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Everything You Need to Know About Exercising in Your 50s

The guidelines are clear. If you’re in good health, you should take at least two and a half hours of moderate-intensity exercise every week. If you’re already fighting fit, you could replace this with 75 minutes of high-intensity activity.

Keeping fit over 50 almost always means moving as much as possible. Whether you’re already a fitness freak or just starting out, read on to find out how to exercise safely and consistently.

Routine, Routine, Routine!

Of all the fitness mantras out there, this one is probably the key to success. Those who achieve optimum levels of fitness will have built a routine of activities into their daily lives. These could include:

  • Running rather than walking up and down stairs
  • Walking and not driving to the shops
  • Cycling to work
  • Enrolling in fitness classes at their local leisure or community centre

It’s important to pick fitness activities you know you’ll enjoy. This will boost your chances of sticking to them.

Understanding Types of Fitness Activities

Keeping fit over 50 means staying across the two main types of training to include in your fitness schedule. These are:

  • Cardiovascular or aerobic activities
  • Muscle strengthening exercises

Walking, running and swimming are predominantly cardio activities, but they also do some strengthening work as well. Weight training and pushups are mainly strengthening exercises but can also include a little cardio.

Both kinds of exercise are important. Cardio training is great for the heart and lungs, and strengthening exercises help keep bones and joints in the best possible condition.

Cardio Exercise Ideas

Many people see 50 as the new 40. If you’re already physically fit, there is no reason why you shouldn’t be cycling up mountains, swimming a hundred lengths or running a marathon.

The only difference is that you may not be able to do these activities as fast as you could in your teens or twenties. You should probably also consider finding alternatives to high-impact sports that can cause damage to your joints and back.

Cycling and swimming are far less hard on the body than running outdoors on hard surfaces. If running is your go-to cardio activity, you could try switching to:

  • Running on grass
  • Using a running machine at your local leisure centre
  • Incorporating long brisk walks or hikes into your weekly fitness regime

Men over 50 have developed a reputation for taking up cycling. Joining a cycling group is a great way to make new friends and share new experiences. It can fend off loneliness and boredom, turning a fitness activity into a lifestyle choice.

However, key issues can be bad weather and dangerous roads. Using a static bike at a leisure centre or joining a cycle class are good alternatives. 

Young at Heart but in Need of Cardio Alternatives

Your running days may be over, and you may be struggling to find cardio exercises now that you are slowing down. Nothing beats a brisk walk, but enrolling in some appropriate leisure centre activities can also offer solutions you may not have considered before.

Some centres offer Pickleball, which is ideal for keeping fit over 50. The sport combines elements of tennis, badminton, and table tennis. It involves using a paddle and plastic ball and is very easy to learn. The game is accessible to those of all fitness levels and encourages social interaction.

The smaller court means less running and less risk to joints. However, like badminton, it’ll still give you an excellent aerobic workout. Other cardio activities to watch for in your later years are walking netball as well as dance and tap classes.

Building Muscle and Boosting Strength

You’ll find plenty of over-50s pumping iron in their local leisure centre or gym. What matters most is mitigating the risk of injury. It’s very easy to develop bad habits and resist change, especially of you’ve been working out using weights for a long time.

If you’re a regular weight-training user and enjoy keeping fit over 50, schedule regular checks with a fitness instructor. Ask them to examine your technique. You may find you have to exert less energy to achieve the same results by simply tweaking your weight-training routine.

If weight training in a gym is not for you, you might want to consider other strength-building exercises. Some of these you can even try at home. You could, for example, replace weights with cans of beans or a heavy book.

You will still be able to do most of the exercises you could do at a gym. These include bicep curls, shoulder presses, and bench presses. You could also create a home workout routine of strength-building exercises such as lunges, press-ups and burpees.

This could be the beginning of a new fitness journey for you. Starting weight-training exercises at home can lead to a desire for formal training at your local leisure centre.

Combatting Loneliness

Often described as the silent killer, loneliness can creep up on anyone when they least expect it. Joining a leisure centre or gym can mitigate the risks of loneliness later in life.

You will immediately find a sense of belonging by being with like-minded people who want to stay fit like you. You may also discover fitness opportunities that you had never even considered.

Engaging with others can open doors to activities beyond fitness. Plenty of gym or leisure centre members make life-long friends with whom they can share their creative passions or simply meet for a weekly coffee.

Why Keeping Fit Over 50 Is So Important

Staying physically fit is always good for our mental well-being. It helps us fend off disease and can reduce the likelihood of falls in our later years. What matters is exercising wisely when keeping fit over 50.

That means understanding your body’s limits and participating in activities you enjoy.

We are all different. What works for you may not work for everyone.

Variety is the spice of life, so whether you’re an old hand or starting out on a healthier lifestyle, mix it up. One of the best ways is to combine exercise at home with the activities available at your local leisure centre or gym. Check out what’s available at a leisure centre near you today.