Over 50? You’re not alone. Over 108 million Americans fit into this growing category, with more people turning the big 5-0 every day. Fortunately, it’s never too late to get in great shape, feel better, and live longer! Being physically active can help maintain cardiovascular endurance, strength, and flexibility as you age, and may help ward off heart disease, type 2 diabetes, arthritis, and cancer. Whether you’ve been exercising for years or are just dipping your toe into the fitness pool, here are 5 fun ways to get in-shape after 50!
Racquet sports, such as tennis, squash, and racquetball, are a fun and competitive way to get moving. In addition to burning calories and boosting cardiovascular endurance, racquet sports promote bone density and balance. The high-impact nature of racquet games encourages your bones to grow stronger and denser, while the forward, backward, and lateral movements can improve your balance and aid in fall prevention. Pickleball (a racquet sport played on a badminton-sized court with small wooden paddles) has been taking the country by storm. This modern racquet sport can be enjoyed by all fitness levels, and research proves that it can boost endurance and metabolism. Best of all, racquet sports are a social way to keep your body active and your mind sharp!
Dating back to the 1960’s with the advent of “Jazzercise”, dance-inspired fitness classes have continued to grow in popularity and variety. Whether you enjoy hip-hop, Latin, or Bollywood-style dancing, chances are there is a dance fitness class for you! Like racquet sports, dancing is a fun, social way to burn calories, build bone density, and maintain balance and coordination. Additionally, research shows that dancing can promote weight loss, elevate mood, and even prevent age-related cognitive decline. Sounds like it’s time to dig out those old tap shoes!
Walking is the ideal workout for beginners. This instinctual form of exercise promotes heart and lung health, strength, balance, and bone density. Walking at a moderate pace (you can talk, but not sing) for 30 minutes, 5 days per week can also help prevent or manage several chronic conditions, such as high blood pressure, diabetes, and joint pain or stiffness. Taking your walk outdoors offers even more benefits, such as improved memory, mood, and vitamin D production. If you’re looking for more of a challenge, try hiking on steep or uneven terrain to promote additional weight loss and lower body strength.
Speaking of strength, strength training is vital to staying healthy over 50. After age 30, muscle mass naturally decreases by as much as 3% – 5% per decade! Reduced muscle mass can lead to fatigue, difficulty performing everyday tasks, and a lower resting metabolism. Regular strength training can help you regain stamina and a healthy metabolism, but if weight machines and dumbbells get boring, spice things up by adding body weight exercises, Pilates, or a strength and conditioning class to your routine.
Yoga, a low-impact exercise that focuses on breath, meditation, and flexibility, offers numerous health benefits, especially if you’re over 50. This practice encourages flexibility, balance, and agility, while helping manage pain related to chronic conditions like fibromyalgia, migraines, and lower back issues. Yoga can also ease stress, anxiety, and depression, which is great news for adults between the ages of 45 and 64, an age group that commonly suffers from depressive disorders. Yoga has been practiced for thousands of years, and for good reason. This exercise can help you live healthier, happier, and even longer!
No matter your age, VHP is here to help you get moving! We offer live fitness classes, a media library packed with exercise videos, and even direct messaging and 1:1 appointments with our fitness specialists. We’re here to help you stay active and vital for years to come!