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6 Tips for Staying Fit over 50

A senior man and woman bicycling on a forest trail.

Remaining physically active throughout your life is one of the best ways to maintain your health and well-being. Knowing which are the best fitness routines and practices as you age will help you stay in shape and prevent any injuries. Here are a few things that can help you stay fit over 50.

It’s only natural that our bodies can’t perform the same physical feats in our 50s that they could in our 20s. Still, it can be frustrating when you discover that you can’t be as active as you used to be. However, just because you can’t run five miles every day anymore doesn’t mean that you can’t stay in shape. These tips can help you stay active and healthy well after the big “five-oh.”

Don’t Skip the Warm-Up

This is a good tip for everyone, no matter their age or level of fitness. Skipping warm-ups can cause serious problems as we age because it takes our body a bit longer to loosen up and get the circulation flowing to all of our muscles.

It’s especially important to warm up before any physical activity, but it’s also a great way to start each day! Doing a simple stretching routine first thing in the morning will awaken your tendons and joints and release any overall tension.

Warming up also minimizes your risk of pulling the wrong muscle or putting too much pressure on your joints. You don’t want to cause an injury that you’ll then have to take time off to recover from.

If you take at least 10-15 minutes to properly warm up before doing anything strenuous, not only will you enjoy your workout more, but you’ll also be doing it safely.

Always Stretch Afterward

Just as warming up is important before your workout, so is properly stretching afterward. During exercise, your muscles contract and create tiny micro-tears which, when repaired naturally, can cause your muscles to grow and get stronger.

Stretching helps promote and speed up recovery, flush out toxins, reduce inflammation, and break down lactic acid, which is a natural by-product of straining and working out. Use your breath to guide you through your poses and don’t rush—give your body a chance to react and respond.

Another great recovery tool that you can use in conjunction with stretching is foam rolling. It can tackle those highly tense areas with even greater efficiency. This method uses your body pressure to roll out any pain, inflammation, stress, or water retention.

Avoid Harsh Weather Conditions

Running in the midday heat or taking your bicycle out in the pouring rain might not be the best way to work on your fitness. If you get too overheated, it can cause dehydration or an increased heart rate, and balancing your bike on a slippery road isn’t worth the risk either.

Harsh weather conditions increase anyone’s risk of injury, no matter their age. So, try to engage in outdoor activities only on dry days, preferably in the early morning or late evening when the temperature is milder. Not only will you enjoy your workout more, but you also won’t have to worry about getting hurt.

On rainy or snowy days, opt for an indoor workout routine like the one shown above.

Listen to Your Body

Senior man and woman doing yoga.

Listening to your body is important for everyone, but it’s especially important as you age. Pay attention to the signs that it gives you and don’t force workouts or positions on it that you find to be too strenuous or uncomfortable.

If you’re feeling tired, engage in a more relaxing activity like walking or yoga, and avoid any movements that don’t feel right. Always modify your positions when needed and take breaks whenever you’re out of breath.

Always respect your body’s boundaries and act accordingly. To keep your body at its optimal level, you just have to find that sweet spot between strain and recovery. That’s how you’ll be able to continue to enjoy your morning run or gym routine without overdoing it. After all, an injury will only send you right back to square one.

Replenish with Nutritious Foods

Diet plays such an important role in optimizing our health and fitness. Knowing which foods help you perform better, recover faster, and reduce overall inflammation is crucial for you to thrive, no matter which stage of life you’re at.

Fill your plate with colorful, micronutrient-rich vegetables and fruits. High-fiber complex carbs, like beans, legumes, wild rice, and sweet potatoes are also an excellent idea.

Make sure that you’re getting plenty of healthy fats as well, from avocadoes, nuts and seeds, or fatty fish. Quality protein from grass-fed meat, wild-caught fish, or healthy vegan sources is also a must.

This type of diet will keep your blood pressure and blood sugar in check, lower inflammation, and promote better recovery. It also provides you with enough energy and stamina to sustain higher-impact workouts.

What you put in your body counts, so take some time to experiment in the kitchen with nutritious foods that you actually enjoy.

Schedule Regular Health Checkups

A doctor wearing a stethoscope and listening to a senior male's heartbeat.
Monkey Business Images/Shutterstock.com

Health checkups are always important, but they’re especially important as we get older. It’s crucial that you see your doctor about any concerns, pains, or discomfort that you might be feeling. Schedule regular doctor visits, keep all of your numbers in check, and follow any special instructions that you receive from your care provider.

If you want to start a new fitness routine, be sure to check with your physician first, especially if you’ve recently had to deal with any health issues. He or she will be able to tell you which activities you should avoid as well as which you can include.

It’s always best to get the green light from a professional before you continue or start a fitness activity. Remember, safety first, always.

Just because you’ve passed a milestone birthday doesn’t mean that you can’t stay on top of your fitness goals. Following these tips can help you avoid any unnecessary risks or injuries when you work out. Always listen to your body and respect your limits.

Karla Tafra Karla Tafra
Karla is a certified yoga teacher, nutritionist, content creator and an overall wellness coach with over 10 years of international experience in teaching, writing, coaching, and helping others transform their lives. From Croatia to Spain and now, the US, she calls Seattle her new home where she lives and works with her husband. Read Full Bio »
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