Despite the common misconceptions that float around, seniors do not have to face insurmountable obstacles on the road to being fit and healthy. This notion, of course, depends on your perception of fitness, which, if you ask me, does not have to include a six pack. For now, there is no way to stop the wheel of time or stay forever young, but you can still make a real difference: hormonal shifts and other bodily processes that accompany aging can be influenced to the point of transforming your life.

Blowing Away The Cobwebs

Aging is not disgraceful or something you should be ashamed of. Every period of life comes with its good and bad sides, and the ugly truth is that women are more susceptible to age-shaming. Well, they need to mute these spiteful voices and put their own feelings first. Sinking into self-pity is another pitfall you want to avoid. Inspiration and self-confidence [1] are fuel for the long life journey and they also enhance your fitness efforts.

The point is to reach your body’s full potential and increase your muscular endurance, flexibility, and cardio-respiratory health. As you approach your 50s, you also reach the average age of onset for menopause. That is when hormonal, muscular, and cardiovascular changes kick in. Thus, the training regimen depends on your current fitness level and health condition. Naturally, it is a trickier for beginners to get the ball rolling.

An Extra Mile

Consulting with a doctor is a good idea, as it enables you to stay on the safe side. It is perfectly fine to start small and engage in walking (2). Research shows that 20-minute walks helps seniors ward off the aging process and decrease the risk of cancer, osteoporosis, heart disease, Alzheimer’s, etc. On top of that, walking also aids in maintaining optimal weight. Some activities with similar benefits are light swimming, yoga, stretching exercises, cycling and jogging.

You could say that we do not stop moving due to growing old, but the other way around. And in case your physical condition allows it, you should not shy away from higher-intensity workouts such as strength training. Compromised balance, coordination, and strength prescribe caution, but if you decide to throw in the towel, you will miss your chance to boost muscular strength, balance, metabolism, and bone density.

A Fresh Look At Nutrition

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Fat loss comes harder for women [3], who face some extra challenges down this road. Men possess more muscle mass (and more lean mass in total) and thus tend to burn more calories. What is more, the aging process is associated with the accumulation of excess fat and a lower resting metabolic rate. So, know that nutrition accounts for the bulk of your fat loss efforts. Exercise is surprisingly ineffective when used as a primary tool in this endeavor.

On the other hand, certain types of foods allow us to decrease blood pressure and keep cholesterol levels in check. For instance, simply including beans in your diet lowers the “bad” cholesterol by 5%. Furthermore, steer away from salty and heavily-processed food. A Mediterranean diet is a good example of healthy nutrition for women in their 50s, which supplies the organism with essential nutrients.  

Finally, bear in mind that mental health is an integral part of a healthy lifestyle. Spend more time doing the things you love and do not give up on your hobbies. Get rid of emotional baggage and focus on the positive side of things. The ultimate trick is to adjust your lifestyle to your age. Rest assured that it is never too late to turn over a new leaf and start anew.

A Change Of Pace

Your life in your fifties ought to look a lot different than the earlier one, but it is still possible to become the healthiest version of yourself and improve the quality and length of your life. Mind your food choices, as well as broader lifestyle decisions. Keep learning, connecting, and enjoying your daily life. Do not let a walk down memory lane be the only kind of walk you do. Stay positive and you will be able to facilitate an overarching positive change.

Sources:

[1] http://lifestylefifty.com/5-ways-improve-self-confidence-as-you-agege/

[2] http://www.americantrails.org/resources/health/wayoflife.html

[3] http://www.symmetrygymdubai.com/blog/why-fat-loss-harder-for-women/

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Mathews McGarry
Mathews McGarry is passionate about many forms of strength training, and has spent years lifting, dragging and flipping all manner of heavy objects. After graduating from the Faculty of Health Sciences, he started writing about his experiences, and sharing tips for a better life. He is an all-around fitness adviser and his words are strong as an Australian Bull.