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Are you over 50 and looking to up your fitness game? Want to get regular exercise, eat a good diet, and stay in your healthy weight range?
Well, get ready for some good news! Rather than feeling discouraged about getting fit (or staying fit) after 50, I am here to offer a lot of encouragement!
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Despite the inevitable challenges of aging, there are benefits that come with age and wisdom, as well, that can aid you on your quest for good health: throughout your 50’s, and beyond. In this article, I will outline the advantages of age in your pursuit of a healthy life.
Advantages of Your Age
I know, it seems like a joke. Who among us hasn’t experienced the downside of aging: those little (and big!) aches and pains, stiffness, changes in your skin, bone, and muscle systems, slowed metabolism, and a sneaking suspicion that we may not live forever, after all?
Once you experience the benefits of regular, safe exercise, and a light diet, you will see that you can start feeling better than you ever have, even after 50. Personally, getting into my healthy weight range, and getting regular exercise through walking and pilates, means that many of the aches and pains that had been a regular part of my life since puberty are gone.
I look and feel good, and have learned to treasure my body. In fact, I am more able to see and feel my sexiness now that I ever was in my teens and 20’s!
Though all of these manifestations of age, and more can really get you down, there are some perks that come with age. You can use these to achieve good health that will keep you feeling and looking young for years to come!
Giving less F**ks.
Excuse my French, but my personal research has uncovered a radical secret to women’s aging: women over 50 are, generally, much less concerned with what other people think of them. There is real freedom in this movement.
Many of us have experienced a heavy dose of social and societal pressures, telling us who and how to be and a lot of these are around the subject of our appearance. In our teens, our developing bodies and the hormonal upheaval of puberty often kept us out of balance, and rarely do you see a teen who embraces her body as is, delighting in the development of her body from girl to woman.
More often, she is plagued by self-doubt, trying to live up to external beauty standards based on inhuman images, photoshopped and airbrushed into an elusive perfection that has no room for curves, fat, cellulite, or any other imperfection. In our twenties the struggle to be perfect continues, coupled with the navigating intimate relationships through the lens of our body insecurities.
In our 30’s, many of us add to the mix pregnancy and childbirth, with a load of body challenges like stretch marks, breast changes with nursing, pelvic floor weakening, and more. And in our 40’s, the inevitable usually begins: a few wrinkles here and there, a few silver hairs, and the aftereffects of pregnancy, plus additional aches and pains that come with age.
Through it all it can really be a challenge to have healthy, loving relationships with our own bodies, treasuring them for the gift that they are.
Entering the 50’s.
Something happens in those years. We are less wrapped up in taking care of others (small children, spouses), and less likely to be overly concerned with what others think of us.
Suddenly, we awaken to the simple wonder of our body’s normal functioning. Gratitude, and the preciousness of life, gradually flood our awareness.
Have you ever looked back on photographs from earlier phases of life, and wonder why you were blind to your own beauty? And have you experienced, more recently, the ability to see that you still are beautiful, even though age is leaving its marks upon you?
As we enter our 50’s, we still want to look good and care about our appearance. But something changes.
We have the opportunity to go deeper. Instead of trying to fix ourselves from the outside, in, we become more focused on the inside; out…
Your health is your priority
Perhaps, when you were younger, you experienced, like many women, an obsessive desire for thinness and weight loss. Like many of us, this may have led you down paths that emphasized extreme weight loss goals and exercise regimes that were difficult to maintain or even damaging to your body.
For example, crash diets can raise havoc with your metabolism, making it difficult to lose weight in the long run. Long periods of deprivation can leave you feeling desperate and Hangry (hungry/angry), and cause extreme fluctuations in blood sugar that keep you emotionally unbalanced.
And extreme workouts can actually prevent exercise, leading us into routines and regimens that our bodies are not prepared for, and making it hard to keep up more realistic routines due to injury and pain.
But we are not there anymore. At our age, our health takes priority.
That means you are more likely to choose gradually, sustainable methods that make you feel better in the long run. Our bodies are teaching us to love them, gently.
In terms of exercise, this can translate into the integration of light weights into your workout, instead of starting heavy and hurting yourself. You will be more aware of, and thankful for working joints and muscles, and more protective of your body.
Because you have a more realistic expectation, and a healthy knowledge of your limitations, you may be drawn to safe strengthening and stretching exercise forms like pilates and tai chi, which have the added benefit of relaxation, and a sensation of inner quiet.
In terms of diet, you have had the first half of your life to get to know your body and it’s digestion system. Instead of just a focus on how you look, you will be more tuned in to how you feel; and how what you eat, and how much you eat, affects your day. Without all the noise of the pressure to look perfect (let’s face it, most of us have logically let that go by our 50’s), we have a newfound ability to listen to our body’s needs and wisdom.
Hopefully, by now we know how often we need to eat to feel good, and the quantities that keep things flowing nicely without overeating, which can slow us down and make us feel heavy. So now you are free to make smart food choices by following a regular eating plan that keeps caloric intake under control; with periodic eating for fun, so you don’t feel deprived.
A good, healthy diet, and regular exercises like brisk daily walking on flat surfaces, plus a strengthening and stretching class with a good teacher, may be all you need to feel great. By staying in your healthy weight range, you can take the pressure off joints that comes from extra weight, and clear up health problems like type 2 diabetes and back pain.
You can enjoy the good health that comes with good habits; not crash diets, binging, and exercise-related injuries that you may have experiences in your younger (not wiser) years.