How to Stay Fit in Your 50s
Five Steps to being healthier at 50+
Whether you have just hit the big 50, are heading towards it, or are in your mid fifties it is definitely not too late to create a healthier you. Here are five simple and easy to achieve steps that will reward you and help you reach your personal goals.
Step One - Realistic weight loss
Being realistic about starting to get physically fit, reduce weight and maintaining or re-creating positive emotional health means being honest about where you are starting out from. Eighteen months ago I weighed 182 pounds, and struggled with depression, in part due to a wheat and gluten allergy. I now weigh 159 pounds and, apart from putting on 5 pounds over Christmas, have successfully maintained a healthier weight. I am also physically and emotionally motivated to stay fit and healthy and working on attaining my goal weight of 140lbs by summer 2013.
Click the link to see whether your current weight falls into healthy, overweight or obese. There is no WRONG result, it is just a fact of where you are starting out from today. http://www.nhs.uk/Tools/Pages/Healthyweightcalculator.aspx .
Once you have established whether you are at a healthy, overweight or obese weight, consider whether you want or need to loose any weight. If you need or want to loose, how much is realistic in the coming year? To be successful, weight loss should be done over a period of time. It's more about changing the way you eat than counting calories or a fast " fad" diet. Aim to loose one or two pounds per week and you will succeed in establishing and maintaining weight loss and a goal weight.
Start with a healthy food swap such as giving up a daily sugary snack or pop and replacing it with water, fruit or vegetables. Once your body becomes used to the new taste you will crave less sugar. If chips and savoury snacks are your choice over sugary ones choose nuts, a savoury dip such as red pepper or hummus with vegetables or bake up some kale chips (see recipe http://www.danihealth.com/pdfs/Kale%20Chips.pdf). Nuts are high in fat but they are also a good source of protein.
The following link takes you to an excellent article about healthy food swaps as well as how to retain weight loss: http://www.nhs.uk/Livewell/loseweight/Pages/keep-weight-off.aspx or check out my article how to loose 20 pounds and keep it off http://lizam1.hubpages.com/hub/How-to-loose-20lbs-and-keep-it-off
Step Two - Exercise
If you are already exercising and enjoying what you do feel free to tick this step and give yourself a pat on the back. If you are considering exercise or currently don't exercise at all here are some suggestions to help you get started.
Incorporating exercise at least five times per week will improve your overall physical and emotional health as well as promote and help maintain weight. Oftentimes the very word exercise conjurs up a bad past experience, an injury or recent medical problems may have gotten you out of your routine. Whatever the reason it is never too late to start and that's said by this writer who was a former Phd candidate in avoiding exercise. Start by asking what do you love to do physically? If you enjoy walking do more of that - if you are a swimmer, do more of that choose something you like to do and build your exercise regime around that activity. Aim for at least 20 minutes five times a week.
I started by joining curves, it is not too rigorous and I joined a local gymn that was close to my home and enroute to and from work. I have now "moved up" to jazzercise which incorporates dance and cardio as well as strenght traininginto a one hour work out three times a week. For the other two nights I use wii fit or a 20 minute power walk.
These are my personal tips based on experience how to start and succeed with your exercise programme:
- Choose something you enjoy doing
- Keep it simple in terms of location and time
- Do what you CAN manage - if you have 10 minutes twice a day available do that
- Take the stairs, walk to a meeting/to go shopping whenever you have that choice
- If you skip a day - start again the next day and rejoice you made the choice
The following link offers ten minute workout choices that are easy to incorporate into a busy schedule: http://www.nhs.uk/Livewell/loseweight/Pages/Tenminuteworkouts.aspx
Step Three - Visualize
Thinking about how you would like things to be and wishing they could be so often ends up on the Isle of Someday ....someday I will ; and, like tomorrow, someday has a habit of not turning up. When we visualize and write down those hopes and dreams research shows that there is a positive shift and we can and do make things happen. Not everything we wish for will become a reality but some things will if we incorporate them and elevate our awareness of them into our everyday lives.
Every year I make a collage of the positive aspects of my life as well as something I am planning to happen such as a trip or something I would like more of such as laughter. The visual, which I have pinned up in my office above the desk reminds me each day about what I am thankful for and what I am working towards. It is also a great talking point with colleagues and clients. http://lizam1.hubpages.com/hub/How-do-I-make-a-collage
Making the collage is simple to do, some scissors, a glue stick and some magazines or words and pictures printed from your computer and a sheet of poster board or card stock.
Step Four - learn how to do something new
Learning to do something new or re-visiting an old hobby or pasttime will stimulate thinking and provide opportunities to regenerate focus and concentration. A lifestyle that includes valuing learning is positively associated with wellbeing and health. Recently I learned to crochet - being really bad at math I had a self created message that sewing, knitiing and crochet work was something I could never master - how wrong I was. I crochetted several beanie hats and scarves for Christmas gifts and am now working on a baby blanket for a friend. This new found hobby is giving me hours of pleasure, is relaxing when I settle down to watch a television program or wait for my children at an appointment.
Learning a language, joining a bridge club, salsa dancing - really there are so many things out there to choose from. The internet is a great resource for learning - I learned to crochet by watching different You Tube videos and my daughter has become a master at make up from the same source.
If money or transportation is a barrier consider starting a small group in your home where you learn together online or from each other - trade expertise with each other, have fun and socialize at the same time.
Step Five - Relaxation and Rest
As we age sleep and getting a good night of rest can be a challenge. For women in menopause night sweats can interrupt sleep. Being well rested is as important to our physical health as eating well and exercise. The more exhausted and stressed we are the harder it becomes to get healthy rest. Play, laughter and socializing are also important and contribute to our overall well being.
Centering, mindfullness, meditation and spiritual practises such as prayers, yoga and stretching will contribute to relaxation and connects themind and body.
Creating a restful and enjoyable environment for sleeping and relaxation - a place that you enjopy being in and preparing well for the night will also help[ engage your mind and your body in the process of rest and sleep. Taking a warm bath, sipping a warm calming (caffeine free) drink,reading, spraying lavendar, listening to music that soothes or a radio play are some of my personal favourites to help me get to sleep. Like children creating a regular bedtime routine can promote the expectation of sleep.
Spending some time being thankful for the day that has been and visualizing a place of safety or somewhere where you feel naturally relaxed will alleviate anxiety both at bedtime and during the daytime.
Creating a balance between work, rest and play promotes healthier sleep patterns whch leads to physical and mental wellbeing.
I hope you will find some of the suggestions and steps I have suggested helpful. Cheers to you for taking time to reflect on your health and wellness.