This post is part of the Gorgeous 50’s series inspired by a book given to me by one of my sisters on my 50th birthday – ‘Grown up and Gorgeous in your 50’s’ by Pamela Robson. I will be sharing some of Pamela’s words and my own thoughts along the way. To see all posts published as part of this series, go here.
ACTION! Regular exercise is one of the best answers to weight gain and stiffness. Everyone who is healthy can exercise. Even if you’ve hardly run a step since you left the school playground, there’s nothing to stop you getting into it in middle age. The secret to staying the distance is to go at your own pace. There are three very important factors to consider …
From our early 30’s we lose about one percent of muscle mass every year. Muscle means strength, and this is important for balance and avoiding osteoporosis. But muscle also governs our metabolism. Put simply, the more muscle we have, the higher our metabolic rate. The higher our metabolic rate, the easier it is to stay slim. So make sure your exercise regimen includes some light weight training. The good news is that even if you have already lost quite a bit of muscle, it’s never too late to start building it up again.
One of the best things about walking and running is that they are cheap. All you need is a well-fitting pair of running shoes and a safe, pleasant spot. Aim to work up a sweat for between 30 and 40 minutes about three times a week. Start by walking as briskly as you can for as long as you can. Enjoy the views. Smile at passers by. Gradually increase the time period and the pace. Only go at the rate at which you feel comfortable. Keep reminding yourself that you are helping your bones rebuild, you are losing fat, and your heart is thanking you for it.
Staying flexible is essential for your balance, your posture and for avoiding injury. Simple stretches will do the trick, but yoga and Pilates have huge followings for a very good reason – the professionally taught poses go hand-in-hand with healthy breathing techniques and a very addictive mind calming and clearing effect.
Tick, tick and tick! I agree with all that Pamela has said. We have to move ladies! We don’t have to be athletes or go to extremes, we simply need to find some forms of activity that we enjoy and keep doing them. We need to make them a non-negotiable part of our daily routine, just like brushing our teeth is. Never has the saying “Use it or lose it” been more real than now, in our midlife.
As Pamela says, we need to build muscle so should find an activity we enjoy that involves some light weight training. We need to get our heart rates up so some brisk walking or jogging would be great. We also need to stretch to avoid injury and increase or at least maintain flexibility.
I do Reformer Pilates three times per week. I believe that would put ticks beside doing a weight bearing activity and doing a variety of fabulous stretches. I walk 5-6 km’s twice weekly (but can be slack and miss it sometimes) which is my cardio. I probably should increase the walking to three times a week and be more consistent with it.
These two activities are ones that I enjoy so that means I am much more likely to stick to them, and I mostly have! I have learnt that I am not a runner. I tried, but my body objects. It makes me feel like throwing up, I can’t breathe, and my hips and joints rebel. I don’t beat myself up about this though. I’ve accepted it, found what I enjoy and can do, and I’m happy with what I do. I also like the occasional bush walk, particularly rainforests. Love them! I did a 6 week beginner course in Yoga but have yet to incorporate that into my weekly routine, much as I want to! Sometimes it’s so hard to fit everything in, isn’t it? We’re human, not super-human, so take your time and prioritize according to what feels right for you.
If you’ve always been fit and exercised all your life, you might enjoy more vigorous exercise than what I do. If you’re new to regular exercise, you may wish to build up to more vigorous exercise over time. However, it is not essential! We simply need to move in order to build muscle for healthy metabolisms, and get our heart rates up on a regular basis to help keep us healthy, have strong bones, and be able to enjoy our lives. Don’t forget to do a series of stretches before and after exercise, and keep in mind, that regular activity is not only good for our bodies, but good for our minds too!
What form of exercise do you enjoy? Are you doing it … regularly?
Ciao for now,
Link up here at WOTM or with another of us in the Lovin’ Life Linky team:
Leanne of Deep Fried Fruit | Kathy of 50 Shades of Age |
Deborah of Debbish | Jo of The Hungry Writer – Joanne Tracey.
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I do think stretching can be SO important and something we don’t think about much!! As a dentist, we had to learn all about the human body and dissect a cadaver….so you realize how everything is all connected!!
I seem to LOVE stretches so much more at this age. Gee they feel good! lol Yes, as a dentist and with the training you’ve had, your perspective would be so interesting Jodie! 🙂 xo
I’m so slack on the stretching thing, but walk daily & get to the gym a few times a week for some weights. I’m carrying way too much weight, but at least I’m moving every day. Move it or lose it.
I was always slack on the stretching too but since I’ve been doing pilates it’s incorporated before, during and after and I’ve found I LOVE the stretches. They feel sooooo good! You’re doing well Jo – all those walks and getting to the gym! Good for you! I envy those beach walks *sigh*!! xo
I’m useless at stretching but will try more, as I get so many niggles these days. I need to make exercise a priorty, as I’m getting so fat! My metabolism changed and I’m reluctant to change my eating habits to match it….
Try to do the stretches Lydia – they feel so good and they really do make an enormous difference. It’s a sad fact that as we get older our bodies want to store fat (due to our decline is oestrogen) because oestrogen can be sourced from our fat apparently! SO… we have to move and we have to eat healthy. We feel better for it anyway. We just need to find the right things that we enjoy. 🙂
I walk daily, go to the gym 3x/ week, yoga 2x/ week, swim 1x/ week and run 5k weekly. I enjoy a variety of exercises and have mixed and matched them over the years. I’m thinking of replacing running with cycling starting from next March when it’s spring time for me.
Wow Natalie – you’re on fire! Good for you. Your body and mind will thank you for it! 🙂 xo
Big fan of exercise here. I do something daily. Trying not to overdo it though, I’ve just gotten the all clear to pick up the running pace and distance again this week. I tend to love cardio and weights but have to make a conscious effort to get my stretches in as well.
