Making the Decision to Get Fit After 50
Have you finally made the decision to put all the excuses aside and become as physically fit as you can be?
That’s good news, because as someone in your 50s you are entering a very pivotal stage of life. If you live in a modernized country, you need to plan for life well into your 80s. That means taking your fitness seriously, but also developing a plan that makes sense for you at this stage of your life.
That’s what this blog series is all about – “Making the Decision to Get Fit After 50”, but doing it in such a way that you stay on track and actually see results along the way.
How are you going to accomplish this?
By simply following the pointers you receive in the following blog posts.
No matter what your age, you absolutely must get clearance from your Doctor to undertake any workout program. Once you do that, you need to understand your current level of physical fitness.
You’ll also get some sensible ideas for starting out on your exercise plan. And you’ll be reminded exactly why you should be exercising, and what you stand to gain.
Why Should I Exercise?
It’s funny, but if you ask someone why they are exercising, they will usually lie to you.
Not intentionally, mind you. But the reasons they give are what are called first level benefits. You ask someone why they want to exercise and they tell you, “To lose weight.”
But is that really why they are working out? They probably want to lose weight for another reason, a deeper or “hidden” benefit.
In other words, a 50-year-old man or woman may actually want to lose weight so they can become healthier. This improved health will guarantee they have many years to spend with their children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
That is what you need to ask yourself right now.
Why do you really want to become fit after 50?
What is your true motivation? When you find that one Big Reason for becoming fit in your 50s, you will understand immediately why you are exercising. This core motivation also guarantees you don’t let your fitness efforts fall by the wayside.
Sure, exercising and becoming fit in your 50s and beyond can help you lose weight. You can also become more flexible, meaning that there are fewer aches and pains in your joints. Physical fitness is proven to lead to healthy sleep patterns, a robust social life, fewer mental disorders and a longer life span.
And those are all great first level benefits.
But when you look into the loving eyes of your spouse, your children and grandchildren, no doubt you are going to find the real answer to the question, “Why should I exercise?”
Getting Your Doc’s Clearance
Time for a checkup!
Face it, you are or not in your teens or 20s anymore. You cannot just hit the basketball court, the running track, the Pilates or yoga class or begin lifting weights simply because you decided to get in shape. You need to get clearance from your Doctor or some other health professional before you start exercising regularly.
Even if you played sports in high school and college, or enjoyed a high level of physical fitness in your 30s and 40s, your body is simply not the same anymore.
For instance, did you know that the way the human knee is designed it was only created for about 40 or 50 years of use? That’s just one body part which is going to be very important to the success or failure of your exercise program.
So you need to contact your doctor immediately.
Ask her if there are any age-specific considerations you need to make that you may not have thought of. It could be that your Doctor can provide you with a “ready to go” exercise routine catered specifically to someone in their 50s.
At the very least, your doctor is going to want to check your heart rate, blood pressure, take a blood sample and possibly even run a few tests. You are at the age now where you seriously must consider the impact of strenuous exercise on a heart which has been beating steadily each and every day for more than 50 years.
And please, if you are in pretty good shape for someone your age, don’t just assume you are ready to tackle a physical fitness program. This consultation with your doctor could turn up some unforeseen health problem, and is an absolute first step requirement to ensure that your fitness efforts are successful as possible.
Assessing Your Fitness Level
Alright, you got your doctor’s blessing to start exercising.
Well, your next step is to see exactly what your level of physical fitness is. After all, you have to know where you are now in order to get where you are going. Fortunately, it is pretty easy to figure out your current level of fitness.
There are several ways you can go here.
First, you can hire a kinesiologist. This health professional assesses “human movement and performance and its rehabilitation and management to maintain, rehabilitate or enhance movement and performance.” That is quite a mouthful, and all it means is that a professional kinesiologist can quickly determine your exact level of physical fitness.
One other simple way to see exactly how fit you are requires briskly walking 1 mile (1.6 km).
You are going to record exactly how long it takes you to cover that 1 mile. Warm-up for 5 or 10 minutes first. Then walk 1 mile and time yourself. Walk as fast as you can without running, and then compare your results to those below for someone in their 50s.
Men over 50
Poor health – Over 16 minutes and 30 seconds
Fair health – 15 minutes 13 seconds to 16:30
Average fitness level – 14:25 to 15:12
Good shape – 13:24 – 14:24
Outstanding – under 13:24
Women over 50
Poor health – Over 18 minutes and 06 seconds
Fair health – 17:01 to 18:06
Average fitness level – 15:37 to 17:00
Good shape – 14:42 to 15:36
Outstanding – under 14:42
Got it? Great. Armed with this information, you know whether to start off with a beginner, mid-level or advanced physical fitness plan
Getting Started With Fitness After Fifty
By now you should have received your Doctor’s approval for starting an exercise program. You also know exactly what current level of physical fitness you enjoy.
Now it’s time to get to work.
But where do you start? With sit-ups and a walk around your neighborhood? Should you attend a yoga class or start a body weight training program? Maybe you should just practice leg raises on your couch while watching your favorite reality show.
If you are not sure where to start there are a few simple ways you can get active and begin seeing results quickly. The first recommendation here is to …
Let Amazon do the work for you.
Head over to Amazon.com and type “fitness after 50” into the search box.
A recent such search listed 1,000 results! You can filter by books, men’s or women’s health, exercise and fitness or DVD programs. There are even free Kindle e-books available for instant download. This is a great way to get started immediately on your commitment to getting fit after 50.
You can also take a trip to your local bookstore or library. There are plenty of fitness books written expressly for the over 50 crowd.
If you want to get started immediately, hit the floor in your living room.
Perform as many sit-ups and push-ups as you can without pushing yourself too hard. Do the same with deep knee bends and biceps curls for 20 to 30 minutes a day on alternate days while you are waiting for your Amazon purchases to arrive.