At 53 I know things hurt. People who don’t know me very well are surprised when they see me limp after getting up off a chair.
Just like you I am aging. I have less fluid in my joints, my muscle tissue is not healing as quickly as it used to and there is fat in places that never had fat before.
Injuries from youth – long forgotten are now coming back to haunt you (and me).
With the day being shorter, tasks taking longer, more to do than ever before, how do you exercise?
First of all – try to remember that exercise is now more important than ever before. If for no other reason than maintaining your independence. Maybe exercise can’t guarantee a longer life, but it can certainly make a difference in the QUALITY of the life we have left on this planet.
Do you want to be ushered into a nursing home and be dependant on people to feed you and wipe your butt?
Exercise is also important to brain function. This is not just about memory but also mood and feelings of confidence.
Just getting started – at middle age, and even in advanced years, will help – considerably. Increased energy and pain management. I know because even though I may start off in pain, because of the exercise the pain will dissipate with movement. If I start the morning off with a long walk my hip doesn’t hurt as much or as quickly or as often throughout the day. If I start the morning on the couch with a cup of coffee – it hurts more, longer, and quicker to be painful.
Getting Discouraged by Pain
Check with your physician first but if she/he gives you the go-ahead to begin an exercise program, start with something simple so you can adapt your daily routine. Try not to feel discouraged by age related problems like pain and fatigue. Being worried about falling is a valid concern but don’t let it keep you down. If you are frail get support with a wheeled walker. This way you can exercise, keep your balance, and sit when you get tired. Getting moving will help you move more.
It can also help you to find groups in your area that have similar needs and goals as you do. For example there are meetup groups all over the world that will probably have an exercise or walking group fit for your needs. If there isn’t – why not start one?
Top Benefits of Exercising When You Are Older
1.Exercise will help you to feel younger because you will find your movement more certain and fluid. Exercise also helps you to look younger. It might not smooth away years of smoking off your face but the improved blood flow and alertness will show. Bright eyes and quicker smile definitely will make your friends wonder what you are up to.
2.Movement creates energy. Sitting for hours doesn’t “conserve” energy in a way that will make you feel energetic. The only energy you are conserving is in the form of fat. When you move your body burns fat. Calories are the measurement of energy. It is true that beginning an exercise program might make you feel tired for the first couple of weeks but that is only if you are working harder than your body can catch up. It is OK to do this and push yourself (provided the doc agrees) just be aware that if you do, feeling tired and sore is normal.
If you do want to push and develop more muscle mass and drastically increase your athletic abilities in the later years of life – please hire someone who will guide you to this goal.
3.Using your legs more will help you with daily activities including going to the toilet. Improving leg flexibility and strength will also help reduce the risk of falling. Falling is one of the top ways that older folks break arms and hips and get a concussion, bleeding brain, and die. Nasty stuff. Work those legs so you can help to avoid a nasty fall.
4.Reduce the dependance on pharmaceutical medications. Some of the common drugs that we get fed after 50 are for heart, blood pressure, diabetes, and pain meds. Many people report they reduce or stop these drugs after beginning and exercise program. This is another IMPORTANT reason to consult your physician BEFORE you start your new exercise routine. If you are on medication for these or anything else – they will want to monitor your progress and modify your prescription as needed.
5.Better sleep. After filling your lungs with fresh air and pumping healthy blood throughout your muscles, sleep will be more restful. When was the last time you had a deep sleep and slept throughout the night? When was the last time you woke in the morning feeling energetic and alert?