Helpful Exercise Tips for Women Over 50
Helpful Exercise Tips for Women Over 50
So do you look at your workouts as an obligation or an opportunity? As we age staying active and fit becomes even more important in our lives. Everyone’s definition of “active” and “looking fit” is different. Whatever your reason or definition, I hope that some of these things will be helpful exercise tips for you. I also believe that when you look at your workout time as an opportunity you will find it much more rewarding.
Why look at this time as an opportunity? It is your time. Time that you are focusing on you and you alone. Whether you choose to take 30 minutes or 1 hour and 30 minutes out of your day it is your time. You get to choose what you do with that time. It could be walking, taking a class, lifting weights, hula hooping. Whatever you enjoy so that you get your body moving.
Why I’m Talking About Helpful Exercise Tips
Staying healthy and fit is a priority in my life. It is something that I enjoy doing for me. Honestly, it has not always been a focus in my life and I really didn’t fall in love with working out until I was in my mid 40s. You can read all about my fitness journey here.
Now in my mid 50s I still work out at least 5 days a week. Sometimes a 6th day, but that is usually just a walk. It just depends upon the intensity of the workouts I am doing and if I have enough time and fuel to get all of the things in. I realize that my body needs days off and recovery time. More now than 10 years ago. Can you relate?
I focus on lifting weights 3 days a week. That is something that I really enjoy. I have a plan that I follow, put my earplugs in and some good 80s tunes on, and think about nothing but lifting weights. The other things that I make sure I do every week are a combination of barre, yoga and/or mat pilates. In addition to those daily workouts I also make sure that I stretch good before I go to bed. Doing just a few minutes of stretching helps me relax my body from the day’s events and I sleep so much better. You can read about my nighttime winddown routine here. By the way, if you have the Headspace app their Move section has some amazing yoga and stretching videos. That is what I use many nights.
So now let’s breaks things down a little bit and focus on the areas that will keep us fit in our 50s and beyond. We can all use reminders that are helpful exercise tips. I am always looking for ways to improve my fitness and sometimes just a little reminder will trigger something that I need to add in.
Once we hit the big 50 it’s really time to make sure that we spend time on balance. Balance is so important in our daily lives. Good balance will help us not to fall and injure ourselves so that we can stay active for many years to come.
How can you improve your balance?
Simple things daily can improve your balance. Think about standing on one leg while you brush your teeth. Another easy way is when you are getting up from a chair or sofa don’t use your hands. It will make you work a little harder. Personally I start my weight workouts by going into an empty group fitness room and balancing on one leg on a Bosu ball. Some days I can do 30 seconds on each leg and other days I can do a minute. Just remember no 2 days are the same, but you do get better at it.
Yoga and barre classes are also great opportunities to work on your balance. If you do it consistently you will be able to look back and see your progress. All of sudden you will be able to hold poses that you couldn’t in prior months.
Oh my gosh. Having a strong core helps us with so much in our daily lives that we don’t realize. I just have to share that recently I had surgery on my neck for my parathyroid (BTW you don’t realize how many muscles you have in your neck) and my strong core came in to save the days. Getting in and out of bed, rolling over to get comfortable in bed, getting up from a chair…. all of these simple things that were suddenly uncomfortable due to my neck and protecting it.
So what are ways to strengthen your core?
Simple moves such as bridges, planks, and opposite hand leg raises and can easily be made more difficult with variations. Also think about adding compound movements to your workouts. Push-ups (yes, you can modify them on your knees), mountain climbers, squats, lunges.
One of my favorite types of cardio that really works on my abs and core is something that you can practice at home with no equipment is jump rope. I always pretend that I am holding one because I am terrible at using a real one. Talk about a great full body workout and it will work your abs/core. If only we had known its benefits when we were little girls playing outside. We wouldn’t have stopped. Another fun one you can do at home is hula hooping. They now make weighted ones like this. Not only will you burn some calories, work on your core, but I promise you will get to laugh at yourself which will also activate those belly muscles.
So many women shy away from this, but this is so important because after the age of 50 we just start losing muscle mass. Just a fact of life. We need to save the muscle that we have and focus on building more lean muscle so that we have the strength to do “all of the little things” in life. Trust me on this tidbit. One of my biggest things that I am proud of is that I never ask my husband to help me open a jar of anything. Yep, the fact that I pick up dumbbells and use them regularly has made my hands and forearms stronger over the years. I may use a little gripper, but I don’t have to ask for help. Ladies, it’s the little things in life and they do add up.
So, how do you add in strength training?
My helpful exercise tip for this is don’t be intimidated by dumbbells or weight equipment at the gym. People really aren’t looking at what you are doing. I think that is why many women are fearful of the “free weight” area in the gym.
Never fear, if that is not for you there are plenty of other ways to gain strength as we age. Yes, you can do all sorts of group fitness classes that are just for weight bearing that the instructors will make it fun. You can also find pilates and yoga classes that will use very light weights.
Stretching and flexibility. First of all, the more flexible you are the easier other forms or exercise are. Just a few minutes when you get out of bed, a few minutes before and after you exercise, and a few minutes before bedtime can make a world of difference in how your body feels and operates. My helpful exercise tips here are if you think about breaking it down that way, then it doesn’t seem so daunting and you will feel better. Not only your body, but your mind.
The other biggie that I have found is that I feel and look taller because of all of my stretching. My posture is better and my body doesn’t has as many aches and pains because I show my muscles a little love by doing this daily.
Little Things I Do That Add Up
This kind of goes back to the old addage….calories in versus calories out. When I am out an about I don’t look for the closest parking space (unless it’s raining hard or very cold), I get a few extra steps in and park further away. I take stairs as often as I can versus an elevator or escalator.
I will break up my work day (I work from home) by taking a short 5-10 minute walk around the block in the middle of the day when I go out to get the mail. Not only does it stretch out my legs, but it lifts my spirits by getting a little fresh air and natural vitamin D.
Water, water, water. I make sure I get LOTS of water in every day. It really is a habit. Every morning I pour myself a pitcher of water and don’t let myself have anything else that day until I have taken in a certain amount of water. Not only does it help you stay full, but it is fabulous for your skin. Here’s a good water intake calculator to help you determine the amount of water that your body needs.
As always, thanks for taking the time to stop by my little corner of the internet and read my post. I really do appreciate it more than you know. Hopefully you found a little tidbit of this information about exercise helpful. My helpful exercise tips may not be earth shattering, but something hearing them from someone who uses them and truly believes in them helps. Workouts are an opportunity for us to maintain or improve our health and mental well being and it is never too late to start. Enjoy a little you time.
Remember to always have a little SASs in your day!
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This is so good Beth. I do believe balance and flexibility is incredibly important yet so neglected. My weak point is weights. I need to do that more.
Thanks. Balance and flexibility are so key. Try finding a class where the weight movements are also very functional so that they will help will everyday things too. Just recovering from surgery recently made me so thankful that I have such a strong core.