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Fit at fifty and beyond

Fit at fifty and beyond

Attention over-fifties! When was the last time you visited a gym?

You kind of know you should be making an effort, right? But do excuses such as ‘too expensive’; ‘lack of time’, and ‘no motivation’, sound familiar?  Or maybe like me you have a pathological fear of lycra?

But assuming you have no major health problems we can tackle this issue in bite-size chunks.

As an over-fifty myself (quite a lot over if I’m honest) I overcame my own gym-phobia and have been reaping the rewards since.

Motivation This is the key. You need a specific goal. I wanted to achieve a healthier lifestyle with improved cardiovascular fitness.

Time Look in your diary and you will find a spare hour at least once, or better still, two or three times a week.

Cost Can be as expensive or affordable as you want.  A ladies-only gym with a personal trainer can be expensive, but a mixed gym membership in off-peak hours brings the cost down considerably and you can still get instruction and advice from an on-site trainer. Most gyms now take membership fees on a monthly direct debit basis. 

Clothing Lycra isn’t compulsory, but clothes must be comfortable, and this includes your undergarments. Remember, it’s not a fashion parade and chafed tender bits will put you off exercise forever!

Gym equipment

If you’re feeling hesitant repeat to yourself, “I can do this; I want a healthier and fitter me; I have the time to do this”. This is your Mantra. Say it often enough and you will start to believe it.  Don’t be put off by glum folk who say it’s all a waste of time.  Mix with positive people who will encourage you and improve your self-esteem. 

Metabolism slows down as you get older and this can lead to weight gain, but exercise helps keep weight on an even keel because you build lean muscle. You also improve your immune system and cardiovascular system; reduce bad cholesterol and boost brain-power.  Research shows that only 32% of men and 21% of women aged over 50 in England undertake some form of regular exercise.  In the over-65’s this drops to 17% of men and 12% of women, and in Scotland the figures are even less!

The trainers at your Gym will discuss the best way to get you back into shape. If you haven’t exercised before or for a long while they will advise that you start slowly and build up gradually. 

Good instructors are enthusiastic and well-trained and will arrange a set of exercises to suit to you. Before you know it, you’ll have a routine e.g. 5 minutes bike, 5 minutes treadmill, 5 minutes weights. It will only take a few sessions before you improve and begin to compete with yourself. You’ll notice the benefits of improved posture; glowing skin; improved breathing, zest and vitality almost immediately. 

We are all living longer but perhaps we should also be aiming to live more healthily too.


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