Making Healthy Lifestyle Choices Over 50

By Shirley PriceCan you believe how fast time goes by and before you know it you are at some major milestone in your life?  Perhaps you’ve just turned 50 or even 60 years of age and realize that maybe you haven’t taken such good care of yourself, and now it shows. To make matters worse it’s not just that it shows; you also feel it too. You know that you should be in better health and shape than you are.

We do tend to take our natural good health and fitness level for granted when we are young but by not taking care we pay for it later. Even some of the greatest athletes and fitness fanatics still have problems from the over use of joints so we shouldn’t beat ourselves up too much for not doing better. The thing is it’s never too late to make some changes to improve our life.

Some of the issues we face with being 50 plus is joint pain; it maybe from arthritis or old injuries, high blood pressure, and often high cholesterol, not to mention that we are not as flexible any more. When we feel pain and discomfort the last thing that we feel like doing is exercising, and yet it’s something that can really help build our stamina and strength and have us feeling younger and more fit.

I know from personal experience that having arthritis in my knee has at times made me feel 10 years older than I am. I used to dance (a lot) then I started getting knee problems so felt forced to quit. I missed it terribly and got to the point that I didn’t dance at all for quite a while. When you have pain its so much easier to not do something than suffer the discomfort.

When you stop exercising the chances are you will gain weight, which may lead to high blood pressure, high cholesterol and even diabetes for some.  Besides this you are not doing the things that you get pleasure out of, so it becomes a downward spiral.  The one thing you don’t want to do is quit and give into it.  You need to figure out a way to give your body what it needs so that you are still be able to enjoy life to the fullest.

Exercise: The key is finding exercise that suits you. Not everyone has to go to the gym to exercise and it doesn’t have to be all or nothing. Strength training is really important; it helps burn off fat and strengthen muscles. You know that old saying if you don’t use it you lose it, well that applies to muscles too. You don’t have to lift heavy weights to improve your muscles tone either. Many people find that the flat exercise bands work very well and are an excellent choice. You can cover just about any exercises that you need to do using the bands, plus you don’t need bulky exercise equipment that you don’t have the room for.

Walking is one of the best all around exercises that you can do for fitness and your mental health. Walking has so many benefits, especially if you are able to do your walking outdoors in a pleasant environment. I personally like to use my recumbent bike.  I find the pedalling motion helps keep my knees from getting stiff and sore. Exercise really doesn’t have to be hard work; the main thing is to be doing something. Start somewhere if you haven’t done any exercise for a while, start slow and work up from there. For a lot of people the main issue around exercise is all in the mind. If we make exercising a huge deal it’s easy to talk ourselves out of it. Dancing around your living room to your favourite music is fun and good exercise too, so don’t dismiss this either. Exercise helps with balance and flexibility too. Add some activities like golf, tennis, swimming and you have found the key to fun and fitness.

With regards to blood pressure and cholesterol probably half the adult population has less than optimal levels, but we do know that eating healthy and regular exercise can improve our personal numbers in a fairly short time.  We have a choice, if we want to enjoy travel, have new adventures and fun we need to be as fit as possible and take charge of your own body. So why not put the effort into your redesigning your life?

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