness is about incorporating good habits into your daily lifestyle. Life should be enjoyed at every stage of life.
Whether you choose to join a fitness group, take up a new hobby, or rekindle an activity that you’ve enjoyed in the past, staying active is crucial to happiness and health. Research shows that being physically active throughout life can increase longevity and quality of life. Additionally, exercise increases the blood flow and oxygen to the brain, which improves brain function and reduces the risk of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. Through incorporating fitness activities and healthy food choices, life in your 50s and beyond can be fulfilling.