All too often women hit the big 5-0 and decide it’s all downhill from there. They accept their expanding waistline, pick the sofa over a power walk. And, they convince themselves that there’s no point in exercising because they’ll never look or feel as good as they did in their 20s.
But that shouldn’t be the case. Exercise and eating healthy foods is about more than how you look. It’s about expanding your health-span. That’s the number of years for which you’re happy and healthy, mentally and physically. Whereas your life-span is how long you’re on this earth for.
Concentrate on toning up, or just getting healthy, because it’s all absolutely possible if you’re 50 or at any age. (We heard a story of a woman in her 90’s who learned to walk again thanks to her personal trainer).
Fit4Mum founder, Melissa Lorch has spoken to Lumity Life magazine to give some top tips on how to get fit.
Even people in their 30s have started using age as an excuse for bad knees and backs but what happened to ’40 is the new 30′ and ’50 the new 40′?
“50 isn’t old,” insists Melissa. “It certainly isn’t too old to get in shape. Even if you’re completely deconditioned you can turn it around.”
The UK government guidelines recommend healthy adults get 150 minutes of exercise per week. That might sound like a lot when you’re used to doing nothing but you don’t have to jump straight into a high energy gym class.
“Just walk,” says Melissa. “30 minutes of walking everyday is a fantastic way to start and if you can add a couple of days of strength training a week too you’ll soon start seeing and feeling the difference.”
Not just at the gym but in your day to day life too.
“We live a much more sedentary lifestyle nowadays and that can have a real impact on our fitness,” explains Melissa. “It might sound silly but cars have power steering, even vacuum cleaners are easier to push around, our lives are just way less active. So you need to add more movement in general to your day to day life. Park further away from the shops, take the stairs, it all adds up.”
The good news is you don’t even have to do your daily exercise all in one go.
“If you’re stuck for time do it in 10 minute increments. Even if you’re really busy you can probably find 10 minutes three times a day to get your blood pumping.”
Getting fit won’t happen overnight but it doesn’t take that long to begin your transformation.
“You’ll see a difference within about 4-6 weeks,” Melissa says. “Everyone is different obviously but the key is consistency. You won’t get fit if you only manage one day a week of walk, cycling or exercising at the gym.”
It’s all very well making the decision to get in shape but if you HATE what you’re doing then you’re unlikely to stick with it.
“The best exercise is one you can do consistently,” explains Melissa. “There really is something for everyone. If walking bores you then try a gentle bike ride. If that doesn’t float your boat try something else. But don’t give up.”
From the age of 30 your metabolism slows down by about 5% per decade so by the time you get to 50 and you haven’t strength trained it’s hard to get back into it – but not impossible.
We aren’t talking about strength training to necessarily build big muscles but to keep your body strong and healthy.
“You need to prevent muscle wastage which happens with age,” says Melissa. “Picking up your shopping, your grandkids or even mowing the lawn takes muscles and you need to keep using them. There are plenty of movements you can do at home without any equipment at all. Start with press ups against the wall or from your knees. Squats and lunges, they all help build and maintain muscle strength.”
It’s not just about exercise, diet plays a huge part in your health.
“As you age, you need less calories, especially if you’re not particularly active,” explains Melissa. “A healthy diet is essential but if you eat more calories than you burn (even if they come from fruit and vegetables) you’ll gain weight. It doesn’t matter how much time you spend in the gym if your diet is letting you down.”
Government guidelines suggest women eat approximately 2,000 a day, but after 50 is recommended a woman only consumes that amount if they live a very active lifestyle. Otherwise it’s between 1600 and 1800 calories.
“Keeping in shape doesn’t have to be a chore,” concludes Melissa. “Once you build movement into your life on a regular basis you’ll wonder why you didn’t do it sooner.”
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