Managing to stay fit at any age presents its own set of hurdles and challenges, particularly in our older years when metabolisms begin to slow down and our muscles, bones and joints aren’t as strong as they once were. Far too many people associate being fit with being skinny, but there are definitive differences between them, and this is never more apparent than during the later years of life when some forms of exercise simply aren’t an option anymore.With age our joints, muscles and bones will inevitably become frailer and thus are more sensitive and prone to injuries than in younger years. Because of things like arthritis and osteoporosis, we may find that are options are limited when it comes to staying fit, but there are still plenty of exercises that one can do in their 50’s and continue to do well into their 80’s or 90’s.
Although your 40’s are the new 30’s say some, this decade can be difficult and you will likely notice some drastic changes in your body. This is the age when metabolism really starts to decrease and men and women notice their waists expanding for no apparent reason. This decade can also be one that is stressful, and stress causes our bodies to hang on to fat like never before and then store it in the most inopportune places like the belly and thighs.
Your 40’s is when you should be focusing on cardiovascular activities such as brisk walking, bike riding, aerobics and swimming because this is also the time when our risk for heart disease increases. Having and maintaining a healthy heart will help to keep such diseases at bay. Since most are still active and healthy in their 40’s take advantage of this time and engage in at least three cardiovascular exercise regimes per week.
You will also need to pay closer attention to what you are eating. Cutting back on sugar and sodium and increasing your fruit, lean protein and veggies can help you remain fit and healthy.
For women especially, more changes are to come with this decade because of the onset of menopause. Menopause will also slow down your metabolism and cause your hormones to run rampant. Night sweats can often cause lack of sleep which will automatically make you feel more fatigued, but now more than ever, you need to get as much solid sleep as possible and stay active. Your 50’s are a pivotal time when heart disease rears its ugly head and the elasticity within the skin decreases, which will cause a loss of firmness and an increase in wrinkles.
For your diet it’s important to eat more fiber to regulate the digestive system, eat complex carbohydrates which will vamp up your energy level and also eat more dairy which helps combat osteoporosis. Bones need to be healthy and strong in order to sustain physical activities.
You may notice now that your joints and muscles cause some pain and discomfort where they didn’t before and thus you will need to be more creative when it comes to cardiovascular exercises. The idea of cardio exercise is to increase your heart rate and keep it there, but to not put too much force or pressure on aching body parts.
Swimming, bike riding and walking are all great cardio exercises for those in their 50’s and each can be modified to suit your level of fitness.
During your 60’s you will likely have to contend with balance and strength issues and will again have to alter your exercises. Because bones and joints are more susceptible to injuries, take caution to not do any exercises that could jeopardize your health or cause you to break bones.
Walking is still a good way to get some cardio but you may not be able to walk for as long or the same distance and that is okay. You should also consider some exercises that help with strengthening core muscles, massaging joints and will help with balance, but are low intensity such as Yoga or Pilates. Both of those will help your muscles remain strong and toned, are moderate or low impact and really help with focus, breathing and balance.
Swimming is another great exercise to burn some calories and work in some cardio as well without over doing it.
Exercising and staying fit in your 70’s is still possible, but again doctors caution their patients to take it easy. By this point in your life the focus should be more on healthy eating habits and less about cardio exercise because there is a risk of broken or dislocated bones. Dementia is also a common concern at this age so you may be limited if you don’t drive or are forgetful.
But exercise is the one thing that has been proven to combat dementia and Alzheimer’s so if you can manage it, definitely do it. Focus on low impact anaerobic exercises like walking which will keep your heart rate up, but also mix in some exercises that will keep you balanced and maintain your posture.
Swimming is still a good option, as are doing some leg lifts and even lifting some one or two pound weights for toning. Just be sure to not overdo it and listen to your body. If joints and muscles begin to ache stop what you are doing and resume a day or two later.
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