None of us are getting any younger. But as we age, there’s no reason to stop doing the things we love – being active, taking a class with a friend, or just being healthy and fit so we can enjoy life. Staying fit and active in your fifties, sixties and beyond, of course, doesn’t – and shouldn’t –
have to look the same as it did when we were in our 20s. High intensity workouts with calorie burning and heart pumping levels of activity might not be right for everyone at every age, but staying fit in the second half of our lives can be just as engaging, satisfying and good for us. If you, a friend, or a loved one find it difficult to stay committed to regular exercise, here are a few smart steps and strategies to keep things on track.
Why Re-Commit to Exercising at Any Age?
It’s simply good for us to exercise at any age. Even a brisk walk three or four times a week builds or maintains muscle strength, lowers blood pressure over time and promotes mental health. But doing more will bring even more results. And it’s incredibly important too. After the age of 30, we lose 3-5 percent of our muscle mass with each passing decade but by eating a higher protein diet as we get older and exercising regularly – 45 minutes a day, five days a week, it’s possible to maintain and even develop muscle mass. In our 20s we’re often focused on doing this for aesthetics – to look better and feel confident, but later in life it’s much more critical for overall health. Think about core-strength conditioning, flexibility, balance and resistance exercises as more important components of working out as you get older to build functional strength for later in life – even while having fun.
Fitness isn’t about Being an Expert
In the 1990s and 2000s going to the gym was about performance – extreme workout programs, ultra-competition and global fitness crazes. People worked out to look good and let others see their results. But a lot has changed in club culture and fitness mentality. In the past five to ten years we’ve seen a shift to healthy workouts and fitness as part of a lifelong lifestyle. Many clubs and fitness brands, including our own, Move123, now focus on providing instruction and access for members of any fitness level or ability in a more inclusive, welcoming way. That means programs, classes and individual workouts in many cases geared deliberately to every ability level from newcomer to seasoned veteran. Our classes range from lower intensity workouts like yoga, stretch, meditation, breathe and Pilates to more intense sessions like Cardio, Fight, Strength, Barre and Dance. In this way members can work out in a way that is comfortable to them, developing confidence in technique and strength before deciding if they want to tackle something more intense or demanding. Move123 Silver similarly tailors classes to older member abilities and fitness levels, focusing on movement and functional mobility,
Don’t Let Lack of Time Stop You Working Out
Busy lives and crammed schedules happen at any age – and lack of time consistently scores highest on surveys of why people don’t work out enough or even quit altogether. But working out doesn’t have to mean being physically in a club or gym any more – something that can even be intimidating for older members or those less confident in their fitness level. New on-demand technologies and streaming content from fitness brands and clubs is the answer to fitting exercise into busy schedules but doing so on your terms and in ways that make you feel comfortable without the need to be “on display” in class. Try an online library of classes, or talk to a club about their digital and virtual offerings; many now offer member fitness in three ways: on-demand classes covering every kind of activity you see in a club, live streamed classes from club instructors and of course live, in-club classes for those who want to attend.
Bite-Sized Fitness for Success at Any Age
If even taking a regular, full-length, online or on-demand class can seem daunting don’t worry. Many fitness brands, online studios and content providers now offer bite-sized, short-form workouts and stand-alone exercises. 5-, 10-, 15, 20- and 30- minute specialty sessions that allow you to do a little exercise every day, to get in the habit and build a routine that can be added to. Committing to, at first 10- or 15- minute sessions is an easy gateway to connecting with a new fitness activity you will soon learn to love. Try a variety for a well-rounded experience: core-strength, abs, light weight training or simple stretch and meditation to relax you after a long day.
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Chantal Brodrick is an experienced Personal Trainer and Group Fitness Instructor having worked in the Fitness Industry for more than 14 years. She is a regular instructor featured on the Mind123 Strength, Cardio and Stretch series.