Well done SSG! Wish I could be a runner but not to be. I really enjoy my pilates though and my walking and I’d really like to incorporate yoga too … but 1) time and 2) money! Get those stretches in … they feel soooo good and they’re good for injury prevention. xo
Great tips. I don’t do anywhere near enough exercise but I’m trying to fix that at the moment. Need to get back into yoga to improve my flexibility.
Thanks Melissa! I’ve tried so many forms of exercise over the years. Forced myself to do stuff to try and get fit. Stuff I hated doing. I always ended up stopping. I’ve learnt that it HAS to be something that you enjoy or won’t be sustainable. For me its Pilates and Walking and I really do love Yoga too. 🙂
I think we all know how important exercise is for us at this stage of life Min – I just WISH I enjoyed it like Sue and some of the others! I have no clue how anyone can look forward to an early morning gym workout or a 10km run – it is just beyond my comprehension. I’ve decided to stick with my daily walks because I enjoy them enough to keep going and I’ve added in my weekly Tai Chi class – I really need to up the ante but I know deep down that it isn’t going to happen.
Leanne – walking and Tai Chi are fantastic! I’m not an exercise lover like Sue and others either. By that I mean – vigorous exercise. I can’t do it anymore. But you don’t need to do vigorous exercise like that – you just need to move … and regularly. You’re doing that so YAY! 🙂 xo
Yep, absolutely with you and Pam on this one. So important to keep moving, and in all sorts of different ways for different benefits. That’s interesting about muscle increasing metabolism. I’ve got really sluggish metabolism (as in thyroid stuff), so maybe if I bulk up my metabolism would kick in more !
Yes when you increase your muscle mass you boost your resting metabolism and that makes your body burn more calories. Doesn’t mean you have to become a body builder and build big muscles though – just means it is really beneficial to have some weight training as part of your exercise regime! 🙂
I agree 100%. Exercise is a big part of my life and I pretty much do some form of it every day. I love walking most mornings, but otherwise I like to do Studio Pilates and Yoga. I was a member of a gym earlier this year, but found I enjoy my Pilates classes more.
I enjoy my Reformer Pilates much more than gym too Kathy. I miss it at the moment because as I’ve been sick for 2 weeks now I haven’t been!
I’m on board with the weights and stretching Min, but I tend to avoid cardio at high levels because I hate the sweat!!! It means I have to wash my hair, which means I have to dry my hair, and frankly I can’t be bothered with that more than a couple of times a week, lol. I’m happy to do a good brisk walk for half an hour, but come the summer months even that goes by the wayside. I rejoined the gym a few months ago because I knew I needed more serious weight-bearing exercise, but any excuse and I give it a miss!! Having just written that though, I’m heading there in a little while………..
Ugh – I’m afraid I don’t like cardio at high levels either Sue! I can tolerate the sweat though I don’t like it much. I just can’t breathe and start to get nauseous. I completely get the excess showering and having to wash your hair thing! Lol I tend to have the ‘any excuse and I give it a miss thing’ happen with my walking. Not sure why because I do enjoy it once there. With pilates I go with a friend so we keep each other accountable and I really do enjoy it and it makes me feel good! 🙂
I was so pleased to read Sue’s comment above because naughty me I also hate to stretch. But I do walk 5km twice a week at a reasonable but not fast pace, Reformer Pilates once a week (love it!) and gym twice a week with some cardio but mostly weights. I am currently a bit restricted due to a rotator cuff injury but trying to work around that and hoping to get back to some swimming as that heals and the weather warms up. I have learned to love my exercise which wasn’t always the case, for me the secret is in having a mix of things so I don’t get bored.
Another Reformer Pilates lover! It’s a wonderful form of exercise on so many levels, isn’t it? I get some fabulous stretching covered during my pilates classes. I’m sure you would too. Must say I never think to stretch before or after my walks! I’ve not always been an exercise lover either Jan. I’m short and not built for sport or speed so was never a sporty girl. I used to do aerobics back in the day though, and I played a bit of squash and tennis! haha I’m very happy to have worked out what I enjoy doing now so I’ll keep doing my best! I tend to get bored too, so like variety as you do but get overwhelmed if I try and squeeze too much into my weeks. I hope your injury improves soon!
This is where I’m at right now. I used to be the type of person who needed to work out at a gym, but I really don’t have the time or money any more. I recently decided that this was fine – walking and lots of stretching and yoga would be a start, at least for now. Anything is better than nothing, and I really feel better after taking time out in nature. It’s even better if I drag a teen, friend and/or the dog out with me. My favourite exercise is anything that doesn’t feel like exercise, so walking somewhere beautiful, riding a bike, doing yoga (even if it is more challenging than it used to be) and swimming are all great. Oh and dancing – as long as I don’t embarrass the kids!
You’re right – anything/something is better than nothing! The kind of exercise you enjoy is much the same as what I do too. Gyms don’t do it for me. Been there and tried but eventually I tire of it and stop going. I need variety. I love being outdoors in nature. Love pilates/yoga/walking! Dancing is a good one. I rarely ever do that but I should! Go for it Bronnie – who cares if you embarass the kids! Lol xo
For me it’s all about the walking and the toning. I have tried gyms, a PT, weights, kettle bells, boot camp, running. None of it is kind to my fibromyalgia. So my exercise is walking (brisk) and toning done with my body. Dips, leg raises, arm exercises (cheerleading style), lunges, etc. #teamlovinlife
I love myself some brisk walking outdoors too Leanne. I’ve done the gym, bootcamp, running thing – none of which work for me. What you’re doing sounds great! 🙂