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,
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